Steptoe Canyon Climb

Route Details:

Palouse region / 22 mi / 2477 ft total climb

If you’re like me and this kind of climb pretty well wipes you out (and you’re some sort of masochist), then you’ll definitely want to drive to this ride. From Pullman you drive down Hwy 195 toward Lewiston/Clarkston. When you reach the bottom of Lewsiton grade take the first right toward 128/Down River Rd. Follow Down River out past Clarkston (past Red Wolf Bridge) to where it becomes Wawawai Rd. Stay right at the fork and you’re on Steptoe Canyon Rd. There’s a gravel pull-out immediately on your left—and directly at the bottom of the canyon—that’s a suitable place to park.

Bottom of the grade

Hop on your bike and head on up. After about six miles of nearly continuous climbing, with many double digit pitches, you’ll come to a fork in the road. You can hang right onto Schlee Rd like I did to make a loop through Colton and back down the canyon, or stay left and run the loop the opposite direction.

If you head up Schlee, it makes for about 8 miles of nearly continuous climbing. And I think the steepest part of the grade that I noticed was an 18% pitch only a few hundred feet up Schlee. About 2 miles from the fork where Schlee started, look for Busch Rd and take that left. Busch will bring you into Colton.

From Busch hang a right on McKinley St, and make your way to the west end of Colton. Just past the school, you’ll make a right at the Colton Cemetery onto Rimrock Rd. After about 2 miles on Rimrock take a left on Steptoe Canyon Rd. Ride the canyon all the way back down to the bottom. It’s a steep and fast descent.