"Not all those who wander are lost." – J.R.R. Tolkien

Ride Report: Big Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a moderately strenuous loop for most riders.  However, if you want more, you can combo platter it with Little Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain Loop.  Also nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride which could make an epic day of riding in this area.  All three rides stage from the same area and you can craft your own super duper loop.  Big Smokey offers up fantastic views of Bald Mountain and the Owens River Valley early in the ride.  The classic way to ride it (and the way we describe it) is to do it clockwise.  As you head farther south, you see a chalk mine to your left as well as Antelope and Glass Mountains.  Later on as you start heading back west, The Sherwins, Laurel Mountain, McGee Mountain and Mt. Morrison present themselves.  Overall, a relaxing ride with moderate climbs to and descents to keep you alert while you zen out.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderate Climbing and Descending
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 13.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,256′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,815′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,096′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or 29+ for the sandy sections, but pretty much any mountain bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left
.34 – continue straight on 3S04
.54 – continue straight on 3S04
.89 – continue straight on 3S04
1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Continue straight (going right will take you on Little Smokey Loop).
1.45 – stay straight/left during descent
2.5 – stay straight and start climbing
3.55 – stay straight on 3S12
4.4 – continue straight
5.85 – make a right on 3S43- it comes up quick during a fast descent, don’t miss it!  start climbing…
6.45 – veer right
7.0 – curve left, stay on 3S43
7.34 curve left again and climb
8.66 – go right
9.54 – right on 3S59
9.9 – go straight then curve left
10.4 – go straight/left
10.8 – at the T make left then quick right, head down power line rd.
11 – veer right continue following the power lines
11.2 go right, continue on this trail and it will take you back to Smokey Bear Flats and eventually the staging area
where the ride ends at 13.2 miles

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Stellar Views

Stellar Views

Map

Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

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4 responses

  1. Pingback: Ride Report: Little Smokey Loop |

  2. Pingback: Ride Report: Lookout Mountain Loop |

  3. Pingback: Ride Report: Little Antelope Valley Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA |

  4. Pingback: Ride Report: Casa Diablo Overlook – Mammoth Lakes, CA |

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