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

Posts tagged “lower rock creek

Ride Report: Wagon Wheel Trail – Near Mammoth Lakes, CA

Wagon Wheel Trail is a fun little piece of trail that descends rapidly from Swall Meadows Rd. until it connects with Lower Rock Creek Rd.  As the name suggests, it used to be an old wagon trail that has deteriorated over the years.  It can get loose and sandy in sections.  There are also extended sections of slickrock and various rock gardens that make this very fun on a full suspension rig.  Not many people climb it, but if you’re a climber who likes some technical challenge with a bunch of fun slickrock step-ups, give it a shot both ways.  Most people connect it with the Sand Canyon Trail to add a little more descending and mileage. Since it’s only 2 miles, and it’s over pretty quickly, it’s not usually ridden on its own.  It’s often gets overlooked by the nearby Lower Rock Creek Trail, but if you’re shuttling LRC, it’s worth it to hit Wagon Wheel either before or after, since you drive right by it.

  • Ride Type: Point to Point – as described here
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/advanced descending skills required. Some technical rock gardens and sandy sections.
  • Time of Year: Late Spring (once snow melts off), Summer and Fall – sometimes rideable during Winter as well, depending on snow pack.
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly singletrack, with some deteriorated doubletrack.
  • Access: Heading south on Lower Rock Creek Road (also called Old Sherwin Grade on some maps), turn right on Swall Meadows Rd.  Drive approximately 0.15 miles and there will be a dirt pullout on your left.  The trail starts here.  It is unsigned.
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 10-20 minutes
  • Lowest Elevation: 5,274′
  • Highest Elevation: 6,192′
  • Total Elevation Loss: 879′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a fat bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – No directions for this one.  Simply stay on the trail until it ends by merging with Lower Rock Creek Rd. after 2 miles.  If your shuttle ride is waiting for you, jump in.  Otherwise, ride back up the road, or if your lungs and legs are up for it, ride back up the trail.

Wagon Wheel Map.

Wagon Wheel Map.

Wagon Wheel Elevation Profile.

Wagon Wheel Elevation Profile.

A dusk ride down Wagon Wheel Trail.  Gorgeous views to Round Valley and the Tungsten Hills near Bishop.

A dusk ride down Wagon Wheel Trail. Gorgeous views to Round Valley and the Tungsten Hills near Bishop.


Ride Report: Sand Canyon Trail near Mammoth Lakes, CA

Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail is a gem that often gets overlooked by the nearby Lower Rock Creek Trail.  The trail is accessed from Rock Creek Lake.  After a tough 500′ climb over 1.3 miles, you reach the official trailhead.  This is some of the highest mountain bike riding in the Eastern Sierras.  From here, it’s pretty much a bomber 4,000′ descent with great views in every direction.  It’s mostly jeep road, and very sandy at times, some creek crossings thrown in.  There’s one or two tough climbs, but mostly it’s, down, down, down.  It will definitely put a grin on your face.  If you’re in the mood to explore and climb more, you can take the Wheeler Crest Out and Back about 4 miles into the ride.  You can also include the Swall Canyon Trail, Wagon Wheel Trail, and the above mentioned Lower Rock Creek Trail for an epic day in the saddle. The most popular way to do Sand Canyon is by shuttling it (as described here).  However, hard core riders can choose to do the Sand Canyon Loop, including the 4,000′ pavement climb up to Rock Creek Lake.  There is also a way to get to the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail via dirt.

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:  Point to Point / Shuttle
  • Difficulty: Advanced descending skills 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: Mostly doubletrack/ jeep road with some singletrack
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car at the intersection of Swall Meadows Road and Lower Rock Creek Road.  From Mammoth, take Highway 395 south approximately 20 miles.  Lower Rock Creek Rd. is your exit (just after Toms Place – which is great for post ride grub and libations).  Once you exit, drive 4 miles to the intersection of Swall Meadows Road and Lower Rock Creek Road.  Park one car here.  Then drive back up Lower Rock Creek Road to Highway 395.  Go north for one exit to Tom’s Place.  Drive up Rock Creek road for 8.5 miles and make a left at Rock Creek Lake Campground.  Drive about 1/2 mile and park.  Ride about .2 miles farther to the campground host.  Across from the host, there’s a green gate.  The ride commences here.
  • Length: 12.8 miles to your car (12.6 to Wagon Wheel Trailhead)
  • Approx. Time: 1-2 hours, maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 6,394′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,224′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 530′ (497′ over first 1.3 miles)
  • Total Elevation Loss: 3,841′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a Fat Bike too
  • 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 a road that’s tame at first, then becomes rocky and steep as it passes by some cabins.

.20 – go left after a group of cabins when the road splits.  Then make another quick left and keep climbing

.54 – a trail joins in from the left (see photo below of the sign with Wheeler Crest, Kenneth Lake) – stay straight and keep climbing.  Breathe!

.72 – 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

1.3 – you’ve reached the official trail sign/ start of Sand Canyon Mountain Bike Trail.  Sip some water and get ready to grin.  stay on the main trail

2.1– cross the creek

4.1 – 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.

7.0 – stay on the main trail and rip the descent down the canyon – yahoo!!

8.4 – cross a small creek and then climb for a while

9.4 – reach an intersection at Witcher Meadow.  continue on the main road, veer right and head down steep road towards a creek.

