Ride Report: Bodie Abandoned Railroad Loop
If you like historical routes and you like riding your bike in remote areas, this is a great ride for you. It takes you into the backcountry of the Bodie Hills, has you bushwacking through overgrown sagebrush, and route finding to stay on a portion of the abandoned Bodie Railroad that went to Mono Mills from the 1880’s until it was decommissioned in 1917. You’ll find traces of those mining days all along the route – old railroad ties, campsites, etc. Outstanding alpine vistas surround you as you climb the old railroad grade. Eventually you make your way near the old mining town of Bodie before looping around and descending with fabulous views of Mono Lake and The Sierras.
There is a fair amount of hike-a-bike, as this route is not maintained at all. There are also sections where the old trail is impossible to follow without incredible mapping skills (assuming you have the old maps with this route on it) or GPS. We highly recommend using a GPX track if you intend on attempting this ride- or else you’re bound to get turned around out there (contact us for GPX file).
For a much more detailed account of this ride, photos, and an explanation of the railroad history, check out Alan Jacoby’s ride blog.
- Ride Type: Loop
- Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Strenuous- Climbing (with extended periods of hike-a-bike)
- Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
- Terrain/Conditions: Old railroad trail and jeep/4×4 roads, usually pretty soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
- Access: From Mammoth, get to Highway 395 and head north for about 31 miles (6 miles past Lee Vining). Make a right on Hwy 167 (Pole Line Rd.) towards Hawthorne. After approx. 6 miles, turn left on Cottonwood Canyon Rd. After 1.2 miles, continue right at the T. After another 0.3 miles, veer right on Dobie Meadows Rd (a well-maintained dirt road). Take this road for 5.9 miles, and park at the Lime Kiln (see photo below).
- Length: 21.6 miles
- Approx. Time: 4 – 8 hours (depends on conditions and route finding – prepare to be gone all day, just in case)
- Lowest Elevation: 6,742′
- Highest Elevation: 8,691′
- Total Elevation Gain: 2,176′
- Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike (XC bike will work, but not too fun)
- GPX file: Available by contacting us
Turn by Turn (in miles):
We are not including Turn by Turn directions for this ride. It is way too complicated and the nuances of staying with the very faint rail trail demands the use of a GPX track. If you do not have a device that can upload and follow a GPX track, we would not attempt this ride. Also, we would not recommend doing this ride on your own – bring a friend.