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Archive for July, 2014

Ride Report: Silver Canyon Ride – Bishop, CA

The Silver Canyon Ride has an average 13.7% grade, and is one of the most brutal climbs in the area.  It’s on par with the Laurel Lakes Ride in terms of climbing treachery.  It’s also the first/toughest part of the White Mountain EpicAfter parking at the Laws Museum, engaging in nervous small talk, and applying ample chamois cream, you saddle up.  A peaceful climb eases the nerves and warms the legs.  You are cruising up the famous Silver Canyon Rd.  After not too long, that elementary climb turns into a grueling effort that has your lungs puffing out of your chest like Lou Ferrigno.  From 4,000′ to 10,800′ over 11.6 miles we go.  Silver Canyon is a grueling rite of passage climb.  Make sure your brake pads are fresh and your wits are perky.  The Silver Canyon descent is FAST and DANGEROUS.  Especially when you’re fatigued.  When it was raced in 1986 as the Plumline Ultimate Kamikaze,  they put nets and barricades up around the dangerous turns to keep people from flying off the mountain.  There were also ambulances at the ready, and yes, they were necessary.   There will be no ambulances, no barricades, nothing.  So BE WARNED.  Read Alan’s blog on Silver Canyon for a personal account of riding this trail, and the White Mountain Peak Challenge blog which has a ton of info and photos of Silver Canyon as well.

Note:  Much of this ride is very remote.  Please be self-sufficient and carry plenty of water and nutrition as well as items to fix your bike in a jam.  Weather frequently changes as well, so be ready for anything!!

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back – as described here
  • Difficulty:  Advanced climbing and descending skills required.  Have fresh brake pads for the descent!
  • Time of Year:  Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly doubletrack/ jeep road with numerous creek crossings
  • Access: Park at the Laws Railroad Museum on Silver Canyon Rd. (off Hwy 6 out of Bishop).  The ride starts here.  Just head east on Silver Canyon Rd
  • Length: 22.6 miles total (11.3 miles each way)
  • Approx. Time: 3-5 hours, maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 4,114′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,504′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 6,483′
  • Bike Recommendation: Lightweight XC mountain bike is best. Full suspension or hardtail.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions necessary here.  Simply climb up Silver Canyon Road.  Stay on the main road and don’t take any spur trails that might pop up.  You’ll do about 8 creek crossings and pass a gate around 8 miles in.   Then it gets really steep with a bunch of switchbacks.  Keep trucking until you reach White Mountain Road at 11.3 miles.  Turn around and head back to your car at Laws.  Pat self on back.

Silver Canyon Map

Silver Canyon Map

Silver Canyon Elevation Profile

Silver Canyon Elevation Profile

Looking down from the steep switchback after the gate

Looking down from the steep switchback after the gate

One of the steep climbs you have to look forward to.

One of the steep climbs you have to look forward to.

Silver Canyon Road with the Eastern Sierras in the background

Silver Canyon Road with the Eastern Sierras in the background

Junction of Silver Canyon Road and White Mountain Road

Junction of Silver Canyon Road and White Mountain Road


Ride Report: Sand Canyon Trail near Mammoth Lakes, CA

Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail is a gem that often gets overlooked by the nearby Lower Rock Creek Trail.  The trail is accessed from Rock Creek Lake.  After a tough 500′ climb over 1.3 miles, you reach the official trailhead.  This is some of the highest mountain bike riding in the Eastern Sierras.  From here, it’s pretty much a bomber 4,000′ descent with great views in every direction.  It’s mostly jeep road, and very sandy at times, some creek crossings thrown in.  There’s one or two tough climbs, but mostly it’s, down, down, down.  It will definitely put a grin on your face.  If you’re in the mood to explore and climb more, you can take the Wheeler Crest Out and Back about 4 miles into the ride.  You can also include the Swall Canyon Trail, Wagon Wheel Trail, and the above mentioned Lower Rock Creek Trail for an epic day in the saddle. The most popular way to do Sand Canyon is by shuttling it (as described here).  However, hard core riders can choose to do the Sand Canyon Loop, including the 4,000′ pavement climb up to Rock Creek Lake.  There is also a way to get to the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail via dirt.

If you have questions about any of this or tailoring a ride to suit you, send us a note. Note:  Much of this ride is very remote.  Please be self-sufficient and carry plenty of water and nutrition as well as items to fix your bike in a jam.  Weather frequently changes as well, so be ready for anything!!

