Our 5 Favorite Zwift Climbs: The Best Routes to Conquer on Your Indoor Trainer

If you’re looking for a way to make indoor cycling more exciting, Zwift is definitely worth checking out. The virtual cycling platform has quickly become one of the most popular ways to train and race indoors, and for good reason. Zwift offers a variety of courses and challenges that can keep you motivated and engaged throughout your workout.

One of the most popular features of Zwift is its climbing routes. Zwift has a number of virtual climbs that simulate the feeling of riding up a real mountain. These climbs can be challenging, but they’re also incredibly rewarding. In this article, we’ll take a look at our 5 favorite Zwift climbs and what makes them so special. Whether you’re looking for a new challenge or just want to switch up your routine, these climbs are sure to provide an exciting and rewarding workout.

Key Takeaways

  • Zwift offers a variety of virtual climbs that simulate the feeling of riding up a real mountain.
  • Climbing on Zwift can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
  • Our 5 favorite Zwift climbs offer a variety of challenges and terrain, making them perfect for riders of all levels.

Getting Started with Zwift Climbing

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Understanding the Zwift Platform

Zwift is an online gaming platform that allows you to ride your bike indoors while interacting with other riders from around the world. The platform provides a wide range of features, including virtual races, group rides, and structured workouts. One of the most popular features of Zwift is the ability to ride on virtual roads with realistic terrain and elevation changes.

Choosing the Right Equipment

To get started with Zwift climbing, you will need a few pieces of equipment. The most important piece of equipment is a smart trainer. A smart trainer is a device that allows you to connect your bike to the Zwift platform and simulate the resistance and terrain changes of the virtual roads. There are many different smart trainers on the market, ranging from budget-friendly options to high-end models with advanced features.

In addition to a smart trainer, you will also need a bike, a computer or mobile device to run the Zwift app, and an internet connection. You may also want to invest in a heart rate monitor and/or power meter to track your performance and progress.

Using the Climb Portal

Zwift’s Climb Portal provides access to virtual versions of famous real-life climbs, such as Alpe du Zwift and Mont Ventoux. These climbs are accurately mapped and provide a challenging and realistic experience for riders. To access the Climb Portal, simply select the climb you want to ride from the Zwift menu and start pedaling.

When riding in the Climb Portal, it’s important to pay attention to your pacing and effort level. Climbing can be a challenging and demanding activity, so it’s important to monitor your heart rate and power output to ensure you are riding at a sustainable pace.

Incorporating Climbing into Your Training

Climbing is a great way to build strength and endurance on the bike. Incorporating climbing workouts into your training plan can help you improve your overall fitness and prepare for challenging rides and races. Zwift provides a range of climbing workouts and training plans to help you achieve your goals.

When incorporating climbing into your training, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Be sure to incorporate rest and recovery days into your training plan to allow your body to recover and adapt to the demands of climbing.

With the right equipment, mindset, and training plan, Zwift climbing can be a fun and challenging way to improve your fitness and take your riding to the next level.

Exploring the Iconic Climbs

Zwift offers a variety of challenging climbs that can test your limits and push you to new heights. Here are our top 3 favorite Zwift climbs that you should definitely check out:

Alpe Du Zwift and the Virtual Alps

Alpe du Zwift is one of the most iconic climbs in the Zwift world, modeled after the real-life Alpe d’Huez in France. This climb is a grueling 12.2 km long with an average gradient of 8.5%, and it will take you up 1,036 meters to the top. As you make your way up the mountain, you’ll pass through 21 switchbacks, each named after a previous Tour de France stage winner. The climb is so challenging that it’s even been used as a stage finish in the virtual Tour de France.

Ventoux’s Virtual Challenge: Ven-Top

If you’re up for a real challenge, the Ven-Top route in France is the climb for you. This route takes you up the infamous Mont Ventoux, a legendary climb that has been featured in the Tour de France numerous times. The climb is 21.1 km long with an average gradient of 7.5%, and it will take you up 1,480 meters to the top. This climb is not for the faint of heart, but the breathtaking views at the top are well worth the effort.

Epic KOM: The Heart of Watopia

The Epic KOM in Watopia is one of the most popular climbs in the Zwift world. This climb takes you up the Watopia volcano, and it’s a 9.1 km climb with an average gradient of 5.2%. The climb will take you up 408 meters to the top, and it’s a great way to test your climbing legs. The views from the top are stunning, and you can even see the ocean in the distance on a clear day.

Overall, these climbs are sure to challenge and inspire you on your Zwift journey. Whether you’re looking for a grueling climb or a scenic route, there’s something for everyone in the Zwift world. So get on your bike, pick a climb, and start exploring the virtual world of cycling.

Climb Features and Strategies


Zwift offers a variety of climbs with different gradients and lengths. Climbing hills in Zwift can be challenging but also rewarding. Here are some strategies to help you master long climbs, train for gradient changes, and utilize powerups and trainer difficulty.

Mastering Long Climbs

Long climbs can be intimidating, but with the right strategy, you can conquer them. First, pace yourself and find a rhythm that you can maintain. It’s better to start slow and finish strong than to burn out early. Second, stay seated as much as possible to conserve energy. Only stand up when necessary, such as when the gradient gets steeper. Third, focus on your breathing and try to stay relaxed. Don’t tense up or hold your breath as this can make it harder to pedal efficiently. Finally, stay motivated by setting small goals, such as reaching the next switchback or milestone.

