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Posts tagged “fat bike

Keeping it Fat in the Tetons and Grand Targhee

Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

Grizzly territory. Grizzly territory.

The opportunity to ride fat bikes in Grand Teton National Park doesn’t present itself that often, so I jumped at this chance.  Teton Mountain Bike Tours led a group ride in the National Park as part of the Fat Bike Summit.  Local advocates are vying for more winter riding opportunities alongside snowmobiles in GTNP and in Yellowstone.  But for now, fat bikes are limited to plowed roads that cars can drive on.  So as far as riding goes right now, the terrain is nothing amazing – but you’re still in the Tetons, enveloped by some of the best eye candy that Mother Nature has ever created.

Riding on one of the plowed roads in Grand Teton National Park.  Notice the socked in cloud layer. Riding on one of the plowed roads in Grand Teton National Park. Notice the socked in cloud layer.

Unfortunately, during our ride, we we socked in with cloud cover, and the Tetons never poked out.  About an hour after our ride…

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Road Trip – Global Fat Bike Summit 2015: Jackson, WY

Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

For the 2nd year in a row, I jammed out to the Fat Bike Summit with a crew from Mammoth.  Last year, it was in Ogden, UT – read about it here.  This year, it was at Snow King Resort in Jackson, WY.  For those that don’t know, Snow King is the O.G. ski resort right in the heart of Jackson that opened in 1930.  Gets overshadowed by Jackson Hole Resort 12 miles up the road – think of it like June Mountain compared to Mammoth Mountain, except you can night ski for $25!

Rolling from the Antler Inn to Snow King - let the Summit begin! Rolling from the Antler Inn to Snow King – let the Summit begin!

Anyhoo, jumped in the turbo diesel Jetta Wagon with Jen and Dan at 5:30am.  Bikes and skis and fritos and tangerines packed.  Wyoming bound.  After driving about 4 hours each, and Dan only stalling 3 times, we hit the town square.  Checked in…

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Ride Report: Casa Diablo Overlook – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a fairly strenuous 10-mile loop that is just across the highway from Mammoth Lakes.  It starts with a nice climb behind the geothermal plant, giving you an interesting perspective of the area.  Long before the geothermal plant was built, this area was called Casa Diablo.  At one time, there were hot springs and an active geyser here.  It was a stagecoach stop around 1880, and tourist attraction in the 1920’s.  Even earlier than that, Native Americans had an obsidian mine here.  As you’re riding, look around at all the whitish areas on the slopes, created from geothermal activity of the Long Valley Caldera.

Archive photo of Casa Diablo tourist area and geyser in the background

Archive photo of the Casa Diablo tourist area and geyser in the background

Another shot of the old Casa Diablo Geyser

Another shot of the old Casa Diablo Geyser

Eventually you reach Antelope Springs Road and continue climbing this graded road before making a a right for a gorgeous descent down into the valley below.  The views of Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest are magnificent.  Before long, you turn right again, and start the climb to the Casa Diablo Overlook.  As you get near the top, you’ll be riding over lots of beautiful obsidian.  From the top, you can look west to Mammoth Mountain and see the geothermal plant below.  You can look to the south to see Crowley Lake and Doe Ridge, while to the east Hot Creek and the Long Valley Caldera are visible.  It’s a magnificent viewpoint and well worth the effort.  Afterwards, you complete the loop with fun descent including some rarely ridden singletrack (super fun, with a couple bits of hike-a-bike).

A very similar route, that is longer and has some more climbing,  is the Little Antelope Valley LoopBig Smokey Loop and Little Smokey Loop are also related to this ride, and can be combined for an epic day in the saddle. Confused?  Contact us and we’ll dial in a ride to suit you.