10.8– go right at the split on 5S08 towards Swall Meadows 11.6 – go left on Sky Meadow Ranch dirt road 12.1 – go left on Swall Meadows Rd

12.8 – arrive at your car at the intersection with Lower Rock Creek Rd

Sand Canyon Map

Sand Canyon Map

Sand Canyon Elevation Profile

Sand Canyon Elevation Profile

Fall colors on the climb up to Sand Canyon Trail

Fall colors on the climb up to Sand Canyon Trail

Trail sign during the tough climb at the beginning of the ride

Trail sign during the tough climb at the beginning of the ride

View back to Rock Creek Lake as you near the top of the initial tough climb

View back to Rock Creek Lake as you near the top of the initial tough climb

Sand Canyon Trail Sign - here is where the fun begins!

Sand Canyon Trail Sign – here is where the fun begins!


Ride Report: Lower Rock Creek Trail

Lower Rock Creek Trail is considered by many to be the BEST mountain biking trail in the Eastern Sierra.  The first two sections are comprised of slithering cross country singletrack that weaves it’s way through aspen groves and some rocky terrain while paralleling the creek.  The third/ final section is more technically demanding, requiring more advanced DH skills to navigate a few technical sections (these sections can easily be walked for more novice riders).  The most popular way to do the complete ride is by shuttling it (as described here).  However, hard core riders can choose to ride it as an out and back, climbing the entire trail from the bottom and then descending back the way they came.  Another popular option is to climb the paved Lower Rock Creek Rd from Paradise and then descend the trail, making a loop.  If you don’t feel like doing the whole ride, or don’t want to attempt the more technical 3rd section, you can alter your ride to just do section one, or one and two, etc – there is parking at the top of section one, top of section two and top of section three as well.

A few notes about the trail – it’s very popular with hikers and fisherman and obviously other mountain bikers.  There are many blind turns.  Be aware, and don’t speed out of control.  It’s mostly ridden downhill, but it is 100% legal for riders to climb it – so remember the uphill riders always have the right of way (as do hikers).  If you have the chance to ride this trail in September/October when the colors are turning it’s absolutely majestic!!!  Stay safe and have fun!!!

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point, as described (although there are many other options as mentioned above)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced descending skills required.  Some technical/ rock gardens and exposed sections with steep drop offs – mainly on the 3rd/final section.  If climbing, it is very strenuous.
  • Time of Year: Late Spring, Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% singletrack
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car by the lower trailhead at Paradise.  From Mammoth, take Highway 395 south approximately 20 miles.  Lower Rock Creek Rd. is your exit (just after Toms Place – which is great for post ride grub and libations).  Shortly after exiting, you’ll see a dirt parking area to your right.  Just across the road to the left is the trailhead for the start of the ride (top of section one).  You’ll be coming back up here to start the ride.  For now, keep driving all the way down Lower Rock Creek Rd.  You’ll pass the parking areas for section two and three, and continue through Swall Meadows and down to Paradise where the bottom trailhead is with a brand new parking area and kiosk.  It’s about 10 miles driving down Lower Rock Creek Rd. from where you turned off the 395.  You can see many sections of the trail on your drive which should get you fired up for the great ride to come.  Once you drop a car at the bottom, head back up the way you came to the top parking area.
  • Length: 8 miles (one way, all three sections)
  • Approx. Time: 45 – 90 minutes (downhill only) – maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 4,954′
  • Highest Elevation: 6,876′
  • Total Elevation Loss: 1,923′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a Fat Bike too
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • More Info: Visit the MTB Project Page

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions for this ride, as it’s only one singletrack trail.  After 2.2 miles, you finish the first section and must cross the road and turn right (uphill), and climb up 50 yards to reach the trailhead for section two on your left.  Section two is about 1 mile long.  Then you cross the road again, and the trailhead for section three is about 20 yards down the road on your left.  Section three is about 4.8 miles to the bottom.

Lower Rock Creek Trail Map

Lower Rock Creek Trail Map

Lower Rock Creek Elevation Profile

Lower Rock Creek Elevation Profile

Trailhead sign at the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail

Trailhead sign at the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail

Tasty singletrack and fall colors in an aspen grove on the first section

Tasty singletrack and fall colors in an aspen grove on the first section

More beauty on the Lower Rock Creek Trail

More beauty on the Lower Rock Creek Trail

A fast portion of the third section

A fast portion of the third section

Navigating a small rock garden on the third section

Navigating a small rock garden on the third section

 

 


Lower Rock Creek Trail Day – SUCCESS

This year, National Public Lands Day fell on Sept. 28th.  We had the opportunity to collaborate with USFS, BLM, Friends of the Inyo, and IMBA to do some much needed trail work on the bottom section of Lower Rock Creek Mountain Bike Trail.  Lots of awesome people showed up, chomped on bagels, donned work gloves, grabbed McLeod’s and loppers, and got working.  In addition to a ton of brush clearing work, tread was improved in a few areas (the non-technical parts), and rotting bridges were repaired.  The trail was so overgrown in parts that you could not see the line at all, and a couple low-hanging branches were poised to bang your noggin (unless you’ve got wicked bike limbo skills).  All in all, the trail is gonna be riding much better now…

Anyhoo, after all the sweat and toil, sandwiches were devoured and washed down with a keg of Paranoids Pale Ale that Mammoth Brewing Company was so generous to donate.

Thank you to everybody that put this event on, and all the volunteers that spent their Saturday with us.  You Rock!! Can’t wait for the next one…

#ridebikeswithfriends

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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!!!