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Posts tagged “mammoth

Caldera 250/500 – Usher is IN!

The Caldera 250/500 start list is blowing up.  I’ve you’re registered, check your email – we just sent out the GPX tracks and cue sheets.  If you didn’t get it, shoot us en email.

20+ people have already indicated their desire to seek the pain cave in the endorphin forest.  And we’ve hit the mainstream!  Who woulda thunk that bikepacking would cross over to hip hop icons and teeny bopper heart throbs.  Usher just hit me up and said he’s gonna crush the 250 and is training hard right now.  He said he’s even gonna work some lyrics into his next single… “What up Habeggar, zig zaggin Coyote Traverse, lungs implodin, best bring a nurse, better yet a hearse don’t need no baggage I’m packin, not heat, just 4 liters, try to step i dare ya, i’ll make you my biatch Caldera…”

Also, Taylor Lautner said he’s gonna do the full 500 to get in shape before the filming of Twilight 7 in October.

60k of climbing ain't ish

60k of climbing ain’t ish

So yeah..  if you haven’t registered, get on the list.  Only registered folks will receive gpx, cues, and official updates.  Here’s some more general route info and other stuff:

  • Stats and Scoop – The 250 is identical to the 500 until it splits apart towards the end of the Glass Mtn Traverse and makes its way back to Mammoth.  Topofusion is telling us these stats:
    • 500 = 480 miles, 65k climbing
    • 250 = 256, 31k climbing
  • Bears – always a potential concern in the Sierra, so bring some paracord to hang food if you’re camping in a potential bear zone – or at least sleep away from your food.  Otherwise, nippy dogs or grumpy bulls are probably a bigger threat.
  • Toughest sections – Probably Coyote climb, Volcanic Tablelands to Bodie, and the Sweetwaters/Mt. Patterson climb
  • Longest stretch without water/resupply – Volcanic Tablelands to end of the Glass Mtn traverse — that’s one tough section with only a water tank for sheep at the start of the Glass climb and a creek in Taylor Canyon or Adobe Creek.  Camel skills required.
  • Water filter – definitely.  Lots of natural water opportunities on most of the route, and in some places, your only option.  CARRY A FILTER.
  • Terrain – lots of climbing, lots of descending.  Mostly doubletrack, some stellar singletrack, some fireroad miles, and not so much pavement.  Volcanic dirt in spots, soft and moto’d out in spots, which leads to…
  • Bikes/tires – run whatcha brung – but fat tires are good.  2.35-2.5’s seem good – my 29+ is gobbling it up.  so yummy.  comfy hiking shoes = important.
  • As always, feel free to contact us at any time, for any reason 🙂

Fun in the Summer – Calendar, Updates, ETC

mountainbike

Man, it’s so fun seeing all the mtb buzz in town this week for natty’s and all summer long – hope everybody is enjoying it!!  Here is some important stuff – spread the word:

1.  TODAY/TONIGHT (tuesday, 7/14) – High School MTB “Ride With a Pro” followed by pizza and Singletrack High Movie Screening.  Register at Canyon Lodge 3-4pm, ride from 4-5:30 followed by pizza and screening up at Grizzly Theatre.  FREE for all kids ages 10-18.  please spread the word to anyone you know with kids – lets get them out there on bikes and get stoked to ride!!
2.  good luck to everybody racing in Natty’s – i’ve got two words for ya: GET SOME!
 
3.  Sierra 7500 Redux – 27 and 50 mile course — registration is open and free, we’ve got a handful of people signed up already – this ride will get you fit!!.  Click here to join the madness on August 16th.
4.  Caldera 250/500 Update — I’ve been fielding a bunch of emails lately about gpx, cues, etc — everything is pretty much done for both routes – gonna be finalizing in the next couple of weeks.  I’ll write up a detailed blog post with much more info soon – it’s happening yo!!
5.  Mammoth Lakes Big Friggin Loop – mark your calendars now for Sept 6th.  the best 50 mile loop of Mammoth singletrack is back.  new for this year – the “Mini Friggin Loop” – still finalizing it – but if 50 is too much for ya, this will be a great route.  We’ll cut down some of the stuff in shady rest, and lose the san joaquin ridge climb, etc – goal is to make it around 25-30 keeping all the best elements… stay tuned…
calendar of upcoming local riding –
ride hard, smile harder.

 


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.


Ride Report: Little Antelope Valley Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a strenuous loop that is just across the highway from Mammoth Lakes.  If you are looking for something different, want to give your lungs some work, and enjoy serenity with outstanding views – give this ride a shot.  If this ride is intriguing to you, but you want something a little shorter – try the Casa Diablo Overlook Ride – it’s very similar.  You can also tack on a little more climbing to this ride by including the short (but steep) out and back to the Casa Diablo Overlook.  If you want an epic day in the saddle, Big Smokey Loop and Little Smokey Loop connect with this route as well.  Confused?  Contact us and we’ll dial in a ride to suit you.

The Little Antelope Valley loop has three main climbs, and each is rewarded with spectacular views and smiley descents.  You start with a mild climb to get your blood pumping as you make your way around the backside of the the local geothermal plant.  As described in the Casa Diablo Overlook Ride, this is where Casa Diablo once existed.  From there, you continue climbing towards Little Antelope Valley before a speedy descent towards the valley floor.  You’re greeted with views to the Chalk Bluffs and Long Valley Caldera as you descend.  You then head south and climb some more, before the views open up again and you descend on the west side of the Hot Creek Gorge (should be short for “gorge”ous).  After making your way past an active geothermal pool (“The Jacuzzi) one last climb awaits.  The ride finishes with a short but sweet section of rarely ridden singletrack.  This last piece of ST is mostly rideable, but you’ll probably have to dismount once or twice – during a tight switchback and some techy bits.  Next thing you know, you’re back at the car wishing you took more photos.

