Ride Report: Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop – Mammoth Lakes, CA
You read it right. Double Lollipoop. A loop within a loop with a lollipop. We’ve taken the traditional Inyo Craters Loop and thrown some extra mustard on top. First, we tacked on the Inyo Craters Singletrack at the beginning and end (it’s a ton of fun, and worth riding both ways.) It’s a win-win. You cut off a couple miles of bumpy dirt road driving, and you get a fun little section of flowy singletrack as the reward. Second, we threw in a mini-loop, that has some sandy climbing and descending – and rewards you with some great views before linking back up with the bigger loop. This mini-loop is perfect for a fat bike, but has hike-a-bike spots for mountain bikes. So now you know why we named it the Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop. Here are the details to get you riding:
- Ride Type: Loop with Lollipop
- Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous with one tough sandy climb
- Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack first and last mile, otherwise double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
- Access: From Mammoth, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Make a right on Mammoth Scenic Loop. At 2.75 miles, turn left on 3S30 at the “Inyo Craters” sign. Go 0.3 miles. The road will split and there’s a dirt parking area on the right. The ride starts here. The singletrack is to the right, and there’s a small sign with no trail name (see photo).
- Length: 17 miles
- Approx. Time: 2 -3 hours (it’s fairly flat, other than the one steep climb – but it can be sandy in spots)
- Lowest Elevation: 7,552′
- Highest Elevation: 8,144′
- Total Elevation Gain: 1,332′
- Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike, XC Mountain Bike (a little hike-a-bike maybe, but otherwise super fun)
This ride goes around the two Inyo Craters. If you want to see them and their lakes up close, you’ll need to leave your bike in the main parking area (you pass through it after the beginning singletrack section) and hike up – no bikes allowed. FYI, these craters were formed from a volcanic explosion 1,500 years ago. Pretty cool.
Soon after finishing the singletrack section, you ride out of the forest and a huge pumice flat opens up in front of you. 360 degree wicked views await, including San Joaquin Ridge and White Wing Mountain. Next you enter a Jeffrey Pine Forest and cross Deadman Creek before paralleling the creek and curving around and starting back towards the craters. The mini-loop climbs part of the way up Deer Mountain offering more perspective of the area, and of course, more views. Then you meet back up with the main loop and make your way back towards the craters. After a peaceful ride through the forest, you arrive at the main parking lot. Lucky for you, you get to ride the singletrack back the way you came. Nice!
Turn By Turn:
0.0 start at the trailhead sign (see photo), going up the Inyo Crater Singletrack
.72 cross the road and start grunting up the short, steep, soft climb- don’t worry it levels off quickly.
.9 arrive in the main Inyo Craters parking area. go left past the bathrooms, and head out. you are on 3S30.
1.2 go right on 3S22 at intersection
1.48 stay left
1.96 stay right at Y as you go out into the pumice flats, and the beautiful views open up to you (see photo)
3.0 veer right
3.8 go straight
4.2 cross a dry (usually) creek
4.85 veer right, take bridge over deadman creek, continue right
5.0 continue right at T then stay straight- views to your right, creek below you to right- sweet descent
5.5 continue straight at intersection
5.95 notice upper deadman campground on right, obsidian flat campground on left
6.0 go right, then veer left on 3S105 (lower deadman camp is to your right)
6.3 reach a big open area – veer slight right (not the dead end sign)
7.1 veer right at intersection and start the big, soft, annoying climb of the mini-loop
7.85 start short descent, be careful, then keep to the right. you’ll climb some more, and have some views before descending back to the original trail you rode earlier
8.8 go right at T, rejoining 3S22 – you’ll now re-ride some of what you rode earlier
11.1 go straight (different than the first time you were here)
11.6 go right on 2S29 – then stay on main rd through forest
13.1 go right
14.5 veer right then stay straight towards inyo craters rd
15.1 left at T
15.5 veer left
15.8 right at T climb back to the main parking area, and head right to the singletrack
16.1 enter the singletrack to the right, and head back down to the staging area