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Posts tagged “june lake

Ride Report: Gull Lake Loop – June Lake, CA

If you are new to mountain biking, or want to take a short ride while spending the day in the beautiful town of June Lakes, this is a great ride for anyone.  It’s mostly fantastic singletrack, offering up nice views of Gull Lake and the June Mountain Ski Area, and even slithers its way through a small aspen grove. This loop can be done in both directions, but the trailhead near Gull Lake Park is easier to find for your first time – so counter-clockwise is how we describe it here.  It’s mostly flat, with just a couple short/steep efforts.  If you’re looking for more riding nearby,  check out the Yost Trail.  While in town, don’t forget to grab a beer at June Lake Brewing and a kailua pig burrito from Ohanas – just a couple blocks from Gull Lake.

  • 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 Winter or Spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth singletrack with a little doubletrack and a short stretch of pavement through the campground.
  • Access: From Mammoth, take Highway 395 north for 20 miles to the southern turnoff for the June Lake Loop (Hwy 158).  Drive for a little over 2 miles, through town.  You’ll see signs for Gull Lake leading you down to the right.  Once you reach Gull Lake Park on Granite Avenue, park by the tennis courts and the playground.  The trailhead / ride start is directly across the street where you see the trail going steeply up the hillside.
  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1/2 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,623′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,711′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 103′
  • 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 – Start up the steep climb.  Don’t be discouraged.  It looks like a long hard climb, but after 20 yards you make a left turn and it flattens out.
0.5 – Continue straight, merging with the doubletrack trail, and heading up a short climb.
0.7 – Go left on the singletrack
1.0 – Reach an intersection with a fire road. Continue straight (you must curve to the right for 10 feet).  After a short stretch, you’ll reach a blockade that only allows bikes and hikers.  Descend here, and then go right at the T.
1.2 – Veer left at trail split, go over the bridge and pop out on pavement.  Continue on the road to the left, taking you through the campground.
1.5 – The pavement turns to dirt and you pass a bunch of cabins. Continue straight on the dirt road.
1.7 – The wide dirt road narrows to singletrack.
1.8 – Go left, staying on singletrack.  After a short, windy section, you emerge in the Gull Lake Marina parking lot.  Continue riding straight out of the parking lot.  It turns into Granite Ave.
1.9 – Turn left, staying on Granite Ave.  The park is on your left, and the loop is complete.  Do it again!!

Gull Lake Loop - Map

Gull Lake Loop – Map

Gull Lake Loop - Elevation Profile

Gull Lake Loop – Elevation Profile

A gorgeous view of Gull Lake and the surrounding mountains.

A gorgeous view of Gull Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Some fast flowy singletrack through the meadow.

Some fast flowy singletrack through the meadow.

A fun, twisty section through a small aspen grove.

A fun, twisty section through a small aspen grove.

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Ride Report: Sagehen Summit Loop – near June Lake, CA

This loop is an oldie but goodie that we originally came across in the guidebook – “Mountain Biking the Eastern Sierra’s 100 Best Trails”.  The tread is 4×4  doubletrack and dirt roads (with a short bit of pavement at the end) and tends to be soft and sandy in spots.  Although it can be frustrating at times on a mountain bike, it is very enjoyable on a fat bike.  It’s hard for me to imagine mountain bike pioneers doing rides like this in the early 90’s.  But it’s definitely motivating, imagining them slogging through some of the beachy bits as my fattie floats over everything 🙂

From Highway 120, you climb steadily towards Sagehen Peak, and roll through a beautiful aspen grove (stunning when the fall colors are turning).  There are marvelous views of Adobe Valley and the Glass Mountain Ridge and you can see all the way to the White Mountains as you start curving eastbound.  When you turn north and descend into the valley, the views are again outstanding as you make your way across North Canyon Creek towards the last pavement climb back to your car.  If you are seeking some stellar, buff singletrack, you will not get that on this ride.  However, if you are in search of solitude and some of the amazing views that define Eastern Sierra adventure riding, this ride will please you and then some.  