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
  • 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: 14.7 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,070′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,727′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,782′
  • 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.

Little Antelope Valley  Loop - Map.

Little Antelope Valley Loop – Map.

Little Antelope Valley Loop - Elevation Profile.

Little Antelope Valley Loop – Elevation Profile.

Antelope Valley Road covered in some fresh snow.

Antelope Valley Road covered in some fresh snow.

One of the many fantastic views to Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest.

One of the many fantastic views to Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest.

A little geothermal well we've named "The Jacuzzi" that you'll pass along this route.

A little geothermal well we’ve named “The Jacuzzi” that you’ll pass along this route.

Hunter enjoying some of glorious views along the Little Antelope Valley Loop.

Hunter enjoying some of glorious views along the Little Antelope Valley Loop.


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: The Double High Five Y

Everybody’s first response to this one is, “Huh?”

This is a great ride for climbers and endurance nuts that want to earn some great turns.  You’ve gotta be game for some lung punishment.

Its a fairly easy route to navigate, since it’s a combo platter of three classic out-and-back rides: Mountain View Trail, Starkweather Trail, and Hard Core Trail.  Starkweather and Hard Core are 5 miles each and Mountain View makes the stem of the “Y” (see the map below) – Hence the weird name.   With 3,600′ of climbing over 22 miles, it doesn’t matter what you call it – it’s a mini epic that’s worth every penny of sweat equity.  ** Note: Starkweather Trail is seasonal – so make sure it’s legal before hand.

  • Ride Type:  Three Out and Back’s
  • Difficulty:  Intermediate to advanced climbing and descending skills required.  This is some lung-buster climbing with high speed descents.
  • Time of Year:  Late Spring and Fall (dependent on when Starkweather is open)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack, Double Track
  • Access: From town, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Make a right turn at the “Earthquake Fault” sign. Park in the lot. There is a trailhead near the bathrooms for Mountain View Trail.  Start heading up and turn right at the T to start the ride.   
  • Length: 22.3 miles
  • Approx. Time: 3-4 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,991′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,244′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 3,599′
  • Bike Recommendation: Lightweight XC mountain bike is best. Full suspension or hardtail.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

You can view turn by turn directions for each of the three rides by clicking on them above.  Traditionally we ride it this way:

  • Climb Mountain View
  • Descend Starkweather
  • Climb Starkweather
  • Climb Hard Core
  • Descend Hard Core
  • Descend Mountain View
Double High Five Y - Map

Double High Five Y – Map

Double High Five Y - Elevation Profile

Double High Five Y – Elevation Profile

 


Ride Report: Inyo Craters Singletrack – Mammoth Lakes, CA

Inyo Craters Singletrack is a sweet little section of trail that doesn’t get ridden as much as it should.  After a great flowy section, you reach a parking area where it connects with an old jeep road that takes you up to the Inyo Craters Lookout.  Here you must park your bike, as it’s illegal to ride bikes on the trails around the craters.  There are some picnic tables, interpretive signs, and it’s a nice place to hike around and eat a snack before heading back down.   This ride is short on it’s own, but splendid when combined with the Inyo Craters Loop or Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop.

*Note: There are some hiking only trails up to the Inyo Craters – please do not ride your bike on those.  Stay on the route listed here.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back as described here
  • Difficulty: Easy with a couple short, steep climbs
  • Time of Year: Late Spring (once snow melts off), Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack and primitive jeep road
  • 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: 2.64 miles (1.32 miles each way)
  • Approx. Time: 20 – 30 minutes ride time
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,058′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,230′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 224′
  • Bike Recommendation: Run what you brung.  Any off-road bike will do.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – start at the trailhead sign (see photo), going up the Inyo Craters Singletrack
.72 – cross the road and start grunting up the short, steep, soft climb- don’t worry it levels off quickly.
.88 – arrive in the main Inyo Craters parking area. turn left and go past the bathrooms.
.92 – you’ll pass a hiking trail and kiosk to the right.  continue straight, don’t take the hiking trail.
.95 – reach two green poles blocking an old jeep road on the right (see photo).  enter the trail here and start climbing.
1.32 – arrive at the top.  if you want to explore here, park your bike and hike around.  when you’re done, retrace your steps back to the car.
2.64 – end of ride.

Inyo Craters Singletrack Map

Inyo Craters Singletrack Map

Inyo Craters Singletrack - Elevation Profile

Inyo Craters Singletrack – Elevation Profile

The trailhead at both ends is very incognito, with no labelled sign.  This is the trailhead at the start of the singletrack.

The trailhead at both ends is very incognito, with no labelled sign. This is the trailhead at the start of the singletrack.

A fun slice of singletrack

A fun slice of singletrack

You made it to the top.  No riding bikes past here.  Go walk around and check it out.

You made it to the top. No riding bikes past here. Go walk around and check it out.

Interpretive sign near the craters

Interpretive sign near the craters

A look down into the crater.  Gorgeous color!

A look down into the crater. Gorgeous color!

Another piece of excellent singletrack heading back down towards the car

Another piece of excellent singletrack heading back down towards the car

 


Ride Report: Inyo Craters Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

The Inyo Craters Loop is an old school Mammoth ride.  It was one of the earliest USFS signed bike routes. Other than the Inyo Craters Singletrack (which we include with our version of the loop), the terrain is pretty much jeep roads. There is moderate climbing, with some sweet views and a good tour of the area. This is a relaxing ride that’s definitely worth doing for some peaceful exercise.  If you want a little more ride time / exertion, try the Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop.