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point / Shuttle
  • Difficulty: Advanced descending skills required.  Some technical/ rock gardens and steep climbing/ hike-a-bike and sandy sections.
  • Time of Year: Late Spring (once snow melts off), Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly doubletrack/ jeep road with some singletrack
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car at the intersection of Swall Meadows Road and Lower Rock Creek Road.  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).  Once you exit, drive 4 miles to the intersection of Swall Meadows Road and Lower Rock Creek Road.  Park one car here.  Then drive back up Lower Rock Creek Road to Highway 395.  Go north for one exit to Tom’s Place.  Drive up Rock Creek road for 8.5 miles and make a left at Rock Creek Lake Campground.  Drive about 1/2 mile and park.  Ride about .2 miles farther to the campground host.  Across from the host, there’s a green gate.  The ride commences here.
  • Length: 12.8 miles to your car (12.6 to Wagon Wheel Trailhead)
  • Approx. Time: 1-2 hours, maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 6,394′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,224′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 530′ (497′ over first 1.3 miles)
  • Total Elevation Loss: 3,841′
  • 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: Read Alan’s Blog on Sand Canyon

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading up a road that’s tame at first, then becomes rocky and steep as it passes by some cabins.

.20 – go left after a group of cabins when the road splits.  Then make another quick left and keep climbing

.54 – a trail joins in from the left (see photo below of the sign with Wheeler Crest, Kenneth Lake) – stay straight and keep climbing.  Breathe!

.72 – if you clean this section, you’re a champ.  most likely you’ll be hiking your bike and looking back to the killer view of Rock Creek Lake

1.3 – you’ve reached the official trail sign/ start of Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail.  Sip some water and get ready to grin.  stay on the main trail

2.1– cross the creek

4.1 – you’ll see the turn-off for the Wheeler Crest 4×4 Road to the right.  Keep straight, and get ready to climb a bit.

7.0 – stay on the main trail and rip the descent down the canyon – yahoo!!

8.4 – cross a small creek and then climb for a while

9.4 – reach an intersection at Witcher Meadow.  continue on the main road, veer right and head down steep road towards a creek.

10.8– go right at the split on 5S08 towards Swall Meadows 11.6 – go left on Sky Meadow Ranch dirt road 12.1 – go left on Swall Meadows Rd

12.8 – arrive at your car at the intersection with Lower Rock Creek Rd

Sand Canyon Map

Sand Canyon Map

Sand Canyon Elevation Profile

Sand Canyon Elevation Profile

Fall colors on the climb up to Sand Canyon Trail

Fall colors on the climb up to Sand Canyon Trail

Trail sign during the tough climb at the beginning of the ride

Trail sign during the tough climb at the beginning of the ride

View back to Rock Creek Lake as you near the top of the initial tough climb

View back to Rock Creek Lake as you near the top of the initial tough climb

Sand Canyon Trail Sign - here is where the fun begins!

Sand Canyon Trail Sign – here is where the fun begins!


Ride Report: Uptown / Downtown – Public (Short) Loop – No Bike Park

One of the staples for Mammoth locals and visitors alike.  At some point, everyone rides “Uptown – Downtown”.  It can either be a great introduction to mountain biking, or an all out lung-buster if you really push it.  The version described here is for the “short” loop which goes up to the Earthquake Fault Junction and does not include the portion that enters the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.  You CAN do this ride without purchasing a bike park ticket.  If you have a bike park pass/ticket, and you’re looking for a longer loop, consider the Uptown/Downtown Full Loop on the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park Map.  Another option is to cross Highway 203 at the Earthquake Fault Junction and continue climbing up Mountain View Trail (a great out and back that is also free to the public without need for a bike park ticket), and then connect back with Downtown.  If you’re having trouble figuring out what to ride, or the best way to connect these trails into a ride that suits your style/ability, contact us – and we’ll help you construct a ride that’s right for you!!

WINTER SNOW RIDING:

We started “fatpacking” this loop on snowshoes for winter snowriding.  When it’s packed, this is the best singletrack snow riding in Mammoth.  If you’re in Mammoth during Winter months and are looking to ride this on your fat bike, contact us first to see if it’s been packed and get an update on current trail conditions.

