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

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Ride Report: Yost Meadows Trail – June Lake, CA

Yost Meadows Trail is one of the most under-rated and overlooked trails around. It’s super easy to access, with parking right off the June Lake Loop.  The first mile or so is brutal climbing, with no warmup, that usually involves serious granny-gear pounding or hike-a-bike if you’re on a singlespeed (like me).  But the views you get of June Lake and Gull Lake make you forget that you’re wheezing and gasping for dear life. Take a moment to soak it in. The climbing mellows a bit after this point as you spin through alpine meadows and aspen groves.  By this point, you’re probably imagining how much bliss this singletrack will be on the way back down!  Eventually you enter the ski area- and the trail descends a little before crossing under the lift and climbing some more. The trail is usually pretty easy to follow, but it might be good to load the gpx file (contact us to request the file) especially if any snow has fallen.  Also, you must be aware that you have to stop at 3.6 miles and turn around. There is a boundary here for the Owens Headwaters Wilderness Area and bikes are strictly prohibited past this point. Last time we rode it, there was no visible “Wilderness Boundary Sign” so it’s on you to be responsible.  You MUST NOT RIDE YOUR BIKE IN THE WILDERNESS AREA.  We recommend using an app on your phone or carry a GPS device so that you can track your mileage. Feel free to park the bike and continue hiking past this point.  By foot, you can get to Yost Lake and Fern Lake – both great spots to eat some grub and relax.  Anyhoo, once you turn around, it’s pretty much rip-roaring downhill fun all the way back to the car.  There are hikers once in a while, so be wary – and remember to stay in control in the exposed areas and steep switchbacks.  Now go ride!

Note: The best part of the trail (arguably) is the 2.2 miles from the parking area to the ski area – so that’s a good turnaround point as well, if you want to cut the ride a little short or don’t want to mess with getting near the Wilderness Boundary

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty:  Advanced climbing and descending skills required.  This is a lung-buster climb with exposed descents.
  • Time of Year:  Summer and Fall (possibly early Winter/ late Spring depending on snowfall)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack, with some loose/sandy sections
  • Access: From Mammoth, take Highway 395 north for 20 miles to the southern turnoff for the June Lake Loop (Hwy 158).  Drive for about 2 miles.  You’ll reach the Fire Station and the Balancing Boulder on the right side of the road.  The dirt parking lot is on the left, directly across from the fire station.  You’ll see the trail sign. 
  • Length: 7.2 miles total (3.6 to the Owens Headwaters Wilderness Boundary)
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 3 hours, depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,718′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,250′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,678′ (with around 1,500′ coming in the first 3.6 miles – ouch!)
  • Bike Recommendation: Lightweight XC mountain bike is best. Full suspension or hardtail.  If riding after snow has fallen, a fat bike might be best 🙂
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • More Info:  Check out the Mountain Biking Mammoth Book

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading up from the trailhead sign (see photo).  You’ll quickly pass by a large kiosk with a map.  The trail is wide at first, but narrows soon.  The climbing is relentless.
.75 – The climbing starts to ease up, but is still tough.  You leave the exposed mountainside and head inward a bit.  The riding gets a little easier, but the views are diminished.
2.2 – Reach the Ski Area.  Here you merge with a wide ski run and descend for a short bit.  Look to your left and find the singletrack.  Jump on this and start climbing again.  This area of the trail is sometimes faint, but more recently has been defined well by rocks, etc.
2.9 – Cross a small creek
3.6 – Reach the Wilderness Boundary.  Turn around here and retrace your ride back to the car.  Enjoy the sweet trip back – you earned these turns!!

