This ride will kick your ass. If it doesn’t, than you’re not human. In the Summer, it’s one of the toughest climbs in the Eastern Sierra. It’s actually easier to ride on snow than it is on dirt. The road is very loose and rocky and hard as heck to keep traction on in the Summer. Definitely more enjoyable in the Winter. Why do it? It’s beautiful! You’re a nut who loves pain. Once you get over the switchbacks and your in the Laurel Lakes Basin, you’re surrounded by amazing views, most prominently Bloody Couloir. Simply gorgeous.
- Ride Type: Out and Back
- Difficulty: Brutal climbing for very fit riders
- Time of Year: All year (as long as OSV’s have packed the snow in the winter, you can ride with a Fat Bike)
- Terrain/Conditions: Dirt roads and a steep jeep road in Summer/Fall or snow in Winter/Spring
- Access: From the 395, a couple miles south of Mammoth Lakes, turn off at Sherwin Creek Rd. Park your car here, or drive up Sherwin Creek Rd as far as you can (depending on snow).
- Length: 9.4 miles from intersection of Sherwin Creek Rd and Laurel Lakes Rd.
- Approx. Time: 3-4 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but brutal – don’t take it lightly)
- Lowest Elevation: 7,319′
- Highest Elevation: 10,083′
- Total Elevation Gain: 2,764′
- Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike during Summer/Fall or Fat Bike at low psi is the only option for riding this in the snow
- GPX File: Available by contacting us
First off, make sure you’ve got a lot of water and nutrition. You don’t wanna bonk up at 9-10,000′. From wherever you parked, make your way to the Laurel Lakes Rd. turnoff, pictured below. It’s pretty deceiving when you’re there. The climb doesn’t look too steep or long. But once you get riding, you’re like an ant. You better hope the snowmobiles have packed the trail well if riding on snow, and you’re doing it in good conditions, otherwise, you might just wanna do the Sherwin Creek Rd/ Mammoth Creek Rd Loop instead. The first straightaway isn’t to horrible, but once you get to the switchbacks you’ll be sucking for any oxygen you can find. Keep pushing. Once you’re at the top of the switchbacks, the hardest part is over. There’s some flats and a short descent to recover, as you head into the basin. From here, the snowmobile tracks might divert from the road for a bit, just stay with them, and they should get back to the road. It’s a moderate climb with tough shorter punchy bouts mixed in. It’s a grind. Take it as far as the snowmobile tracks will let you. If on dirt, you can go all the way to the Wilderness Boundary at around 4.5 miles. If you can get there, you are a BEAST! Sit down, enjoy your PB&J. Listen to the sounds of nothing but you and your jaw cracking. Life is good. Turn around, and head down before your legs seize and the whole way down you’ll realize why your friends think you’re insane. Because you are. You just climbed 2,700′ on a bike, in only 4.5 miles. Pat self on back.
This is probably the best snow biking loop in town if you’re going to choose one ride to do on a fat bike in Winter. It’s also a mellow Fall/Summer ride on a mountain bike. It starts with a moderate descent and some flats to warm your legs up on Mammoth Creek Rd . Then you’ve got a nice, gradual climb back up Sherwin Creek Rd.
- Ride Type: Loop
- Difficulty: Moderate with gradual climbing
- Time of Year: All year
- Terrain/Conditions: Summer/Fall – dirt roads, singletrack, bike path. Winter/Spring – 95% snow, firm OSV & snowshoe packed
- 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: 10.2 miles
- Approx. Time: 1.5- 2 hours
- Lowest Elevation: 7,216′
- Highest Elevation: 7,872′
- Total Elevation Gain: 703′
- Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike in Summer/ Fall or Fat Bike in Winter/Spring
- GPX File: Available by contacting us
Once you’ve parked, start pedaling back up Sherwin Creek Rd. to Old Mammoth Rd. Make a right turn, and in 50′ turn right on the Mammoth Creek trail. Stay on the trail for about 1/2 mile before reaching an intersection. At the intersection stay right onto Mammoth Creek Rd. If you go straight, you’ll stay on the town bike path – so make sure to stay right. Once on Mammoth Creek Rd, it’s a no-brainer. Continue down the road, while spying the White Mountains straight ahead, and the Sherwins, Laurel Lakes area and Bloody Mountain to the right. If riding on snow, try to do this ride in the morning while the snow is firm. It’s pretty exposed and gets sun affected easily. Once down at the bottom, you get very close to the 395 highway. Make sure to turn right and continue to the intersection with Sherwin Creek Rd. Enjoy a mellow climb with more outstanding views. You’ll pass by the turn-off to the Laurel Lakes Ride on the left. If you have a death wish, you might want to add this lung-busting ride to your current loop. If not, continue up past the YMCA camp, into a shaded, tree-lined section. Once you pop out from the trees, you’ll get views of Mammoth Mountain, Lincoln Mountain, and Mammoth Rock. Shortly after passing the trailhead for Mammoth Rock Trail on your left, you’ll approach your car, and think to yourself, “FAT BIKES ROCK”. If you’ve still got gas in your proverbial tank, try adding on The Meadows Ride. You might also consider doing the Meadows Ride first as a warmup.