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

Archive for May, 2014

Ride Report: Lower Rock Creek Trail

Lower Rock Creek Trail is considered by many to be the BEST mountain biking trail in the Eastern Sierra.  The first two sections are comprised of slithering cross country singletrack that weaves it’s way through aspen groves and some rocky terrain while paralleling the creek.  The third/ final section is more technically demanding, requiring more advanced DH skills to navigate a few technical sections (these sections can easily be walked for more novice riders).  The most popular way to do the complete ride is by shuttling it (as described here).  However, hard core riders can choose to ride it as an out and back, climbing the entire trail from the bottom and then descending back the way they came.  Another popular option is to climb the paved Lower Rock Creek Rd from Paradise and then descend the trail, making a loop.  If you don’t feel like doing the whole ride, or don’t want to attempt the more technical 3rd section, you can alter your ride to just do section one, or one and two, etc – there is parking at the top of section one, top of section two and top of section three as well.

A few notes about the trail – it’s very popular with hikers and fisherman and obviously other mountain bikers.  There are many blind turns.  Be aware, and don’t speed out of control.  It’s mostly ridden downhill, but it is 100% legal for riders to climb it – so remember the uphill riders always have the right of way (as do hikers).  If you have the chance to ride this trail in September/October when the colors are turning it’s absolutely majestic!!!  Stay safe and have fun!!!

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point, as described (although there are many other options as mentioned above)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced descending skills required.  Some technical/ rock gardens and exposed sections with steep drop offs – mainly on the 3rd/final section.  If climbing, it is very strenuous.
  • Time of Year: Late Spring, Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% singletrack
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car by the lower trailhead at Paradise.  From Mammoth, take Highway 395 south approximately 20 miles.  Lower Rock Creek Rd. is your exit (just after Toms Place – which is great for post ride grub and libations).  Shortly after exiting, you’ll see a dirt parking area to your right.  Just across the road to the left is the trailhead for the start of the ride (top of section one).  You’ll be coming back up here to start the ride.  For now, keep driving all the way down Lower Rock Creek Rd.  You’ll pass the parking areas for section two and three, and continue through Swall Meadows and down to Paradise where the bottom trailhead is with a brand new parking area and kiosk.  It’s about 10 miles driving down Lower Rock Creek Rd. from where you turned off the 395.  You can see many sections of the trail on your drive which should get you fired up for the great ride to come.  Once you drop a car at the bottom, head back up the way you came to the top parking area.
  • Length: 8 miles (one way, all three sections)
  • Approx. Time: 45 – 90 minutes (downhill only) – maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 4,954′
  • Highest Elevation: 6,876′
  • Total Elevation Loss: 1,923′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a Fat Bike too
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • More Info: Visit the MTB Project Page

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions for this ride, as it’s only one singletrack trail.  After 2.2 miles, you finish the first section and must cross the road and turn right (uphill), and climb up 50 yards to reach the trailhead for section two on your left.  Section two is about 1 mile long.  Then you cross the road again, and the trailhead for section three is about 20 yards down the road on your left.  Section three is about 4.8 miles to the bottom.

Lower Rock Creek Trail Map

Lower Rock Creek Trail Map

Lower Rock Creek Elevation Profile

Lower Rock Creek Elevation Profile

Trailhead sign at the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail

Trailhead sign at the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail

Tasty singletrack and fall colors in an aspen grove on the first section

Tasty singletrack and fall colors in an aspen grove on the first section

More beauty on the Lower Rock Creek Trail

More beauty on the Lower Rock Creek Trail

A fast portion of the third section

A fast portion of the third section

Navigating a small rock garden on the third section

Navigating a small rock garden on the third section