Training for Gradient Changes

Climbing hills in Zwift requires different power output depending on the gradient. To train for gradient changes, try doing intervals at different intensities. For example, you could do a 5-minute interval at 80% of your FTP followed by a 1-minute interval at 120% of your FTP. This will help you get used to changing your power output quickly and efficiently. Another strategy is to practice standing up and sitting down while climbing. This will help you get used to the different muscle groups used in each position.

Utilizing Powerups and Trainer Difficulty

Powerups can be a game-changer when climbing hills in Zwift. The featherweight powerup reduces your weight by 9.5kg, making it easier to climb. The drafting powerup reduces air resistance, allowing you to conserve energy. The aero powerup makes you more aerodynamic, which can be helpful on steep descents. To use a powerup, simply press the spacebar on your keyboard or tap the screen on your mobile device.

Trainer difficulty is another important factor when climbing hills in Zwift. If you’re using a smart trainer, you can adjust the trainer difficulty to make the climbs feel harder or easier. A higher trainer difficulty will make the climbs feel more realistic, but also more challenging. A lower trainer difficulty will make the climbs feel easier, but less realistic. Experiment with different settings to find the one that works best for you.

Overall, climbing hills in Zwift requires a combination of physical and mental strategies. By pacing yourself, training for gradient changes, and utilizing powerups and trainer difficulty, you can become a better climber and enjoy the challenge of conquering virtual mountains.

Comparing Zwift Climbs with Real-World Segments


Strava Segments and Zwift Accuracy

One of the most common questions asked by Zwift users is how the Zwift climbs compare to real-world climbs. While it’s impossible to replicate the exact experience of climbing outdoors, Zwift does a pretty good job of simulating the effort required to climb a hill. In fact, Zwift’s virtual elevation gain is generally considered to be accurate within a few percentage points.

To compare the accuracy of Zwift climbs with real-world segments, many riders turn to Strava segments. Strava segments are user-created routes that are tracked and timed using GPS data. While Strava segments can be a useful tool for comparing your performance on different climbs, it’s important to remember that they are not always an accurate representation of real-world conditions. Factors like wind, temperature, and road surface can all have a significant impact on your performance.

Virtual vs. Physical Climbing Experience

While Zwift can provide a challenging and engaging climbing experience, it’s important to remember that it is still a virtual world. The experience of climbing on a trainer in your living room is very different from climbing on a real-world road. In particular, the lack of wind resistance and changing terrain can make Zwift climbs feel easier than their real-world counterparts.

That being said, Zwift does offer a number of features that can help replicate the experience of climbing outdoors. For example, the resistance of your trainer will increase as you climb, providing a more realistic feel. Additionally, Zwift’s virtual environment allows you to ride famous climbs from around the world, like Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux, which can be a fun and challenging way to test your climbing legs.

In summary, while Zwift can’t replicate the exact experience of climbing outdoors, it does a pretty good job of simulating the effort required to climb a hill. By comparing Zwift climbs with real-world segments and understanding the differences between virtual and physical climbing experiences, you can get the most out of your indoor training.

Community and Competitive Climbing


If you’re looking for a social experience while climbing on Zwift, joining Zwifters on group climbs is a great way to connect with other riders. You can join group rides through Zwift’s events page or by following other Zwifters. Riding with others can be a great motivator and a fun way to explore new routes.

Chasing Leaderboards and Timed Segments is another way to add some competitive edge to your climbing. Zwift has leaderboards for each climb, allowing you to see how you compare to other riders. You can also compete for timed segments, which are marked sections of the climb where Zwift records your time.

To make the most of your competitive climbing experience, consider joining a peloton. Riding in a group can help you conserve energy and stay motivated. You can join a peloton by following other riders or by joining a group ride.

Remember, while it’s fun to compete, it’s important to ride safely and within your limits. Always wear a helmet and be aware of your surroundings. With a friendly attitude, you can enjoy the social and competitive aspects of climbing on Zwift.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are some beginner-friendly climbs in Zwift?

If you are new to Zwift, you may want to start with some easier climbs to help build your confidence and fitness level. One great option is the Volcano Circuit, which is a relatively flat route that circles around a volcano. Another good option is the Tempus Fugit route, which is a flat, fast course that’s perfect for time trials.

How can I find the routes with the highest elevation in Zwift?

If you’re looking for a challenge, you may want to try some of the routes with the highest elevation in Zwift. One way to find these routes is to use the “Route Details” filter in the route selection screen. This will allow you to sort the available routes by elevation gain.

What is the schedule for accessing the Zwift Climb Portal?

The Zwift Climb Portal gives you access to a growing library of famous real-life climbs in a gamified environment where roads are colored based on gradient. Zwift has been evolving how climbs are scheduled, so it’s best to check the official Zwift website or the Zwift Companion app for the latest information.

Can you recommend some challenging Watopia climbs for experienced riders?

If you’re an experienced rider looking for a challenge, you may want to try some of the more difficult Watopia climbs. Some great options include the Epic KOM, which is a long and challenging climb with a steep gradient, and the Alpe du Zwift, which is a famous climb modeled after the real-life Alpe d’Huez in France.

What’s the toughest climb available in Zwift for a real test of endurance?

If you’re looking for the ultimate test of endurance, you may want to try the Alpe du Zwift. This climb is modeled after the famous Alpe d’Huez in France, and features 21 switchbacks and a total elevation gain of over 1,000 meters.

At what level can riders unlock the Alpe du Zwift, and which routes lead to it?

Riders can unlock the Alpe du Zwift at level 12. To get there, you’ll need to complete the “Road to Sky” route, which is a challenging climb that takes you up to the top of the mountain. Once you’ve unlocked the Alpe du Zwift, you can access it by selecting the “Alpe du Zwift” route from the route selection screen.

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