Map of Yost Meadows Trail to the Wilderness Boundary

Map of Yost Meadows Trail to the Wilderness Boundary

Elevation Profile for the climb

Elevation Profile for the climb

Gorgeous view of Gull Lake as you're climbing the mountainside

Gorgeous view of Gull Lake as you’re climbing the mountainside

Stop for a breather.  Sweet view of June Lake

Stop for a breather. Sweet view of June Lake

Sweet section going through an aspen grove

Sweet section going through an aspen grove

Junction with the Ski Trail

Junction with the Ski Trail

Pretty meadow near Yost Lake - You can only hike here, it's past the Wilderness Boundary

Pretty meadow near Yost Lake – You can only hike here, it’s past the Wilderness Boundary

This map from the Mountain Biking Mammoth Book (which was approved by the USFS) shows the Wilderness Boundary very clearly

This map from the Mountain Biking Mammoth Book (which was approved by the USFS) shows the Wilderness Boundary very clearly

 

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Ride Report: Lake Canyon Trail – Lundy Lake, CA

This is an ass kicker.  No doubt about it.  Don’t let the first 1/4 mile of pleasant singletrack fool you.  Your legs better be warm, as you climb over 1,600′ in only 3 miles.  This is an old 1880’s gold mining road that leads up to May Lundy Mine and Oneida Lake.  Much of it has deteriorated to singletrack, and it will get better if more people ride it.  In addition to the steep grade, the terrain is rocky and loose in many areas, making the climbing very tough.  Of course, the views are impeccable.  Right off the bat, you get great views of Lundy Lake and the campground.  Eventually you make your way into the glacial valley, paralleling Lake Canyon Creek and eventually crossing over it.  Shortly after, you reach Blue Lake and Crystal Lake on your left.  We strongly suggest you park your bike at the May Lundy Mine informational kiosk (3 miles) just before the Hoover Wilderness Boundary, and continue hiking to the mine, and Oneida Lake if you like.  Reminder – no bicycles allowed past the Wilderness Boundary!  There are lots of old mining relics around, and a nice views in all directions.  The ride down is a fast, fun, brake burning descent back to your car!

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Aerobic Difficulty: Short, steep climb is tough on the lungs
  • Technical Difficulty: Moderately technical (some rocks and shale)
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: A mix of singletrack and doubletrack – some shale/rock gardens – gorgeous high alpine scenery and a historic abandoned mine.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 395  and the 203 at Mammoth Lakes, drive north on the 395 for 32 miles.  Exit left towards Lundy Lake.  Drive for 3.5 miles and veer left on Lundy Dam Rd.  Park at the dam.  The ride starts at the gate.
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,808′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,494′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,665′
  • Bike Recommendation:  This can be ridden with pretty much any off-road bike, but a lightweight/ full suspension xc bike is ideal.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Go past the gate and ride up to the informational kiosk.  After reading, head left on the singletrack.  Get ready to climb!
2.0 – Cross the creek, and enjoy a short section of flat riding.  This is a great spot to take a break.
3.0  – Reach the May Lundy Mine informational sign.  Although the actual Wilderness Boundary is 0.2 miles past here, this is where we park our bikes and hike up to the mine.  Walk ahead, and veer right in 0.1 mile and start climbing (going straight will take you to a dead end and an arsenic warning sign).  Once you reach the main mine shaft, you can continue hiking up to Oneida Lake as well.  Eventually, make your way back to your bike and start the descent.
6.0 – Reach the dam gate, end of ride.

Lake Canyon Trail - Map

Lake Canyon Trail – Map

Lake Canyon Trail - Elevation Profile (climb only)

Lake Canyon Trail – Elevation Profile (climb only)

Start of the ride at the gate by the dam.

Start of the ride at the gate by the dam.

View of Lundy Lake looking towards the campground

View of Lundy Lake looking towards the campground

Looking down towards the Lundy Lake dam

Looking down towards the Lundy Lake dam

A rare break in the climbing and a wicked view of Mt. Olsen

A rare break in the climbing and a wicked view of Mt. Olsen

Almost to the top of the ride.  Just after this meadow is the 3 mile mark.

Almost to the top of the ride. Just after this meadow is the 3 mile mark.

Here's the May Lundy Mine informational sign at the 3 mile mark.

Here’s the May Lundy Mine informational sign at the 3 mile mark.

Speaks for itself

Speaks for itself

Just in case you forget to park your bike at the May Lundy sign, don't take your bike past this sign at 3.2 miles!!

Just in case you forget to park your bike at the May Lundy sign, don’t take your bike past this sign at 3.2 miles!!

The mine opening has been covered up and debris is all around.

The mine opening has been covered up and debris is all around.

Old mining car tracks leading out of the defunct May Lundy Mine.

Old mining car tracks leading out of the defunct May Lundy Mine.