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Posts tagged “fat bike

Keeping it Fat in the Tetons and Grand Targhee

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

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

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


Ride Report: Little Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is an fairly easy ride for most riders.  You can ride it by itself if you’re short on time, or use it as a warm-up for Big Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain LoopAlso nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride if you want an epic day of riding in this area.  You can ride two or all three of these together if you seek a little more challenge.  They all use the same staging area.  No matter how you do it, Little Smokey offers up some majestic views of the Sherwins, San Joaquin Ridge, The Minarets and Mammoth Mountain area.

  • Ride Type:  Loop (clockwise as we describe it)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal Climbing
  • 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 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,627′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,921′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 332′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, 29+, pretty much any bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

This ride starts off very moderately, and continues that way.  The climbing is gradual, and the descending is fun with a couple sandy areas here and there.  Once you turn right on 3S13 (at 1.2 miles), the views open up, and you’ll forget you’re climbing. Don’t forget to gaze to the right and remember why you’re in the Eastern Sierra!! Turn by Turn (in miles): 0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left .34 – continue straight on 3S04 .54 – continue straight on 3S04 .89 – continue straight on 3S04 1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Go right on 3S13 (continuing straight on 3S04 will take you on Big Smokey Loop and Lookout Mountain Loop) 1.8 – hit a junction, stay right.  There are some gorgeous views to your right, don’t forget to look!! 3.54 – veer right and head down the sandy Power Line Rd 3.75 – veer right again, staying on the Power Line Rd 4 – veer right on 3S38 4.1 – continue right yet again, staying on the main road from here on out – you will descend into Smokey Bear Flat and return back to kiosk where you began – 6 miles total.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

Map

Map


Ride Report: Big Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a moderately strenuous loop for most riders.  However, if you want more, you can combo platter it with Little Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain Loop.  Also nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride which could make an epic day of riding in this area.  All three rides stage from the same area and you can craft your own super duper loop.  Big Smokey offers up fantastic views of Bald Mountain and the Owens River Valley early in the ride.  The classic way to ride it (and the way we describe it) is to do it clockwise.  As you head farther south, you see a chalk mine to your left as well as Antelope and Glass Mountains.  Later on as you start heading back west, The Sherwins, Laurel Mountain, McGee Mountain and Mt. Morrison present themselves.  Overall, a relaxing ride with moderate climbs to and descents to keep you alert while you zen out.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderate Climbing and Descending
  • 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 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 13.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,256′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,815′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,096′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or 29+ for the sandy sections, but pretty much any mountain bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left
.34 – continue straight on 3S04
.54 – continue straight on 3S04
.89 – continue straight on 3S04
1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Continue straight (going right will take you on Little Smokey Loop).
1.45 – stay straight/left during descent
2.5 – stay straight and start climbing
3.55 – stay straight on 3S12
4.4 – continue straight
5.85 – make a right on 3S43- it comes up quick during a fast descent, don’t miss it!  start climbing…
6.45 – veer right
7.0 – curve left, stay on 3S43
7.34 curve left again and climb
8.66 – go right
9.54 – right on 3S59
9.9 – go straight then curve left
10.4 – go straight/left
10.8 – at the T make left then quick right, head down power line rd.
11 – veer right continue following the power lines
11.2 go right, continue on this trail and it will take you back to Smokey Bear Flats and eventually the staging area
where the ride ends at 13.2 miles

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Stellar Views

Stellar Views

Map

Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

You read it right.  Double Lollipoop.  A loop within a loop with a lollipop.  We’ve taken the traditional Inyo Craters Loop and thrown some extra mustard on top.  First, we tacked on the Inyo Craters Singletrack at the beginning and end (it’s a ton of fun, and worth riding both ways.)  It’s a win-win.  You cut off a couple miles of bumpy dirt road driving, and you get a fun little section of flowy singletrack as the reward.  Second, we threw in a mini-loop, that has some sandy climbing and descending – and rewards you with some great views before linking back up with the bigger loop. This mini-loop is perfect for a fat bike, but has hike-a-bike spots for mountain bikes.  So now you know why we named it the Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop.  Here are the details to get you riding:

  • Ride Type:  Loop with Lollipop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous with one tough sandy climb
  • 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: 17 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 -3 hours (it’s fairly flat, other than the one steep climb – but it can be sandy in spots)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,552′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,144′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,332′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike, XC Mountain Bike (a little hike-a-bike maybe, but otherwise super fun)

This ride goes around the two Inyo Craters.  If you want to see them and their lakes up close, you’ll need to leave your bike in the main parking area (you pass through it after the beginning singletrack section) and hike up – no bikes allowed.  FYI, these craters 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.  The mini-loop climbs part of the way up Deer Mountain offering more perspective of the area, and of course, more views.  Then you meet back up with the main loop and make your way 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!