This ride goes around the two Inyo Craters, which 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. 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!

**NOTE FOR WINTER / FAT BIKE RIDING – This route is usually packed by snowmobiles and trucks before grooming starts for the season.  Other than the singletrack section (which sees no Winter use) the rest is usually fun on a fat bike with low tire pressure.  Remember, once grooming starts, all groomed trails are OFF LIMITS to bikes.  Click here for the grooming report to see if it’s currently legal to ride.  Questions?  Contact us.

  • Ride Type: Loop (clockwise as described) with Singletrack out and back section
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (possible late spring depending on snow pack), and early Winter (on fat bike before grooming begins).
  • 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: 11.9 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 -2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,711′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,161′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 636′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike
  • GPX File: contact us
  • More info: MammothTrails.org

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
6.0 notice upper deadman campground on right, obsidian flat campground on left
6.5 go right on 2S29 – then stay on main rd through forest
8.0 go right
9.4 veer right then stay straight towards inyo craters rd
10.0 left at T
10.4 veer left
10.7 right at T climb back to the main parking area, and head right to the singletrack
11.0 enter the singletrack to the right, and head back down to the staging area
11.9 done!!

Inyo Craters Loop Map

Inyo Craters Loop Map

Inyo Craters Loop - Elevation Profile

Inyo Craters Loop – Elevation Profile

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

Crater Flats during Winter - before grooming, of course :)

Crater Flats during Winter – before grooming, of course 🙂

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Taking a break near Deadman Creek


Ride Report: Saddlebag Lake Trail near Yosemite, CA

This oft forgotten singletrack trail is not ridden enough.  Most people are unaware that it even exists, much less that it’s open to mountain biking.  It is tucked cleverly between Yosemite National Park and the Hoover Wilderness, butting right next to the Wilderness Boundary in a couple of spots.  It’s only a 45 minute drive from Mammoth. Although the ride is short (only 4 miles), it’s definitely not short on exquisite views!! There’s minimal climbing, but there are some technical sections that will surprise you, and some punchy efforts that will get your heart rate up.  Much of the trail is fairly smooth, but there’s also a fair share of rocks and shale that sneak up on you.  Be ready for it.  We describe this ride as a loop.  Most people do it as a loop.  However, the last section of trail (approx. 1.5 miles) is almost all rock and shale, and not much fun for less skilled riders.  If you’re doing the full loop, full suspension or a fat bike will help.  Most people will have to hike some of the obnoxious sections.  In our opinion, the best part of this ride is the first half.  The best terrain, trail quality, and views are had while riding the the east and north side of the lake, right up until you reach the Forest Service cabin.  Therefore, we’ve written directions for the full loop, but also notated the out and back to the cabin.  Your choice, just wanted to give fair warning.

Also in the area are the Bennettville Ride, Log Cabin Mine Loop, and Moraines and Meadows Ride.  You might want do one or more of those rides to make a great day of riding.  Saddlebag Lake is also a great spot to fish, or just hang out with the family and make a day out of it.

  • Ride Type:  Loop (counter-clockwise is the way we recommend), or out and back to the cabin
  • Difficulty: Moderately technical (some rocks and shale), but pretty easy on the lungs
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Almost all singletrack, some smooth, some shale/rock gardens – with gorgeous high alpine scenery and lake views everywhere
  • 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.  You’ll pass the Mobil Mart on your left.  You might want to stop here later for some great grub and live music depending on time of year you are riding.  Anyhoo, continue driving for 10 miles and turn right at the Saddlebag Lake Sign.  Then drive for another 2.5 miles on a mostly dirt road.  Go to the parking lot at the end of the road and spot the restrooms to the right.  The trail sign is just past the restrooms.
  • Length: 4.1 miles
  • Approx. Time: 45 minutes to 1.5 hours for the loop (shorter for the out and back)
  • Lowest Elevation: 10,055′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,192′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 361′
  • Bike Recommendation:  This can be ridden with pretty much any off-road bike, but full suspension or fat bike is recommended for the western portion of the loop.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • Other Reference: Hunter’s Saddlebag Lake Trail Blog

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start at the trail sign, heading around the lake to the right (counter-clockwise).  Right off the bat, there are a few sections of rock and shale that will warm you up quickly.
.50 – The trail opens up to smooth flowing singletrack with some great lake views
.75  – Cross a small creek
.85 – Rocky climb.  Once you crest the climb, views of the rest of the lake become apparent.  The trail now strays from the shoreline a bit and meanders through pine trees and stays a little cooler.
2.07 – Arrive at the old cabin on the left

** If you choose to do this ride as an out and back, this is the turn around point.  Simply retrace your steps and go back the way you came. If you’re continuing to complete the loop, keep following the cues below:

2.1 – You reach a Wilderness trail sign to the right.  Do not take this.  Continue straight across the creek bed.
2.25 – You reach another Wilderness trail sign letting you know that you’re about to enter Wilderness.  Do not take it.  Instead a few yards before the sign, there is a singletrack trail to your left.  Take this to continue the loop you are on.
2.35 – There is a small bridge with a couple of logs to your left.  It’s hard to see as it’s surrounded by brush.  Use this bridge to cross the creek.  Don’t miss this turn!! Just after the creek crossing, there are a couple of techy rock gardens and one short climb to navigate.
2.52 – Go left at the junction with another trail.   You’ll now enter the most hateful portion of the ride.  Rocks and shale make for annoying riding all the ay home.
3.69 – Reach the bridge.  Cross the bridge and take the singletrack to your left which will bring you back to the parking lot.
4.1 – Arrive at trail sign and finish ride.