Overall, the terrain can tend to be on the sandy side in sections (especially in the summer), so this is a great ride for fat bikes or 29+ bikes.  You can do it on a regular mountain bike, but be prepared for some sandy hike-a-bike sections.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, moderate to strenuous climbing with a couple short, steep spots
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go east on the 203 (away from Mammoth) towards the geothermal plant.  Make a right turn on Old Highway 395.  After approximately 0.2 miles look for a dirt parking lot on your left.  Park here, this is where the ride starts.
  • Length: 10.0 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,106′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,924′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,449′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or 29+ because of the sandy sections, but any mountain bike will suffice.
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Since this route isn’t signed, and it makes its way through a spaghetti network of OHV trails, we’re not going to post turn by turn directions.  We’d prefer you contact us for the gpx track/ map, which will set you up for success.

Casa Diablo Overlook Ride - Map.

Casa Diablo Overlook Ride – Map.

Casa Diablo Overlook Ride - Elevation Profile.

Casa Diablo Overlook Ride – Elevation Profile.

Descending towards Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest.

Descending towards Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest.

Casa Diablo Weather Station

Casa Diablo Weather Station

View from the overlook to Mammoth Mountain and the geothermal plant below.

View from the overlook to Mammoth Mountain and the geothermal plant below.

Views towards Crowley Lake and the airport from the couch.

Views towards Crowley Lake and the airport from the couch.

I love this couch that someone strategically placed up here.

I love this couch that someone strategically placed up here.

Looking back from the couch towards the radio towers.

Looking back from the couch towards the radio towers.


Ride Report: Sand Canyon Loop near Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is one tough ride.  It takes the Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail, which is usually an epic shuttle ride, and massages it into one badass mamma jamma loop.  Start at Tom’s Place Resort and make the climb up Rock Creek Rd to access Sand Canyon.  After descending Sand Canyon you take Forest Road 4S54 to the left to complete the loop back to your car.  You’ll be ready for some post-ride beer and grub at the restaurant.  They also have great milkshakes.  Another great spot for some mid-ride yummies is Pie In The Sky at the Rock Creek Lake Resort.  Grab a slice before turning left at Rock Creek Lake and starting your final push up to the Sand Canyon MTB Trail.  From the top, it’s pretty much a bomber 4,000′ descent with great views in every direction before some tough and sometimes sandy climbing back to your car.  If you’re in the mood to explore and climb even more, you can take the Wheeler Crest Out and Back about 4 miles after you hit the dirt.  You can also include the Swall Canyon Trail, Wagon Wheel Trail, and Lower Rock Creek Trail for a custom loop of epic proportions.

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:  Loop (there is also a Point to Point / Shuttle option)
  • Difficulty: Advanced descending skills and extra lungs 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: Pavement climb, but mostly doubletrack/ jeep road with some singletrack
  • Access: From Mammoth, take Highway 395 south approximately 18 miles and exit at Tom’s Place.  Turn right on Crowley Lake Drive and park near Tom’s Place Resort.  Save the spots in front for customers that need it.
  • Length: 24.6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 3-5 hours, maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 6,568′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,224′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 4,339′
  • Bike Recommendation: Hard Tail or Full-Suspension MTB is best
  • 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 Rock Creek Road.  It’s pavement, but don’t let that fool you.  You’ll be gaining around 4,000′ over 9 miles.
8.6 – Pass Rock Creek Lake Resort / Pie in the Sky on the right.
8.7 – Turn left at Rock Creek Lake.  Pass the bathrooms and continue towards the back of the lake.
9.1 – Reach the campground host on the right and some camping spots on the left.  You’ll see a green gate to your left.  This might be a little confusing, but go past the gate and soon you’ll start heading up a dirt road that’s tame at first, then becomes rocky and steep as it passes by some cabins.
9.3 – go left after a group of cabins when the road splits.  Then make another quick left and keep climbing.
9.84 – a trail joins in from the left – stay straight and keep climbing.  Breathe!
10.0 – 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
10.4 – you’ve reached the official trail sign/ start of Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail.  Sip some water and get ready to grin.  lot’s of descending ahead.  stay on the main trail
11.2 – cross the creek
13.2 – 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.
16.1 – stay on the main trail and rip the descent down the canyon – yahoo!!
17.5 – cross a small creek and then climb for a while10.4 – you’ve reached the official trail sign/ start of Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail.  Sip some water and get ready to grin.  lot’s of descending ahead.  stay on the main trail
18.5 – reach an intersection at Witcher Meadow.  continue on the main road, veer right and head down steep road towards a creek
19.8 – turn left on 4S54.  this is a power line road.  don’t miss this turn!
22.1 – continue straight, don’t go left on 4S54D
23.0 – veer right, staying on main road.  it then curves to the left, reaching pavement at 23.9 miles
24.6 – arrive back at Tom’s Place Resort

