The Death Ride on Carson Pass

Alpine County, California

The Death Ride over Carson Pass

Photo of cyclist on mountain road

Every summer experienced cyclists gather to compete in the Tour of California Alps Death Ride, a 103-mile, 14,000-foot of climbing endurance race over 3 of California's highest passes: Monitor Pass, Ebbetts Pass, and Pacific Grade Summit. Cyclists go up and down both sides of Monitor Pass, Ebbetts Pass and and Pacific Grade Summit all the way down to Lake Alpine. This year Carson Pass is not part of the course.

2021 Race Information

Date: July 17, 2021
Registration: Early Bird registration for the 2021 race begins in early December 2020 and extends until early January, 2021. General registration begins in January 2021. Confirm registration dates with race officials. Entry is limited to first 3,000 entrants.
Cost: Early Bird fees $149. Regular fee $169
Official Race Website: Tour of California Alps Death Ride
Sponsor: Alpine County Chamber of Commerce


Race Course

The race begins at Turtle Rock County Park, 3 miles north of Markleeville. The race starts as 5:30 AM.

Photo of cyclist

Monitor Pass: Riders go south on Highway 89 and then east up over Monitor Pass (8,314'). They descend the east side of the pass to its junction with Highway 395 and then return over the same summit, coming down to its base at the junction with Highway 4

Ebbetts Pass: Riders follow Highway 4 up the east side of Ebbetts Pass (8,730'). They descend the west side, pass through Hermit Valley (7,072') and then make the climb to Pacific Grade Summit (8,021'). Beyond the summit they descend to the turn-around at Lake Alpine (7,303').

After returning over Pacific Grade Summit and making their way to the top of Ebbetts Pass, riders plunge downhill. The descent of the east side of the Ebbetts Pass is especially dangerous as there are numerous sharp turns and steep drop-offs in many places. Infamous Cadillac Curve has the ruins of a car at its base, a reminder of the danger of trying to go too fast on the mountain road.

From the base of Ebbetts Pass cyclists race to the finish at Turtle Rock County Park.


Road Closures

Photo of cyclists on Death Ride

Markleeville to Highways 89 and 4 Junction

5:00 AM - 7:00 AM

Monitor Pass, Ebbetts Pass, and Pacific Grade Summit to Lake Alpine

All 3 Close at 5:00 AM
Monitor Pass Opens: 12:00 PM
Ebbetts Pass to Lake Alpine Opens: 4:00 PM

Carson Pass

Not part of this year's race, so open all day

Check the race website for the most up-to-date information:
Tour of California Alps Death Ride


Where to Watch the Race

Spectators who want to watch the race along its course should arrive well before 5:00 AM and be prepared to spend most of the day in place. The roads are closed to traffic at 5:00 AM. RVs make a good choice as a base from which to enjoy the race. Be sure to follow all local parking regulations, especially parking completely off the pavement.

The area around Markleeville is heavily congested on race day. If you want to be around Markleeville, check the race website for details about parking and lodging.

Markleeville - Monitor Pass Race Section

Since the road from Markleeville up over Monitor Pass closes at 5:00 AM on race day, you have to be up early to find a place to watch the race. Be prepared to stay where you are for at least 7 hours, because Monitor Pass does not re-open until Noon. There is a large pull-out area on the east side of the pass. Race rest areas are at Heenan and the top of the pass. The are many places along the East Carson River to pull off the pavement and spend the day watching the racers. You can watch the riders at the junction of Highways 89 and 395 and still be able to leave whenever you want along Highway 395.

Silver Creek - Ebbetts Pass Race Section

The road closes at 5:00 AM on race day, so you have to be up early to find a place to watch the race. Be prepared to stay where you are all day, because Ebbetts Pass does not re-open until 3:00 PM.

Photo of Hermit Valley

Hermit Valley is a good place to be if you arrive before 5:00 AM and are prepared to stay until 4:00 PM.. Racers pass through there after coming down the west side of Ebbetts Pass on their way to Pacific Grade Summit and Lake Alpine. There is plenty of parking at Hermit Valley. In other places along Ebbetts Pass parking is limited, but there are spaces at the trailhead parking lot near the summit and in a few spots high on the east side of the pass. Parking is available off the pavement in places along Silver Creek.

Lake Alpine

Access to and from the west side of Lake Alpine via Highway 4 should be available. Limited parking may be found at the lake's parking areas (depending where the turn-around is situated) and in a few places along the highway.