Saddlebag Lake Trail - Map

Saddlebag Lake Trail – Map

Saddlebag Lake Trail - Elevation Profile

Saddlebag Lake Trail – Elevation Profile

Trail sign, and start of the ride

Trail sign, and start of the ride

A sweet section of singletrack going along the east side of the lake

A sweet section of singletrack going along the east side of the lake

View looking back to the south side of the lake

View looking back to the south side of the lake

The old cabin that marks the half way point of the ride

The old cabin that marks the half way point of the ride

The first trail sign you come across marking the route to Lundy Lake.  Do not take this!  No bikes allowed.

The first trail sign you come across marking the route to Lundy Lake. Do not take this! No bikes allowed.

Lots of hikers and equestrians during peak season.  Remember to always yield to other user groups

Lots of hikers and equestrians during peak season. Remember to always yield to other user groups

More great views, more great trail.

More great views, more great trail.

Parked on the bridge

Parked on the bridge.  I forgot to cut my number plate off after the VC race earlier in the week.  Oops.

 


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

 


Ride Report: Lake Canyon Trail – Lundy Lake, CA

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

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

Turn by Turn (in miles):

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

Lake Canyon Trail - Map

Lake Canyon Trail – Map

Lake Canyon Trail - Elevation Profile (climb only)

Lake Canyon Trail – Elevation Profile (climb only)

Start of the ride at the gate by the dam.

Start of the ride at the gate by the dam.

View of Lundy Lake looking towards the campground

View of Lundy Lake looking towards the campground

Looking down towards the Lundy Lake dam

Looking down towards the Lundy Lake dam

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaks for itself

Speaks for itself

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ride Report: Silver Canyon Ride – Bishop, CA

The Silver Canyon Ride has an average 13.7% grade, and is one of the most brutal climbs in the area.  It’s on par with the Laurel Lakes Ride in terms of climbing treachery.  It’s also the first/toughest part of the White Mountain EpicAfter parking at the Laws Museum, engaging in nervous small talk, and applying ample chamois cream, you saddle up.  A peaceful climb eases the nerves and warms the legs.  You are cruising up the famous Silver Canyon Rd.  After not too long, that elementary climb turns into a grueling effort that has your lungs puffing out of your chest like Lou Ferrigno.  From 4,000′ to 10,800′ over 11.6 miles we go.  Silver Canyon is a grueling rite of passage climb.  Make sure your brake pads are fresh and your wits are perky.  The Silver Canyon descent is FAST and DANGEROUS.  Especially when you’re fatigued.  When it was raced in 1986 as the Plumline Ultimate Kamikaze,  they put nets and barricades up around the dangerous turns to keep people from flying off the mountain.  There were also ambulances at the ready, and yes, they were necessary.   There will be no ambulances, no barricades, nothing.  So BE WARNED.  Read Alan’s blog on Silver Canyon for a personal account of riding this trail, and the White Mountain Peak Challenge blog which has a ton of info and photos of Silver Canyon as well.

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:  Out and Back – as described here
  • Difficulty:  Advanced climbing and descending skills required.  Have fresh brake pads for the descent!
  • Time of Year:  Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly doubletrack/ jeep road with numerous creek crossings
  • Access: Park at the Laws Railroad Museum on Silver Canyon Rd. (off Hwy 6 out of Bishop).  The ride starts here.  Just head east on Silver Canyon Rd
  • Length: 22.6 miles total (11.3 miles each way)
  • Approx. Time: 3-5 hours, maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 4,114′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,504′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 6,483′
  • Bike Recommendation: Lightweight XC mountain bike is best. Full suspension or hardtail.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions necessary here.  Simply climb up Silver Canyon Road.  Stay on the main road and don’t take any spur trails that might pop up.  You’ll do about 8 creek crossings and pass a gate around 8 miles in.   Then it gets really steep with a bunch of switchbacks.  Keep trucking until you reach White Mountain Road at 11.3 miles.  Turn around and head back to your car at Laws.  Pat self on back.

Silver Canyon Map

Silver Canyon Map

Silver Canyon Elevation Profile

Silver Canyon Elevation Profile

Looking down from the steep switchback after the gate

Looking down from the steep switchback after the gate

One of the steep climbs you have to look forward to.

One of the steep climbs you have to look forward to.

Silver Canyon Road with the Eastern Sierras in the background

Silver Canyon Road with the Eastern Sierras in the background

Junction of Silver Canyon Road and White Mountain Road

Junction of Silver Canyon Road and White Mountain Road


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: Uptown / Downtown – Public (Short) Loop – No Bike Park

One of the staples for Mammoth locals and visitors alike.  At some point, everyone rides “Uptown – Downtown”.  It can either be a great introduction to mountain biking, or an all out lung-buster if you really push it.  The version described here is for the “short” loop which goes up to the Earthquake Fault Junction and does not include the portion that enters the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.  You CAN do this ride without purchasing a bike park ticket.  If you have a bike park pass/ticket, and you’re looking for a longer loop, consider the Uptown/Downtown Full Loop on the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park Map.  Another option is to cross Highway 203 at the Earthquake Fault Junction and continue climbing up Mountain View Trail (a great out and back that is also free to the public without need for a bike park ticket), and then connect back with Downtown.  If you’re having trouble figuring out what to ride, or the best way to connect these trails into a ride that suits your style/ability, contact us – and we’ll help you construct a ride that’s right for you!!

WINTER SNOW RIDING:

We started “fatpacking” this loop on snowshoes for winter snowriding.  When it’s packed, this is the best singletrack snow riding in Mammoth.  If you’re in Mammoth during Winter months and are looking to ride this on your fat bike, contact us first to see if it’s been packed and get an update on current trail conditions.

