Bowden Spur Road

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Bowden Spur Road
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Start location: Strathewen
Length: 3.63.6 km
3,600 metres
2.237 miles
km (2.2 mi)
Average gradient: 9.19.1 %%
Elevation gain: 326326 m
1,069.554 ft
m (1069 ft)
Maximum elevation: 614614 m
2,014.436 ft
m (2014 ft)
Category: 3
Road surface: Unsealed
Strava segment: Link

Bowden Spur Road is a steep, unsealed climb into the Kinglake Ranges. Unlike the windier, more popular climbs in the area - the main Kinglake climb and the Humevale Road climb - Bowden Spur Road heads straight up the hill, making for a challenging ascent.

Start of the climb[edit]

The Bowden Spur Climb starts on the road of the same name, a few kilometres north east of Strathewen and just after the turn-off to Rankines Road.

End of the climb[edit]

The climb ends just before Bowden Spur Road's intersection with Whittlesea-Kinglake Road, just where the road flattens out.

Start of the steepest section of the Bowden Spur Road climb.

At a glance[edit]

  • A very steep ascent on an unsealed surface.
  • After a steep initial 500m the road flattens out somewhat for 500m.
  • The section from 1km to 1.8km is the hardest part of the climb.
  • The road flattens off completely between a right-hand hairpin (1.8km) and a left-hand hairpin (1.9km).
  • It's a tough grind from 1.9km to the top but the road does flatten slightly towards the top.

Description of the climb[edit]

The initial 500m section of climbing is steep but not as tough as the following sections. After a brief moment of respite, the 800m from the 1km mark is a challenging pinch to get up, as you approach a series of powerlines that cross the road.

The flat section after the first switchback provides a welcome reprieve and some nice views into the valley below. Turning left a short time later begins the tough final section of the climb - a 1.5km stretch which saps the legs and will have you grinding away as you try to find a good line and maintain traction.

The climb flattens off somewhat in the closing stages as you approach the main road between Kinglake and Whittlesea.

Looking down from the switchbacks.

Adjoining climbs/nearby climbs[edit]

Alternate start or finish points[edit]

There are a number of alternate ways of considering this climb. If you focus on the steepest part of the climb, you're looking at 2km at 12%. Another alternative is to consider Bowden Spur Road in its entirety as one climb, yielding 6.8km at 6.8%.


Profile of the Bowden Spur Road climb.
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The descent[edit]

Take great care if you decide to descend this climb. While the surface is in reasonable condition (as of May 2015), there is some surface gravel which can lead to pinch flats. A better alternative is to descend the main Kinglake climb once you're at the top of Bowden Spur Road.


This ascent is achievable on a road bike with tough 23mm or 25mm tyres. Just pay attention to the line you take - avoid loose gravel - and your weight balance, so as not to lose traction or have the front wheel lift off the ground.


External Links[edit]

Facts about "Bowden Spur Road"RDF feed
Average gradient9.1 % +
Cat3 +
Elevation gain326 m (1,069.554 ft) +
Length3.6 km (3,600 metres, 2.237 miles) +
Maximum elevation614 m (2,014.436 ft) +
Start coordinates-37° 32' 6.7632", 145° 17' 28.6476"Latitude: -37.535212
Longitude: 145.291291
Start locationStrathewen +
SurfaceUnsealed +