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-technical, moderately strenuous climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in late Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: 4×4 roads and dirt roads (soft/sandy in sections) with the last 2.6 miles on pavement.
  • Access: From Lee Vining, head 5 miles south on Highway 395 to the Junction with Hwy 120 towards Benton.  Drive past the Mono Mills historic site and continue all the way to the top of Sagehen Summit (there is a sign).  Park off on the dirt at the junction with froad 1N02.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 17.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,283′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,031′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,896′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or Plus Bike (29er or 27.5 with 3″ tires).  You can do it on a traditional mountain bike as well, but it’s not as enjoyable through the sandy sections, and you might be hiking your bike at times.
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading south on the wide dirt road 1N02 towards Sagehen Meadows.  You’ll have a gradual climb with some steeper bits mixed in.
4.0 – Reach the high point of the ride.  Yahoo.  Get some rest on the peaceful descent towards Wild Horse Meadow.
4.5 – Stay on 1N02 towards Johnny Meadows.  You’ll stay on 1N02, continuing past the junction with Johnny Meadows Rd
7.9 – Left on 1N02T
8.1 – After a short descent, go left at the T. You are now on 29E104 (called 29E03 on older maps).
10.0 – Continue straight, the road turns into 1S15A
11.8 – Creek crossing
13.3 – Continue straight
13.9 – Another creek crossing, then continue straight passed the old corral
14.6 – Go left on Hwy 120, and enjoy the final pavement climb back to Sagenhen Summit.
17.2 – Ride ends.  Drink beer.

Sagehen Summit Loop - Map

Sagehen Summit Loop – Map

Saghen Summit Loop - Elevation Profile

Saghen Summit Loop – Elevation Profile

A quick stop in Sagehen Meadows before continuing towards Sagehen Peak (visible to the left).

A quick stop in Sagehen Meadows before continuing towards Sagehen Peak (visible to the left).

Great views of the valleys near the Glass Mountains.

Great views of the valleys near the Glass Mountains.

Taking a quick break before continuing towards Johnny Meadows.

Taking a quick break before continuing towards Johnny Meadows.

Views towards Granite Mountain and Cowtrack Mountain with the Bodie Hills beyond.

Views towards Granite Mountain and Cowtrack Mountain.


Ride Report: Moraines and Meadows Loop – Lee Vining, CA

This is one of the earliest “signed” USFS bike routes in the region.  These days, it’s rarely ridden and not many people even know it exists.  Did you know about this ride?  It’s mainly double-track and 4×4 roads, but this is still one heck of a rewarding ride!  Right off the bat, you get a great perspective of Mono Lake and Paoha Island as you wrap around to the south and get your legs warmed up.  Before long, you turn east, and start climbing toward Lower and Upper Horse Meadows.  Although this is a long, strenuous climb (as the elevation profile below will attest to), you get majestic views of the Dana Plateau and Mt. Gibbs to help you forget about your lungs and legs yelling at you.  Eventually, this climb ends and you turn to the south.  Now you’re stung with views of June Mountain as you start to drop.  Your climbing efforts are mostly done by this point.  As you wrap around Williams Butte, views of the Mono Basin hug you as you return every foot of elevation you took earlier.  You’ve gotta ride through a junkyard of sorts, before making the short climb back towards you car, and you’re done.  Good work!   Also close by are the Bennettville Ride, Saddlebag Lake Trail and the Log Cabin Mine Loop if you’re up for more riding. 

  • Ride Type:  Lollipop (loop with short out and back)
  • Difficulty: Non-technical, moderately strenuous with one sustained climbing effort
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Doubletrack, 4×4 roads
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and 395 at Mammoth Lakes, drive north on the 395 for 25 miles.  Exit and go left on Highway 120/ Tioga Pass.  Drive 0.9 miles and look for an interpretive kiosk with a dirt parking area to your left.  If you look closely, you’ll also see an old Forest Service sign for the “Moraines and Meadows” ride.  Park here.  *Note: Mobil Mart (open seasonally) is a great spot for post-ride grub, and you pass right by it at the junction of the 395/120.
  • Length: 11.9 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 6,769′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,898′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,484′
  • Bike Recommendation:  Any off-road bike.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start eastbound and down on Highway 120, back towards Highway 395. Ride on the dirt just to the right of the road.  The dirt will start to curve right and turn into a pronounced double track.
0.2 – Veer right at the merger with a wider dirt road, 1N15 – You’ll have a mellow warm-up climb as you get some views of Mono Lake and Paoha Island.
1.8 – After passing some trailer homes, and possibly some sketchy barking dogs, you reach the junction at Horse Meadows Rd.  Go right and shift to an easy gear.  You’ve got some climbing ahead!
2.4 – Continue straight towards Horse Meadows and ride through Lower Horse Meadows.
3.6 – Pass a cool rock formation on left.  Get ready for the steepest section of the climb.
4.2 – Summit the tough climb, continue going straight.
4.4 – Make a sharp left turn on 1N06.  Continue climbing.
4.6 – Veer right at the intersection, continue up.  You’re almost to the high point as views to the south start to open up.
6.4 – Continue straight.
7.3 – Stay straight on 1N18
7.9 – Pass a junkyard and the dirt turns to pavement for a bit.
8.5 – Go straight on the dirt, (don’t curve right on the pavement)
9.8 – Go left on 1N16
10.1 – Go right, and retrace your steps back to the car
11.9 – Finish.  Nice job!
Moraines and Meadows Ride - Map.