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
5.95 notice upper deadman campground on right, obsidian flat campground on left
6.0 go right, then veer left on 3S105 (lower deadman camp is to your right)
6.3 reach a big open area – veer slight right (not the dead end sign)
7.1 veer right at intersection and start the big, soft, annoying climb of the mini-loop
7.85 start short descent, be careful, then keep to the right.  you’ll climb some more, and have some views before descending back to the original trail you rode earlier
8.8 go right at T, rejoining 3S22 – you’ll now re-ride some of what you rode earlier
11.1 go straight (different than the first time you were here)
11.6 go right on 2S29 – then stay on main rd through forest
13.1 go right
14.5 veer right then stay straight towards inyo craters rd
15.1 left at T
15.5 veer left
15.8 right at T climb back to the main parking area, and head right to the singletrack
16.1 enter the singletrack to the right, and head back down to the staging area
17.0 done!!

Inyo Craters Singletrack trailhead

Inyo Craters Singletrack trailhead

Pumice Flat area with views to White Wing Mountain

Pumice Flat area with views to White Wing Mountain

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Ride Map

Ride Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Lower Rock Creek Trail Day – Saturday, Sept. 28th, 2013

Having fun on the third section of Lower Rock Creek

Having fun on the third section of Lower Rock Creek

This year, National Public Lands Day falls on Saturday, September 28th.  To celebrate, we are co-sponsoring a great trail work day on one of our beloved local trails – Lower Rock Creek Mountain Bike Trail.  We are collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Friends of the Inyo, and International Mountain Bike Association.

We need volunteers- especially mountain bikers: So we can prove that we care about our trails, as we try to foster a relationship with land managers in an effort to expand and enhance our riding opportunities in the Inyo National Forest.  This is a great opportunity to give back, and demonstrate solidarity in the mountain biking community.

Fat Bike Mammoth will be providing sandwiches and beverages (beer, soda, water) for lunch.  We are offering shuttles to the top of the trail for anybody that wants to ride the trail after work is done.  So bring your bike and get shreddy!!

We will also be coordinating carpooling efforts by meeting in the Footloose parking lot at 8am, where we’ll sort out transportation, etc.  If you’d like to carpool, please let us know.

Event Details:

  • When: 9/28/13 – Breakfast at 8:30am (bagels and coffee provided).  Trail work from 9a-12:30p
  • Where:  Staging is at the lower parking area of Lower Rock Creek Trail (former Paradise Lodge)
  • What:  We’ll be focusing our efforts on the lowest section – cutting back brush, clearing tread, maintaining wooden bridges, clearing trash, etc.

Other Notes:

  • Water and snacks will be provided (in addition to breakfast and lunch).  Please bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Please wear hiking shoes or boots, long sleeve shirt, and long pants.  If planning to ride your bike after, bring riding clothes to change into, helmet, etc
  • For more info, contact: Kirstin Heins, BLM Recreation Planner: 760-872-5034 / kheins@blm.gov

Click Here to Download the Official Event Flyer

See Ya There!!!


Ride Report: Laurel Lakes Ride – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This ride will kick your ass. If it doesn’t, than you’re not human. In the Summer, it’s one of the toughest climbs in the Eastern Sierra. It’s actually easier to ride on snow than it is on dirt. The road is very loose and rocky and hard as heck to keep traction on in the Summer. Definitely more enjoyable in the Winter. Why do it? It’s beautiful! You’re a nut who loves pain. Once you get over the switchbacks and your in the Laurel Lakes Basin, you’re surrounded by amazing views, most prominently Bloody Couloir. Simply gorgeous.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Brutal climbing for very fit riders
  • Time of Year: All year (as long as OSV’s have packed the snow in the winter, you can ride with a Fat Bike)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Dirt roads and a steep jeep road in Summer/Fall or snow in Winter/Spring
  • Access: From the 395, a couple miles south of Mammoth Lakes, turn off at Sherwin Creek Rd. Park your car here, or drive up Sherwin Creek Rd as far as you can (depending on snow).
  • Length: 9.4 miles from intersection of Sherwin Creek Rd and Laurel Lakes Rd.
  • Approx. Time: 3-4 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but brutal – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,319′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,083′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,764′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike during Summer/Fall or Fat Bike at low psi is the only option for riding this in the snow
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