  • Ride Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Minimally Technical, Moderate Climbing, Fast Descending
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall for mountain biking, Winter and Spring when we snowshoe pack it for fat bike use.
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly singletrack, although Downtown is wider with doubletrack in sections and tends to get sandy in parts with brake bumps in the turns.
  • Access: Go up Main St through Mammoth Lakes.  Make a right turn on Minaret Rd/ Highway 203.  The Village will be on your left, and The Village Parking Lot will be on your right.  Park here.  Ride up to the intersection of Minaret and Forest Trail.  The trailhead is well signed and just ahead on your left.
  • Length: 3.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 30 min – 1 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,052′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,531′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 498′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, pretty much any bike will do.  Be prepared to pedal!
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – start climbing the Uptown Trail (the one on the right).  Get into a good rhythm, as you’ll be climbing for a while.

1.9 – reach the Earthquake Fault Junction.  Go left here to get on Downtown and start descending back to The Village.  If you’re connecting with Mountain View Trail, go right and cross Highway 203 to the Mountain View Trailhead.  If you continue going up here, you’ll be in the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park where a ticket/pass is necessary.

3.8 – reach the end of the loop where you started.

Uptown- Downtown Map

Uptown- Downtown Map

Uptown Trailhead in Summer

Uptown Trailhead in Summer

The Earthquake Fault Trail Junction.  This is the turnaround point.  Going past that barricade takes you into the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

The Earthquake Fault Trail Junction. This is the turnaround point. Going past that barricade takes you into the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

A fun section on the Downtown Trail

A fun section on the Downtown Trail

Uptown Trailhead in Winter

Uptown Trailhead in Winter

Uptown on the Fat Bike in Winter

Uptown on the Fat Bike in Winter

"2014 Person of the Year" and dear friend Kathy, getting fat!!Taking a break to do some trail cleanup by the Scenic Loop turnoff. Angela wins the "First Time Fattie Best Smile Award"!


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


Ride Report: Horseshoe Lake Loop

This trail is a great introduction to mountain biking and marvelous for families with kids.  It’s shaded in the trees, so it never gets too hot and the views of Horseshoe Lake and the back side of Mammoth Mountain are nice as well.  There are many opportunities to stop and take a breather, and the trail is rarely crowded.  It’s mostly flat, with minimal climbing and descending.  If you’re looking for more riding, try riding up from town on the bike path, and possibly integrating the Panorama Dome Trail and/or Mammoth Rock Trail.

  • 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 spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth single and double-track, with a brief stint on a dirt road and short section of the paved bike path
  • Access: You can drive up Lake Mary Rd from town (Main St turns into Lake Mary Rd at the intersection of Minaret).  Lake Mary Rd terminates at Horseshoe Lake.  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 all the way up into the Lakes Basin if you’re seeking a longer/ more invigorating ride.  Whichever way you decide to access the trail – once you’re in the Horseshoe Lake parking lot, make your way to the MAMBO bike trail kiosk next to the huge Horseshoe Lake Trailhead sign.  This is where the ride begins.
  • Length: 1.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1/2 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,936′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,000′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 94′
  • 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 – The ride starts heading southbound, out of the parking lot next to the kiosk, and onto a dirt road.
.20 – veer left and go over a few bridges
.34 – veer right at the bike sign, climbing slightly up to the singletrack
.72 – see the remnants of the old campsite and fire place to the left
1.26 – turn left, staying on the dirt trail that parallels the paved path
1.4 – merge with the paved bike path and finish the loop
1.8 – ride ends at MAMBO kiosk
horseshoe_loop_map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

The MAMBO sign where the ride officially starts

The MAMBO sign where the ride officially starts

One of the many bridges over creek crossings on the Horseshoe Lake Trail

One of the many bridges over creek crossings on the Horseshoe Lake Trail

A USFS bike trail sign and a fun slice of singletrack through the trees

A USFS bike trail sign and a fun slice of singletrack through the trees

An old fireplace remains from an old camping area next to the trail

An old fireplace remains from an old camping area next to the trail

A great view of Horseshoe Lake from the south side

A great view of Horseshoe Lake from the south side


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

 

 


Ride Report: Mammoth Rock Trail

Mammoth Rock Trail is a quintessential ride that every mtb’er who visits Mammoth Lakes must put on their list!  It’s 95% singletrack with gorgeous views of the town all the way across to the Long Valley Caldera and the White Mountains.  This trail is open to equestrians, hikers, and trail runners – so be aware.  Although many people ride it “down” as a shuttle (described here), you can climb up it, do it as an out and back, or loop it with Old Mammoth Rd (pavement) as well.  It’s also great to link up with the Panorama Dome Trail, coming down from the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park on the Lakes Trail, etc – contact us about putting together a great ride.   The last section right before you reach Sherwin Creek Rd can be pretty sandy, and overall trail conditions vary depending on horse traffic – but all in all, it’s stellar riding, with a few technical sections and some exposure.  Intermediate to advanced descending skills a must.

WINTER RIDING:

This can be a great trail to ride on a fat bike once the snow starts flying.  Early winter, or when there’s not too much snow, it can be amazing.  It tends to be packed well by snowshoers and hikers during the winter holidays.  For more riding, it can be combined with the Old Mammoth Rd Snow Ride and/or the Meadows Ride.  NOTE: Once there has been enough snowfall, the Sherwins (the mountains that the trail traverses) becomes a very popular area for skiing.  Please DO NOT try to ride this trail, or pack the trail for snow riding during these periods.  We don’t want to create any danger for backcountry skiers/snowboarders crossing through!  Not sure about proper riding conditions?  Contact us and we’ll give you the thumbs up or down for snow riding.