Sand Canyon Loop - Map

Sand Canyon Loop – Map

Sand Canyon Loop - Elevation Profile

Sand Canyon Loop – Elevation Profile

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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


40 Miles of Fatty Fun: Mono Lake Loop Ride

Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

“Flat” rides usually kinda suck.  Just my opinion.  I wanna be going up or going down with emphasis on the later.  F-L-A-T equals B-O-R-I-N-G.  Tedious, mundane, monotonous, stale… whatever you wanna call it.  Especially on a singlespeed, where you just spin out while your buddies are clickin’ away up to the big ring.

Ah ha!  Revelation.  Fat bikes take the “flat” out of flat rides.  Rides that were once impossible on mountain bikes, or considered drab and toturous if possible, have the possibility of being enjoyable with 4 inches of tire and 5 psi of pressure.

A couple years ago, I never would’ve considered riding my bike around Mono Lake.  It’s sandy.  It’s mostly double track and forest service roads.  Pretty much deal killers for a singletrack snob.  I don’t know anybody that enjoys walking their bike through beaches and dunes.  Yeah, I know… it’s a gorgeous lake.  But that’s…

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Ride Report: Starkweather Trail – Mammoth Lakes, CA

The descent down to Starkweather Lake is one of the best sections of singletrack in the area. It’s 2.5 miles of rollercoaster trail bliss. The climb back up is grueling and unrelenting, but we feel it’s worth “earning your turns” for this one. There’s only one catch – this trail is closed to bicycles most of the year. You can usually only ride for a portion of May or June and September – October. If the shuttle bus is running to Reds Meadow, it’s closed to bikes. This means it’s usually only legal once the snow melts in May or June, before the shuttle starts running for the summer – or after Labor Day when the shuttle shuts down at the end of Summer. It changes from year to year, so make sure you’re not poaching before you jump on this trail.  Combine with Mountain View, Hard Core, or the Double High Five Y if you’re up for it.  You can also shuttle it if you just want the downhill jollies without heaving up a lung.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate descent. Difficult, grueling ascent.
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% singletrack
  • Access: From town, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Continue past Main Lodge and go all the way up to the turnoff for Minaret Vista (just before the Forest Service kiosk to go down to Reds Meadow). Make a right for Minaret Vista, and then another quick right and park in the dirt lot. Ride back to Highway 203 and cross the road at Forest Service kiosk. The trailhead is right next to the kiosk, and you’ll see the sign a few feet up the hill (see photo).
  • Length: 5.0 miles (2.5 miles each way)
  • Approx. Time: 1 – 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,011′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,168’′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,213′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles): No directions necessary. No trail intersections. Just take Starkweather Trail all the way down to the lake. There are a few small creek crossings, switchbacks, and a couple mildly techy sections to keep your speed in check. The dirt is mostly packed with some looser pumice spots sprinkled around. For some reason, most people ride the road to get back up. I guess the climb up the trail can be intimidating, but honestly it’s not that bad. At least as not as bad as climbing Hard Core/ San Joaquin Ridge. We prefer to stay on dirt when possible, so back up the trail is the way to go!!

the trailhead sign, just across from the Forest Service kiosk

the trailhead sign, just across from the Forest Service kiosk

A view of Starkweather Lake through the pine and fir trees

A view of Starkweather Lake through the pine and fir trees

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Starkweather Trail Map

Starkweather Trail Map

Starkweather Elevation Profile

Starkweather Elevation Profile