First off, make sure you’ve got a lot of water and nutrition. You don’t wanna bonk up at 9-10,000′. From wherever you parked, make your way to the Laurel Lakes Rd. turnoff, pictured below. It’s pretty deceiving when you’re there. The climb doesn’t look too steep or long. But once you get riding, you’re like an ant. You better hope the snowmobiles have packed the trail well if riding on snow, and you’re doing it in good conditions, otherwise, you might just wanna do the Sherwin Creek Rd/ Mammoth Creek Rd Loop instead. The first straightaway isn’t to horrible, but once you get to the switchbacks you’ll be sucking for any oxygen you can find. Keep pushing. Once you’re at the top of the switchbacks, the hardest part is over. There’s some flats and a short descent to recover, as you head into the basin. From here, the snowmobile tracks might divert from the road for a bit, just stay with them, and they should get back to the road. It’s a moderate climb with tough shorter punchy bouts mixed in. It’s a grind. Take it as far as the snowmobile tracks will let you. If on dirt, you can go all the way to the Wilderness Boundary at around 4.5 miles. If you can get there, you are a BEAST! Sit down, enjoy your PB&J. Listen to the sounds of nothing but you and your jaw cracking. Life is good. Turn around, and head down before your legs seize and the whole way down you’ll realize why your friends think you’re insane. Because you are. You just climbed 2,700′ on a bike, in only 4.5 miles. Pat self on back.

Sierra Wave Sunrise.

Sierra Wave Sunrise.

Riding up Sherwin Creek Rd to the Laurel Lakes turnoff

Riding up Sherwin Creek Rd to the Laurel Lakes turnoff

Here we go.  This is the start of the end!

Here we go. This is the start of the end!

Looking ahead as you get close to the switchbacks.  Hard to believe that one snowmobile track is all it takes for a bike to get traction on a climb this steep!

Looking ahead as you get close to the switchbacks. Hard to believe that one snowmobile track is all it takes for a bike to get traction on a climb this steep!

The hardest is behind you, but you've still got A long ways to go.  The views of Bloody Couloir should keep you going.

The hardest is behind you, but you’ve still got A long ways to go. The views of Bloody Couloir should keep you going.

Taking a break on the super fun descent down.  Keep your front wheel light!!

Taking a break on the super fun descent down. Keep your front wheel light!!

View from the top of the first set of switchbacks.

View from the top of the first set of switchbacks.

laurel_lakes_map laurel_lakes_elevation


Ride Report: Mammoth Creek / Sherwin Creek Loop

This is probably the best snow biking loop in town if you’re going to choose one ride to do on a fat bike in Winter.  It’s also a mellow Fall/Summer ride on a mountain bike.  It starts with a moderate descent and some flats to warm your legs up on Mammoth Creek Rd .  Then you’ve got a nice, gradual climb back up Sherwin Creek Rd.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty:  Moderate with gradual climbing
  • Time of Year: All year
  • Terrain/Conditions: Summer/Fall – dirt roads, singletrack, bike path.  Winter/Spring – 95% snow, firm OSV & snowshoe packed
  • Access: From town, take Old Mammoth Rd. to Sherwin Creek Rd. (across from Mammoth Creek Park).  Go down Sherwin Creek Rd for 1/2 mile, turn right near the big propane tanks and park here.
  • Length: 10.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5- 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,216′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,872′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 703′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike in Summer/ Fall or Fat Bike in Winter/Spring
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Once you’ve parked, start pedaling back up Sherwin Creek Rd. to Old Mammoth Rd.  Make a right turn, and in 50′ turn right on the Mammoth Creek trail.  Stay on the trail for about 1/2 mile before reaching an intersection.  At the intersection stay right onto Mammoth Creek Rd.  If you go straight, you’ll stay on the town bike path – so make sure to stay right.  Once on Mammoth Creek Rd, it’s a no-brainer.  Continue down the road, while spying the White Mountains straight ahead, and the Sherwins, Laurel Lakes area and Bloody Mountain to the right.  If riding on snow, try to do this ride in the morning while the snow is firm.  It’s pretty exposed and gets sun affected easily.  Once down at the bottom, you get very close to the 395 highway.  Make sure to turn right and continue to the intersection with Sherwin Creek Rd.  Enjoy a mellow climb with more outstanding views.  You’ll pass by the turn-off to the Laurel Lakes Ride on the left.  If you have a death wish, you might want to add this lung-busting ride to your current loop.  If not, continue up past the YMCA camp, into a shaded, tree-lined section.  Once you pop out from the trees, you’ll get views of Mammoth Mountain, Lincoln Mountain, and Mammoth Rock.  Shortly after passing the trailhead for Mammoth Rock Trail on your left, you’ll approach your car, and think to yourself, “FAT BIKES ROCK”.  If you’ve still got gas in your proverbial tank, try adding on The Meadows Ride.  You might also consider doing the Meadows Ride first as a warmup.

