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.