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point, as described (although you can out-and-back or loop it with Old Mammoth Rd as well)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced descending skills required.  Some technical/ rock gardens and exposed sections with steep drop offs.  If climbing, it can be fairly strenuous depending on trail conditions.
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Almost all singletrack (doubletrack for the last 1/4 mile before reaching Sherwin Creek Rd)
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car by the lower trailhead.  From town, go south on Old Mammoth Rd.  Just past Mammoth Creek Park, make a left on Sherwin Creek Rd.  Drive for 1/2 mile and park off to the right by the propane tanks / dog walking area (right before it turns into a dirt road).  Leave one car here.  Head back to Old Mammoth Rd and go left towards Old Mammoth.  You’ll go past Snowcreek Athletic Club approx. 1.5 miles.  After a steep curve to the left, you’ll see a dirt parking area and the trailhead sign on the left.  Park here.
  • Length: 2.6 miles (one way)
  • Approx. Time: 15-30 minutes (downhill only)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,870′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,526′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 281′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a Fat Bike too
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • Interactive Trail Map and More Info: Visit MammothTrails.org
  • Link to Strava Segment

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions for this ride, as it’s only one singletrack trail with no intersections except for one “Y” at the bottom where you stay to the right (even if you go left at the “Y” you’ll still wind up at your car).  Once you hit Sherwin Creek Rd, go left to reach your car at the lower parking area.

Mammoth Rock Trail Map

Mammoth Rock Trail Map

Mammoth Rock Trail elevation profile

Mammoth Rock Trail elevation profile

Views of Mammoth Lakes and the White Mountains from Mammoth Rock Trail

Views of Mammoth Lakes, Glass Mountains and the White Mountains from Mammoth Rock Trail

Mammoth Rock lurking in the background while shredding sweet singletrack

Mammoth Rock lurking in the background while shredding sweet singletrack

Mammoth Rock Trail on a fat bike in early winter

Mammoth Rock Trail on a fat bike in early winter

Riding the Mammoth Rock Trail at dusk on the fat bike - such a beautiful ride.

Riding the Mammoth Rock Trail at dusk on the fat bike – such a beautiful ride.


Ride Report: Shady Rest Park – Hell Hill Loop

If you’re looking for a moderate ride that starts/ends in town, put this on the list.  There’s some fun singletrack, but it’s mostly doubletrack/ jeep roads.  Great views and an excellent cardio workout with two tough climbs.  Most notably the short, but fairly brutal “Hell Hill” climb.  It can be sandy in parts, depending on time of year and motorized use.  This ride is actually the first part of the longer Knolls Loop Ride– so if you decide you want some more, go for it.  But if you’re short on time, and want a nice workout with some rewarding views, this is worth a shot.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Moderately Strenuous
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly 4×4 roads and doubletrack,  soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: As you drive up Main Street towards The Village, make your first right after the signal at Old Mammoth Rd.  This is Forest Trail Rd. (The fire station is on the corner).  100 yards up, look for a small dirt lot on the right.  Park here.  The trailhead is just ahead to the east.
  • Length: 9.3 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,777′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,466′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 929′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC or Fat Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Start out on the “Forest Trail Singletrack” – heading towards Shady Rest Campground:

.47 – veer left, stay on singletrack, then continue straight
.96 – left at intersection.  You are now on the “Knolls Loop”
1.02 – left again, start climbing.  Stay on this main jeep road climb for a while – don’t take any of the off-shoots
2.15 – reach top of climb.  Continue straight (don’t go right down the descent) – you’ll climb a little more
2.31 – you’ll see an entrance to some singletrack.  continue on this fun section, start descending through the trees to the water tank
2.6 – single track ends, continue straight towards water tank then veer right on a jeep road.  stay on this main jeep road for a bit
2.93 – stay on jeep rd as it curves to right
3.22 – left turn at the big T intersection.  you’ll start slowly climbing through softer dirt, eventually it gets pretty steep – this is Hell Hill!!
4.0 – reach the top of Hell Hill.  drink some water, pat yourself on the back and continue on.  it curves right, and you continue up a slight climb
4.46 – veer right at the main intersection- stay on this as it wraps around to the right and descends for a while
5.82 – reach a main intersection.  this is Sawmill Cutoff Rd.  go right to continue with this short loop.  (If you’re looking for a longer ride, turn left and stay on the Knolls Loop Ride.)

7.5 – continue straight at the intersection, then veer right on jeep rd 3S35 –  continuing straight through two more intersections
7.77 – go left (there are two options, take the further left trail).  this will turn into singletrack and you’ll ride by the “rusted old car”.  continue on this singletrack, and soon you’ll be going back on the singletrack you started the ride on
8.55 – veer right on “Forest Trail Singletrack”
9.3 – reach the trailhead

Looking back down Hell Hill towards Bloody Mountain and The Sherwins

Looking back down Hell Hill towards The Sherwins, during a late winter snow ride.  You can see Bloody Couloir to the left 🙂

Hell Hill Loop Map

Hell Hill Loop Map

Hell Hill Loop Elevation Profile

Hell Hill Loop Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Shady Rest Park – Knolls Loop

This is one of the oldest “traditional rides” in the area.  We’ve tweaked it slightly to add a couple sections of fun singletrack (possibly the best parts of the ride).  You can ride it in both directions, but clockwise is preferred for scenery and enjoyability of terrain.  The directions below are for the clockwise route.  There are a few tough climbs, including the locally infamous “Hell Hill”.  There are also some rip-roaring descents, one of which we dub “Mini Kamikaze”.  You also get some great views of the Sherwins, especially when heading southbound on the last half of the ride.  Overall, it’s strenuous, but minimally technical.  There any many options to cut the ride short, including doing the Hell Hill Loop (which is basically the first half of this ride), if you’re not feeling up to a ride this long.  It can be sandy in parts, depending on time of year and motorized use.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Strenuous
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly 4×4 roads and doubletrack,  soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: As you drive up Main Street towards The Village, make your first right after the signal at Old Mammoth Rd.  This is Forest Trail Rd. (The fire station is on the corner).  100 yards up, look for a small dirt lot on the right.  Park here.  The trailhead is just ahead to the east.
  • Length: 16.4 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,615
  • Highest Elevation: 8,466′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,355′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC or Fat Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Start out on the “Forest Trail Singletrack” – heading towards Shady Rest Campground:

