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

Posts tagged “meadows

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

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

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

Turn by Turn (in miles):

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

Moraines and Meadows Ride – Map.

Moraines and Meadows Ride - Elevation Profile.

Moraines and Meadows Ride – Elevation Profile.

The old trailhead sign, which could use some TLC.

The old trailhead sign, which could use some TLC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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: Snow Biking The Meadows Behind Snowcreek

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

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

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

meadows_snowcreek_elevation meadows_snowcreek_map

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

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