Moraines and Meadows Ride – Map.

Moraines and Meadows Ride - Elevation Profile.

Moraines and Meadows Ride – Elevation Profile.

The old trailhead sign, which could use some TLC.

The old trailhead sign, which could use some TLC.

Close up of the map on the old sign - as of now, this map has deteriorated and is no longer there.

Close up of the map on the old sign – as of now, this map has deteriorated and is no longer there.

Mt. Dana and Mt. Gibbs greet you as you enter Lower Horse Meadows.

Mt. Dana and Mt. Gibbs greet you as you enter Lower Horse Meadows.

These signs are rare on these old rides - reminding you to take it easy just before a steep descent on a remote part of the ride.

These signs are rare on these old rides – reminding you to take it easy just before a steep descent on a remote part of the ride.

In the middle of the long, fun descent.  Stopping to take in the views of... blah blah

In the middle of the long, fun descent. Stopping to take in the views of the Mono Basin.

Keep an eye out for these signs and the route is pretty easy to follow.

Keep an eye out for these signs and the route is pretty easy to follow.


Ride Report: Obsidian Dome Loop near June Lake, CA

This ride can be a sandy mess. There are a couple of sections that actually look more like sand dunes than a bike trail.  With that caveat, it’s still worthwhile… even without a fat bike.  Of course,  it’s most enjoyable on a fat bike 🙂  There is no singletrack – it’s pretty much all jeep roads and wide graded dirt roads.  Ok, so what’s the upside?   You do get some nice views and a chance to get up close and personal with Obsidian Dome as you ride all the way around it.  Black, volcanic glass is abound on the 300′ high, mile-wide “dome”.  It’s worth laying your bike down and hiking to the top of the dome.  I wouldn’t necessarily travel to this are just for this ride.  There are many other trails within a 5-10 10 minute drive.  For example:  Yost Meadows Trail, Hartley Springs Loop, and Bald Mountain Ride are all close by.   If you are making the journey out to the area, you might wanna give one or more of those a try as well.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty:  Easy technically, with a couple tough climbs in sandy terrain (dependant on OHV use)
  • Time of Year:  Summer and Fall (possibly late spring depending on snowfall)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly doubletrack/ jeep roads with some very sandy sections
  • Access: From Mammoth, go north on Highway 395 for 11 miles.  Turn left on Obsidian Dome Rd (across from Bald Mountain Rd).  Park in the dirt area near the kiosk.
  • Length: 7.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1-2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,856′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,352′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 776′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike is best and makes the sandy terrain fun, but any mountain bike will do.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Ride start.  Go straight, heading west on 2s10 (Obsidian Dome Rd.)
0.7 – Head left on 2s107.  Enjoy a short, fun descent before it flattens out and gets sandy.  Fat bikes eat it up, mountain bikes suffer.
Sandy crap fat bike style
2.0 – Reach a USFS kiosk with a map.  Go straight on 2s11 and start climbing.
2.5 – Veer right at the intersection.  You’ll start to get some nice views here as you ride towards Obsidian Dome.
4.2 – Hardest sandy climb of the ride
4.7 – Turns into 2s79.  Climb for a bit, then pass the Obsidian Dome Parking Area and the road widens and becomes well graded.  Descend back to your car.
7.2 – End of ride.

Obsidian Dome Loop - Map

Obsidian Dome Loop – Map

Obsidian Dome Loop - Elevation Profile

Obsidian Dome Loop – Elevation Profile

This is a wide open, gorgeous area.  Even though it's pretty flat, it feels like you're climbing because it's so soft and sandy.

This is a wide open, gorgeous area. Even though it’s pretty flat, it feels like you’re climbing because it’s so soft and sandy.

A great section of the ride where you're right next to the Obsidian Dome

A great section of the ride where you’re right next to the Obsidian Dome


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