  • Ride Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Minimally Technical, Moderate Climbing, Fast Descending
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall for mountain biking, Winter and Spring when we snowshoe pack it for fat bike use.
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly singletrack, although Downtown is wider with doubletrack in sections and tends to get sandy in parts with brake bumps in the turns.
  • Access: Go up Main St through Mammoth Lakes.  Make a right turn on Minaret Rd/ Highway 203.  The Village will be on your left, and The Village Parking Lot will be on your right.  Park here.  Ride up to the intersection of Minaret and Forest Trail.  The trailhead is well signed and just ahead on your left.
  • Length: 3.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 30 min – 1 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,052′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,531′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 498′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, pretty much any bike will do.  Be prepared to pedal!
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – start climbing the Uptown Trail (the one on the right).  Get into a good rhythm, as you’ll be climbing for a while.

1.9 – reach the Earthquake Fault Junction.  Go left here to get on Downtown and start descending back to The Village.  If you’re connecting with Mountain View Trail, go right and cross Highway 203 to the Mountain View Trailhead.  If you continue going up here, you’ll be in the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park where a ticket/pass is necessary.

3.8 – reach the end of the loop where you started.

Uptown- Downtown Map

Uptown- Downtown Map

Uptown Trailhead in Summer

Uptown Trailhead in Summer

The Earthquake Fault Trail Junction.  This is the turnaround point.  Going past that barricade takes you into the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

The Earthquake Fault Trail Junction. This is the turnaround point. Going past that barricade takes you into the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

A fun section on the Downtown Trail

A fun section on the Downtown Trail

Uptown Trailhead in Winter

Uptown Trailhead in Winter

Uptown on the Fat Bike in Winter

Uptown on the Fat Bike in Winter

"2014 Person of the Year" and dear friend Kathy, getting fat!!Taking a break to do some trail cleanup by the Scenic Loop turnoff. Angela wins the "First Time Fattie Best Smile Award"!


Ride Report: Panorama Dome Mountain Bike Trail

The Panorama Dome Mountain Bike Trail (not to be confused by the hiking trail with the same name – PLEASE don’t ride bikes on the hiking trail) is a great beginner to intermediate ride, and even advanced/ expert riders like the fast and flowy vibe it offers.  It’s not too technical, and is mostly buff singletrack.  Most of it is tucked in the trees, keeping you cool on hot summer days.  Views of the back side of Mammoth Mountain, Twin Lakes, and the Mammoth Crest are gorgeous.  Much of the trail was destroyed by logging vehicles in 2011-2012, but was revamped in 2013 as part of a large trail project in conjunction with MLTPA, Friends of the Inyo, the USFS, etc – Fat Bike Mammoth was proud to be a co-sponsor of the event as well – read about it here.  Anyhoo,  now it’s riding better than ever.   The trail is easy to access, and lies right between the Lakes Trail (part of Mammoth Mountain Bike Park) and Mammoth Rock Trail.  Many people incorporate it with those rides.  It’s also right off the Town Bike Path, so many people combine it with the Horseshoe Lake Loop a little farther up the road.

The trail consists of a point to point portion (the most popular) and also has a small, 0.4 mile spur segment that makes for different riding options and adds a little fun.  You can ride it as a point to point, out and back, lollipop, etc – Many choices.  There is a little more climbing going from Old Mammoth Rd towards Lake Mary Rd.

To get you going, we’ll describe two versions here: As a point to point from Lake Mary Rd to Old Mammoth Rd (Option #1) and a lollipop from the Old Mammoth Rd trailhead which includes the spur trail (Option #2).

Lake Mary Rd to Old Mammoth Rd – Option #1

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point (this is the most popular way of riding this trail)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal Climbing (hardest climb is right at the start)
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Smooth singletrack with a few sandy sections
  • Access: You can drive up Lake Mary Rd from town (Main St turns into Lake Mary Rd at the intersection of Minaret).  The first parking area you reach, approximately 1.5 miles from town is the Twin Lakes Vista parking area.  Stage from here. Another alternative is to put your bike on the rack of the trolley which departs from The Village and takes you up to the Lakes Basin (check with Eastern Sierra Transit for the current schedule).  Similarly, you can ride the Town Bike Path up to the Twin Lakes Vista, or off the Lakes Trail from Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, etc. Whichever way you get to the Twin Lakes Vista parking area, you then cross the street and hop on the bike path, and head up 350 feet where you’ll find the Panorama Dome Mountain Bike Trail sign on your left.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 1.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 10 -20 minutes
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,553′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,669′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 109′
  • Bike Recommendation:  Any mountain bike or fat bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading up a couple punchy climbs that lead you to a trail sign
.28 – veer left and follow sign for Mammoth Rock Trail
.79 – turn left, again following sign for Mammoth Rock Trail
.72 – see the remnants of the old campsite and fire place to the left
1.22 – ride ends at Old Mammoth Rd.