sherwin_mammoth_creek_map sherwin_mammoth_creek_profile

Taking a break on Sherwin Creek Rd.

Taking a break on Sherwin Creek Rd.


Ride Report: Snow Biking Old Mammoth Rd.

Looking for a quick cardio workout that’s easy to access?  Here ya go.  A one mile sustained climb, takes you up to Lake Mary Rd., where unfortunately you have to turn back.  Lake Mary Rd is groomed, so off limits to fat bikes.  Hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to link this ride with much more terrain.  However, for now, catch your breath, admire the views, and enjoy the fun descent back to your car.

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty:  Moderate (one strenuous climb)
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% snow, firm OSV packed, softening up from the sun
  • Time since last snowfall: More than one week
  • Month & Ride Start Time:  February, 1:15pm
  • Temperature: 50 degrees
  • Access: From town, take Old Mammoth Rd. until the road closure and snow is not cleared anymore (near the intersectoin of La Verne St.)  Park off to the side.
  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1/2 hour – 45 minutes
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,845′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,360′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 385′
  • Bike Recommendation:  Fat Bike

There really is no “warmup” on this ride.  You start pedaling off the get go.  About a 1/4 mile in, you turn left and the pitch increases as you reach the “Mammoth Rock Trail” trailhead (one of the best dirt singletrack mtb trails in the summer).  Depending on how much snowshoe traffic it’s seen, you might be able to ride out on it a little bit, and catch some amazing views of town, Snowcreek, The White Mountains, The Sherwins, and Mammoth Rock.  Once you get back on Old Mammoth Rd, keep climbing!!  There’s a big switchback (you’ll see the sign for the Panorama Dome Trail– another great summer mtb ride- both this and Mammoth Rock Trail are a part of the Mammoth Lakes Big Friggin Loop) before it straightens out again, and the pitch mellows for the final climb to Lake Mary Rd.

*Note:  Sometimes the snowmobiles carve a direct, steeper path cutting off the big switchback as well as another trail staying on the road.  Usually it’s best to stay on the road climbing up, but come down the direct route, cutting off the switchback on the descent.  It’s a little more fun.

This route is frequented by snowmobiles (thanks for packing it down), snowshoers, hikers, and nordic skiers.  So, please be on your best behavior, and yield to everybody.  You can link this ride with The Meadows Ride to get some more mileage.  You’ll just have to ride all the way up Old Mammoth Rd. on pavement, which is kind of a bummer.

old_mammoth_rd_map old_mammoth_rd_profile

Parked at the big switchback, with Mammoth Rock in the background.

Parked at the big switchback, with Mammoth Rock in the background.


Ride Report: Snow Biking The Meadows Behind Snowcreek

This is a great introductory ride for novice fat bikers.  It’s also very easy to access, since it’s right in town.  It’s short and relatively flat, and is a great chance to get used to the bike, as well as getting other user groups used to our presence.  You get some beautiful views of Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Rock, and The Sherwins.  Lots of people walk their dogs and hike around here, so please be friendly and yield to other user groups at all times.  There are usually a few snowmobile tracks to ride in, so pick one and have fun!