.47 – veer left, stay on singletrack, then continue straight
.96 – left at intersection.  you are now on the “Knolls Loop”
1.02 – left again, start climbing.  Stay on this main jeep road climb for a while – don’t take any of the off-shoots
2.15 – reach top of climb.  Continue straight (don’t go right down the descent) – you’ll climb a little more
2.31 – you’ll see an entrance to some singletrack.  continue on this fun section, start descending through the trees to the water tank
2.6 – single track ends, continue straight towards water tank then veer right on a jeep road.  stay on this main jeep road for a bit
2.93 – stay on jeep rd as it curves to right
3.22 – left turn at the big T intersection.  you’ll start slowly climbing through softer dirt, eventually it gets pretty steep – this is Hell Hill!!
4.0 – reach the top of Hell Hill.  drink some water, pat yourself on the back and continue on.  it curves right, and you continue up a slight climb
4.46 – veer right at the main intersection- stay on this as it wraps around to the right and descends for a while
5.82 – reach a main intersection.  this is Sawmill Cutoff Rd.  go left and then a quick right to start climbing up to the eastern portion of the loop.  (If you’re tired or just feel like cutting it short, you can turn right here, and finish the shorter Hell Hill Loop.)

— The turn by turn directions from this point on have not been completed.  Please email us for the gpx file in the meantime.

 

Knolls Loop Map

Knolls Loop Map

Knolls Loop Elevation Profile

Knolls Loop Elevation Profile


Fatpacking the Uptown Trail – Singletrack Snow Riding in Mammoth

Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

Riding Uptown on snow.  There's a first time for everything. Riding Uptown on snow. There’s a first time for everything.

Have you ever ridden singletrack snow?  It’s pretty frickin fun.  As mountain bikers, we love the sight of endless ribbons of brown, tacky dirt singletrack (or sometimes white dirt, if you’re riding White Mesa).  But guess what?  A packed trail of snow, albeit different, can be equally sublime to ride – and just as visually stunning.  On either side of you is deep, fluffy snow, and you squiggle your bike through it all.  The best of all, is if you fall (actually WHEN you fall – it’s inevitable) – you poof into freshies.  What an adventure!  It truly brings the vibe of mountain biking to fat biking.

Yes.  It is as fun as it looks. Yes. It is as fun as it looks.

A few of us learned these joys first hand at the Fat Bike Summit last month.  We embarked on a group ride up at…

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Ride Report: Clover Patch Loop

This ride is not for the faint of heart.  It will test you.  With that caveat, it’s an awesome ride!!  The first portion is identical to the Glass Mountain Ridge Lookout Ride.  If you’re not feeling it, the “Lookout” is a great place to turn around.  Not that we’re trying to promote bailing early, but we just want you to make sure you’re committed before embarking on the complete route.  It’s remote and taxing, so be prepared.

Now – the knitty gritty.  The ride starts at the Watterson Divide (junction of Benton Crossing Rd. and Owens Gorge Rd).  As you start heading north up Glass Mountain Ridge, the views to the west have you craning your neck to Crowley Lake, Laurel Mountain, Bloody Mountain, Mammoth and all that glory.  As you keep grinding your way up, you reach a spot called “Four Trees”.  I don’t know why, I’ve never understood.  Maybe at one point, there were four trees here?  Anyhoo – keep grinding up the ridge.  As you stop to catch your breath on top of one of the many knolls, you can look back to the south for more magical views.  This portion of the ride is filled with steep, short climbs that have you bursting (or hiking) up sandy jeep roads.  You gain a lot of elevation over a short time, so enjoy the mellow first couple miles to warm up.  Eventually, after passing by some satellite dishes and solar panels, you start to traverse around Squaw’s Teet (not named on many maps – but locals know it).  Once on the other side, views to the east open up.  The White Mountains will have your jaw dropping as you slink across Wildrose Canyon and drop into the Clover Patch.  To me, this is the most magical part of the ride.  Enjoy the relaxing cruise through the valley before heading back to “Four Trees” and eventually back to your car.

  • Ride Type:  Lollipop (Loop with out and back)
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Extremely Strenuous- Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Jeep/4×4 roads, usually pretty soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: From Mammoth, get to Highway 395 and head south for 6 miles.  Reach the “Green Church” and make a left on Benton Crossing Rd.  Drive 15 miles to the intersection of Owens Gorge Rd. (4S02).  Park here, in the dirt off to the right.
  • Length: 19.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 3 – 5 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,442′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,877′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 3,578′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike (XC bike will work, but be prepared for lots of hike-a-bike)
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