Point to Point Map

Point to Point Map

Old Mammoth Rd. Lollipop – Option #2

  • Ride Type:  Lollipop (using the spur trail to make the loop)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal Climbing (hardest climb is right at the start)
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Smooth singletrack with a few sandy sections
  • Access: Drive up Old Mammoth Rd from town.  .3 miles after you pass the Mammoth Rock Trail head you’ll see a small pullout on the right with a trail sign for Panorama Dome Trail.  Your ride starts here.
  • Length: 1.6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 20 -30 minutes
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,553′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,692′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 180′
  • Bike Recommendation:  Any mountain bike or fat bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Jump on the singletrack and enjoy
.41 – turn left and start climbing, following sign for Panorama Dome TH
.65 – veer right, following sign for Lakes Basin Path.  then make another quick right
.72 – see the remnants of the old campsite and fire place to the left
1.18 – turn left, following sign to Mammoth Rock Trail
1.6 – ride ends back at Old Mammoth Rd

Lollipop Map

Lollipop Map

Trail sign at the Lake Mary Rd trailhead

Trail sign at the Lake Mary Rd trailhead

Great views to the back side of Mammoth Mountain

Great views to the back side of Lincoln Mountain

Some sweet singletrack on the Panorama Dome MTB Trail

Some sweet singletrack on the Panorama Dome MTB Trail

An example of the well-signed trail intersections

An example of the well-signed trail intersections

Very informative trail sign and map at the Old Mammoth Rd trailhead

Very informative trail sign and map at the Old Mammoth Rd trailhead


Ride Report: Horseshoe Lake Loop

This trail is a great introduction to mountain biking and marvelous for families with kids.  It’s shaded in the trees, so it never gets too hot and the views of Horseshoe Lake and the back side of Mammoth Mountain are nice as well.  There are many opportunities to stop and take a breather, and the trail is rarely crowded.  It’s mostly flat, with minimal climbing and descending.  If you’re looking for more riding, try riding up from town on the bike path, and possibly integrating the Panorama Dome Trail and/or Mammoth Rock Trail.

  • Ride Type:  Loop (counter-clockwise as we describe it, but it can be ridden both ways)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal Climbing
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth single and double-track, with a brief stint on a dirt road and short section of the paved bike path
  • Access: You can drive up Lake Mary Rd from town (Main St turns into Lake Mary Rd at the intersection of Minaret).  Lake Mary Rd terminates at Horseshoe Lake.  Another alternative is to put your bike on the rack of the trolley which departs from The Village and takes you up to the Lakes Basin (check with Eastern Sierra Transit for the current schedule).  Similarly, you can ride the Town Bike Path all the way up into the Lakes Basin if you’re seeking a longer/ more invigorating ride.  Whichever way you decide to access the trail – once you’re in the Horseshoe Lake parking lot, make your way to the MAMBO bike trail kiosk next to the huge Horseshoe Lake Trailhead sign.  This is where the ride begins.
  • Length: 1.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1/2 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,936′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,000′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 94′
  • Bike Recommendation:  This can be ridden with pretty much any off-road bike.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – The ride starts heading southbound, out of the parking lot next to the kiosk, and onto a dirt road.
.20 – veer left and go over a few bridges
.34 – veer right at the bike sign, climbing slightly up to the singletrack
.72 – see the remnants of the old campsite and fire place to the left
1.26 – turn left, staying on the dirt trail that parallels the paved path
1.4 – merge with the paved bike path and finish the loop
1.8 – ride ends at MAMBO kiosk
horseshoe_loop_map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

The MAMBO sign where the ride officially starts

The MAMBO sign where the ride officially starts

One of the many bridges over creek crossings on the Horseshoe Lake Trail

One of the many bridges over creek crossings on the Horseshoe Lake Trail

A USFS bike trail sign and a fun slice of singletrack through the trees

A USFS bike trail sign and a fun slice of singletrack through the trees

An old fireplace remains from an old camping area next to the trail

An old fireplace remains from an old camping area next to the trail

A great view of Horseshoe Lake from the south side

A great view of Horseshoe Lake from the south side