Ride Report: Inyo Craters Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA
The Inyo Craters Loop is an old school Mammoth ride. It was one of the earliest USFS signed bike routes. Other than the Inyo Craters Singletrack (which we include with our version of the loop), the terrain is pretty much jeep roads. There is moderate climbing, with some sweet views and a good tour of the area. This is a relaxing ride that’s definitely worth doing for some peaceful exercise. If you want a little more ride time / exertion, try the Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop.
This ride goes around the two Inyo Craters, which 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. 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!
**NOTE FOR WINTER / FAT BIKE RIDING – This route is usually packed by snowmobiles and trucks before grooming starts for the season. Other than the singletrack section (which sees no Winter use) the rest is usually fun on a fat bike with low tire pressure. Remember, once grooming starts, all groomed trails are OFF LIMITS to bikes. Click here for the grooming report to see if it’s currently legal to ride. Questions? Contact us.
- Ride Type: Loop (clockwise as described) with Singletrack out and back section
- Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous
- Time of Year: Summer and Fall (possible late spring depending on snow pack), and early Winter (on fat bike before grooming begins).
- 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: 11.9 miles
- Approx. Time: 1.5 -2.5 hours
- Lowest Elevation: 7,711′
- Highest Elevation: 8,161′
- Total Elevation Gain: 636′
- Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike
- GPX File: contact us
- More info: MammothTrails.org
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
6.0 notice upper deadman campground on right, obsidian flat campground on left
6.5 go right on 2S29 – then stay on main rd through forest
8.0 go right
9.4 veer right then stay straight towards inyo craters rd
10.0 left at T
10.4 veer left
10.7 right at T climb back to the main parking area, and head right to the singletrack
11.0 enter the singletrack to the right, and head back down to the staging area