The best of the rest: If you can't make it to the Empire Hill Climb, check these out

The hill climb is one of the oldest forms of motorsport. The first documented climb happened near Nice, France, in January 1897. And though Pikes Peak is probably the one you’ve heard of, there are literally hundreds every calendar year.

With the 2019 Empire Hill Climb (presented by Autoweek) almost upon us — first car goes off the line at 10 a.m. on Sept. 14 in Empire, Michigan – we thought it would be a good time to check in on a few of those other cool but smaller hill climb events around the country. Being (very) far out of the Midwest is the ONLY reason not to join us next month, but if you haven’t been to one of these events, they’re all a fun and cheap way to spend a weekend whether you’re driving or spectating.

Starting in the northeast, there’s the Burke Hillclimb that starts this weekend. It’s too late to run, but spectating is free. It happens in the town of Burke, Vermont, on Summit Road that features 30 turns snaking up Burke Mountain. Like many of these events, there is a mandatory rookie orientation on Friday. The Burke Hillclimb is a muffled event, meaning there is a target of 90 decibels at a 50-foot distance. This one is brought to you by the New England Hillclimb Association; click here for more info.

The Mt. Philo Hillclimb happens in May near Charlotte, Vermont. It’s a 17-turn run sponsored by the Sports Car Club of Vermont. It’s a two-day event and, like the Burke Hillclimb, it’s also muffled. This one costs $195 for club members and $205 for nonmembers and rally teams. There’s camping near the road and a limit of 50 cars. Get in early for next year here.

The Mt. Washington Hillclimb is one of the oldest motorsports events in the United States, dating back to 1904. This hillclimb only runs every three years, so it will be back in July 2020 after a new record was set by Travis Pastrana in 2017 (video below). Mt. Washington is the tallest peak in the northeast, and the route is a little more than 7 miles long. It’s probably the most famous hillclimb in the U.S. next to Pikes Peak. Click here for more info.

The Rangely Canyon Pintado Hill Climb in Rangley, Colorado, happens the last weekend in September and runs both Saturday and Sunday. There is a parade through town and a food truck in the pits (but not on the mountain, the info sheet notes). Tickets are $15 for spectators, good for both days, but kids 12 and under are free. This event is put on by the Colorado Hill Climb Association; get more info here.

The Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb happens in August every year on the edge of the Nantahala Forest and is based out of Robbinsville, North Carolina. The 13th running was last weekend, but again, plenty of time to get ready for next year’s event. Besides a fully caged car and a helmet, you’ll need a Time Trials, Hill Climb or Competition SCCA license. This event is run by the Central Carolinas Region of the SCCA. Get more info here.

The Virginia City Hill Climb is just over a month away, taking place on route 341. The event was helmed by several groups in the past including Aston Martin, and now it’s run by the Ferrari Club of America. You don’t have to have a Ferrari to participate, FYI. This climb measures 5.2 miles of paved road. and Autoweek was there a few years ago in a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. It climbs about 1,200 feet and features 21 corners. Check out for more information and to register.

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