Average gradient: 4.7%
Elevation gain: 501m
The Myrtleford-Stanley Road was only fully sealed in late 2012 making this climb relatively new for most road cyclists. The average gradient of roughly 5% might suggest a steady ascent but in reality this climb can be broken into three sections: an easy start, a challenging middle section, and a rolling finale.
The Myrtleford-Stanley Road climb begins where the road starts, at its intersection with the Myrtleford-Yackandandah Road (C527).
The Myrtleford-Stanley Road climb ends at a small crest, 10.7km from the start of the climb and roughly 3km from the township of Stanley. The crest comes just after an orchard on the left-hand side of the road and just before Thorley Road on the left.
At a glance
- A climb in three parts: an easy warm-up, a tough middle section and a rolling finish.
- The first section is 5km long and climbs very gently.
- The steeper second section starts after 5km and climbs at roughly 9% for 2.9km.
- The final section runs from 7.9km to the end (2.8km) and features some flat sections.
Some cycling climbs throw you right in the deep end with steep ramps right off the bat but Myrtleford-Stanley Road isn’t one of those climbs. The first 5km are very gentle, providing a nice warm-up for the challenging section the follows.
From its intersection with the Myrtleford-Yackandandah Road, the Myrtleford-Stanley Road climbs at the gentlest of inclines as the road passes by the Mt. Stanley Scenice Reserve on the right.
Passing farmland on the left to begin with and then plantation forests roughly 1.3km from the start, the road winds gently up the hill for the opening kilometres. If you’re pushing yourself for a good time on this climb you should be in the big-ring for these opening kilometres, powering along.
It’s not until the 3.4km mark that the gradient increases slightly, and even then it’s only to around 3-4%. At this point you’ll start to notice a gorge opening up on the right-hand side of the road; a sign of things to come.
After 4.1km the road is noticeably windier than it has been thus far. It’s also considerably more enclosed, the open farmlands left behind for thick tree cover on either side of the road.
The road flattens off briefly after 4.5km as you head around to the right and 400m later the road kicks back up again, to about 3%. It’s at the 5km mark that the real climbing begins.
As you head around to the right you are presented with a big red sign which reads “Danger. 2km narrow, steep, winding road. Drive with extreme caution”. It’s at this point that the gradient increases.
As the road gets steeper and the mountain drops away to your right, great views start to appear on the right-hand side of the road. While there are great views throughout most of this middle section, arguably the best views happen at the 6.7km mark.
The steepest part of this climb is less than 3km long but it’s in this section that a large percentage of the climb’s elevation gain is achieved. The gradient is quite consistent, hovering at around 8-9% throughout as the narrow road winds along the western edge of the Mt. Stanley Scenic Reserve.
After 7.5km the road takes you away from the ridgeline and trees surround the road once more. The gradient still remains at around 7-8% but the tough middle section is just about over.
After 7.9km the road bends around to the right and flattens off to around 4%, marking the end of the sustained climbing. At 8.2km the road flattens off even further, to around 2-3%, and another 400m up the road the road is completely flat as it passes between two gorgeous rows of trees.
At the 9km mark the road is climbing at only 1-2%, and 300m later, as you bend around to the right and through the trees, the gradient increases to around 4-5%. After 9.8km of climbing you come out of the bush once more, passing orchards on your right.
Some 10.3km from the start of the climb the road is briefly flat before the gradient increases to around 3-4% for the final 400m to the top. The climb ends at a crest in the road. If you’re worried about missing the top, just look out for Thorley Road on the left which comes just after the crest.
The Myrtleford-Stanley Road climb can be found in the alpine region of Victoria, starting 10km north east of the regional centre of Myrtleford and ending roughly 3km from the township of Stanley. Both Stanley and Myrtleford are roughly three hours drive from Melbourne via the Hume Freeway and the Great Alpine Road and in the case of Stanley, the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road.
Stanley is roughly 60km (an hour’s drive) from Bright, one of the more well-known towns in the Victorian Alps.
The Strava file for the Myrtleford-Stanley Road climb can be found here.