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty:  Easy
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% snow, firm OSV packed, softening up from the sun
  • Time since last snowfall: More than one week
  • Month & Ride Start Time:  February, 2:00pm
  • Temperature: 52 degrees
  • Access: From town, take Old Mammoth Rd. to Sherwin Creek Rd. (across from Mammoth Creek Park).  Go down Sherwin Creek Rd for 1/2 mile, turn right near the big propane tanks and park here.
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1/2 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,514′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,651′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 165
  • Bike Recommendation:  Fat Bike

This is a big multi-use open space.  There is no real “trail head” in the winter – just snowmobile tracks.  Once you leave your car, look towards Mammoth Mountain to get your bearings.  Following with your eyes to the left, you’ll see the prominent Mammoth Rock poking out of the Sherwin Range.  You’re going to ride in the general direction of Mammoth Rock (southwest), using whatever snowmobile track you can get behind.  Close to a mile into your ride, you’ll climb a short hill and wind up at a wooden gate.  You’ll see a bunch of homes ahead and also where the Snowcreek Golf Course is viewable in warmer months.  This is your turn around point (don’t enter Snowcreek Private Property).  Go back the way you came with views of the White Mountains, and a smile on your face.  By this point, you’ll probably be dreaming of some longer fat bike adventures!  If you’re in good shape and yearning for more, think about linking this up with either the Mammoth Creek/Sherwin Creek Loop, or the Old Mammoth Rd. Ride.  Yahoo!

meadows_snowcreek_elevation meadows_snowcreek_map

Views of Mammoth Mountain and Lincoln Mountain from the viewpoint at the top of the short climb.

Views of Mammoth Mountain and Lincoln Mountain from the viewpoint at the turn around point.


Ride Report: McGee Canyon near Mammoth Lakes, CA

If you’re in the mood for a moderate ride with magical alpine scenery, this fits the bill. In the Summer, this is a boring paved & gravel road ride, but with snow on the road, it’s actually fun. Snowmobiles travel the route often, so conditions tend to be pretty favorable to fat bikes.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate with some gradual climbing
  • Time of Year: All year – it is a great fat biking ride when the snow has been packed by snowmobiles
  • Terrain/Conditions: Paved and gravel roads in Summer/Fall, snow-covered roads in Winter/Spring
  • Access: From Mammoth Lakes Junction of Hwy 203 and 395, head south on 395 for 9 miles to the McGee Creek exit. Go west across Crowley Lake Dr. and park off the road (or where the road stops being plowed in Winter/Spring)
  • Length: 6.6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1-2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,000′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,050′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,100′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike or Fat Bike for snowy conditions
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

The ride starts with a subtle climb to get your blood flowing, and starts to steepen after 1/4 mile. The next mile is the toughest slog of the ride, so power through it. After going around a big “S” curve, the pitch lessens slightly, and you arrive at the McGee Creek Campground around 1.5 miles. Look around at the beautiful peaks and glacial moraines as you continue a steady climb up to the McGee Pack Station. The pavement ends here (not that you’d know because you’re riding on snow!!). Keep heading up the road until you reach a large kiosk. This is the McGee Creek trailhead, and the end of the ride for you. Bicycles and vehicles of any kind are prohibited past the Wilderness Boundary. You’ll notice the snowmobile tracks end here. So take a moment, soak it in, and head back down a beautiful descent. You get great views of the White Mountains and Crowley Lake. Enjoy.

mcgee_elevation_profile mcgee_map

About 1.5 miles into the ride - McGee Campground. Amazing views abound.

About 1.5 miles into the ride – McGee Campground. Amazing views abound.

Mountainous views through my Holy Rolling Daryl wheels.

Mountainous views through my Holy Rolling Daryl wheels.

Looking back towards the 395 highway. 360 degree views on this ride.

Looking back towards the 395 highway. 360 degree views on this ride.


Winter Snow Biking Not Allowed on Groomed Trails in Mammoth

Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

As many of my friends know, I bought a Salsa Mukluk in November and have ridden around 300 miles so far… basically all over Mammoth with it.  I guess ignorance is bliss.  I assumed “multi-use” trails had similar rules in the Winter as they do in the Summer.  Especially since I’ve been reading and watching videos of how other states are embracing these bikes and Nordic Ski Resorts have been allowing them to share groomed trails as well (which means their local land managers – i.e. USFS, BLM, etc are allowing biking to be included with their special use permit).  In fact, I watched this video a couple months ago, where a US Forest Service Representative talks about how their trails in the Teton Range are multi-use with bicycles now legal, and everybody is in harmony. 

But not yet here in Mammoth.  Unfortunately, “no wheeled vehicles” are allowed on…

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