From your car, cross Benton Crossing Rd. and start riding northeast.
.6- veer left
3.17- reach the top of “Four Trees”
3.31- go left
3.35- make a quick right to continue heading up the ridge line (going straight will have you descending Watterson Troughs Rd. – don’t miss this right turn!)
3.94- reach the top of Knoll #1
4.55- stay straight up ridge for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the right, which will reconnect with the main trail shortly
4.65- reach the top of Knoll #2
4.94- stay straight up knoll for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the left which will reconnect with the main trail shortly)
5.0- reach the top of Knoll #3
5.28 reach the top of Knoll #4
5.56- reach the top of the Knoll #5, and what we call the “Lookout”.  At this point, you’ve climbed about 1,600′ and this marks the turnaround of the Glass Mountain Ridge Lookout Ride. Take some photos here and grab a breather.  Once you’re ready descend to ribbon of trail that leads towards the satellite equipment.
6.04- veer left and wrap around.  This trail has a more gradual climb, and great views of Wilfred Canyon.
6.46- reach the satellites.  Keep climbing!
7.4- start traversing around Squaw’s Teet
8.5- right at the junction.  you’ll climb a short bit, get a beautiful view, and then start on a bomber descent – be stoked, a majority of the climbing is now done.
9.2- after the sweet descent go right at the T- head south/east, traverse a burned area and a small aspen grove
10.7- crest over a saddle with more outrageous views
12.0- go right at the junction.  You’ll soon drop down into the Clover Patch.
14.1- continue straight
14.5- continue straight – You’ll have a great view of “Four Trees” – a great landmark to get your bearings.
15.3- right at the T.  Now you’re following power lines back to “Four Trees”.
15.9- go left and climb up to “Four Trees”.  From here, retrace your steps to arrive back at your car at 19.2 miles.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Here we go.  A subtle climb early in the adventure.

Here we go. A subtle climb early in the adventure.

A cairn on display at the "Lookout" of Glass Mountain Ridge.

A cairn on display at the “Lookout” of Glass Mountain Ridge.

Looking up to Squaw's Teet (right) and Robert's Roost (left) from the "Lookout" on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Looking up to Squaw’s Teet (right) and Robert’s Roost (left) from the “Lookout” on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Taking a break at the satellite dishes.

Taking a break at the satellite dishes.

About to start traversing around Squaw's Teet.

About to start traversing around Squaw’s Teet.

Heading towards Wildrose Canyon and Clover Patch with the Whites looming in the distance.

Heading towards Wildrose Canyon and Clover Patch with the snow-sprinkled peaks looming in the distance.

Taking a break in the Clover Patch.

Taking a break in the Clover Patch.

Clover Patch Loop - Map

Clover Patch Loop – Map

Clover Patch Loop - Elevation Profile.

Clover Patch Loop – Elevation Profile.


Ride Report: Glass Mountain Ridge Lookout

This ride is a short yet strenuous out and back with outstanding views.  It’s the beginning portion of the even more strenuous Clover Patch Loop Ride– another great ride if you’re seeking something more “epic”.  The “Lookout” is a great place to to have a snack and soak in the views.  It’s really fun to look up here from Benton Crossing Rd. as you’re driving back to Mammoth after the ride, and think “Wow, I just rode that!”

The ride starts at the Watterson Divide (junction of Benton Crossing Rd. and Owens Gorge Rd).  As you start heading north up Glass Mountain Ridge, the views to the west have you craning your neck to Crowley Lake, Laurel Mountain, Bloody Mountain, Mammoth and all that glory.  As you keep grinding your way up, you reach a spot called “Four Trees”.  I don’t know why, I’ve never understood.  Maybe at one point, there were four trees here?  Anyhoo – keep grinding up the ridge.  As you stop to catch your breath on top of one of the many knolls, you can look back to the south for more magical views.  This portion of the ride is filled with steep, short climbs that have you bursting (or hiking) up sandy jeep roads.  You gain a lot of elevation over a short time, so enjoy the mellow first couple miles to warm up.  Eventually, you reach the “Lookout” which is usually marked with some cool cairns (unless a jackass knocks them down).  This ride is a great to whet your palette for the surrounding area.

  • Ride Type:  Out-and-Back
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Strenuous- Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Jeep/4×4 roads, usually pretty soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: From Mammoth, get to Highway 395 and head south for 6 miles.  Reach the “Green Church” and make a left on Benton Crossing Rd.  Drive 15 miles to the intersection of Owens Gorge Rd. (4S02).  Park here, in the dirt off to the right.
  • Length: 11.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,442′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,754′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,806′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or XC Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

From your car, cross Benton Crossing Rd. and start riding northeast.
.6- veer left
3.17- reach the top of “Four Trees”
3.31- go left
3.35- make a quick right to continue heading up the ridge line (going straight will have you descending Watterson Troughs Rd. – don’t miss this right turn!)
3.94- reach the top of Knoll #1
4.55- stay straight up ridge for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the right, which will reconnect with the main trail shortly
4.65- reach the top of Knoll #2
4.94- stay straight up knoll for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the left which will reconnect with the main trail shortly)
5.0- reach the top of Knoll #3
5.28 reach the top of Knoll #4
5.56- reach the top of the Knoll #5, and what we call the “Lookout”.  At this point, you’ve climbed about 1,600′ and arrived at the high-point of the ride.  Take some photos here and grab a breather.  If you’re feeling super-human, you can continue on to the Clover Patch Loop.  Otherwise, turn back and retrace the way you came up.
7.95- Reach the top of “Four Trees”.  After this annoying little grunt, it’s mostly downhill from here. This trail has a more gradual climb, and great views of Wilfred Canyon.
11.2- reach you car.  Done! ou’ll soon drop down into the Clover Patch.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Taking a break to check out views of the Sierra.

Taking a break to check out views of the Sierra behind Crowley Lake.

Looking up to Squaw's Teet (right) and Robert's Roost (left) from the "Lookout" on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Looking up to Squaw’s Teet (right) and Robert’s Roost (left) from the “Lookout” on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Glass Mountain Ridge - Map.

Glass Mountain Ridge – Map.

Glass Mountain Ridge - Elevation Profile.

Glass Mountain Ridge – Elevation Profile.