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Posts tagged “trails

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.

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Keeping it Fat in the Tetons and Grand Targhee

Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

Grizzly territory. Grizzly territory.

The opportunity to ride fat bikes in Grand Teton National Park doesn’t present itself that often, so I jumped at this chance.  Teton Mountain Bike Tours led a group ride in the National Park as part of the Fat Bike Summit.  Local advocates are vying for more winter riding opportunities alongside snowmobiles in GTNP and in Yellowstone.  But for now, fat bikes are limited to plowed roads that cars can drive on.  So as far as riding goes right now, the terrain is nothing amazing – but you’re still in the Tetons, enveloped by some of the best eye candy that Mother Nature has ever created.

Riding on one of the plowed roads in Grand Teton National Park.  Notice the socked in cloud layer. Riding on one of the plowed roads in Grand Teton National Park. Notice the socked in cloud layer.

Unfortunately, during our ride, we we socked in with cloud cover, and the Tetons never poked out.  About an hour after our ride…

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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.


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: Bennettville Trail near Yosemite, CA

The Bennettville ride is a must do if you’re in the area.  It’s right by the gate to Yosemite, and takes you back to a time in the 1880’s when this area was being mined for silver.  The trail is an old mining road (much of it is actually on the old Great Sierra Wagon Road) that has narrowed into great singletrack in many parts.  It takes you to the ghost town of Bennettville, where two buildings are still standing – an office and a large barn.  On the way there, you pass by small reflecting lakes and the Great Sierra Tunnel.  This mining tunnel goes over 1,700′ into the earth.  A pretty amazing feat.

Now, the tunnel is gated off and there’s a small water stream trickling out.  There is still old mining equipment laying around as well, and you can see the old rail tracks going into the mine.

This ride is pretty short, so you might want to combine it with one or more of these other rides in the area:  Saddlebag Lake Trail, Log Cabin Mine Loop, or Moraines and Meadows Ride.

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Non-technical, pretty easy
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Historic Wagon Road with many singletrack sections
  • 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 up Tioga Pass for 10.95 miles and look for an unmarked turn-off to the right (opposite Tioga Lake).  It’s a little hard to find, as it’s no longer labeled or signed (some of the older guidebooks state there’s a Bennettville sign, but as of 2014, it’s no longer there).  If you’ve reached the Tioga Lake Overlook, you’ve just past it.  Head back down with your eyes peeled to the left, and you’ll see the turnout easier heading down the mountain.  You can also park at the Tioga Lake Overlook and just ride your bike down to the ride start.  The ride begins where the boulders are blocking the old mining road.
  • Length: 2.92 miles
  • Approx. Time: 30 – 45 minutes (or more if you spend time hiking around the area)
  • Lowest Elevation: 9,734′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,873′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 307′
  • 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 – ride starts at the boulders blocking the road
0.12 – veer left then soon start climbing.  views of Tioga Lake to the right
1.0 – reach a tough shale climb
1.18 – reach the Great Sierra Tunnel
1.34 – go right and Mine Creek by stepping over the logs.  continue straight climbing up rocky stairs and rejoin the singletrack.  go right, towards the old buildings
1.46 – arrive at barn.  park your bike and explore a bit on foot before retracing your ride back to the car.
2.92 – ride ends at the boulders, where it began

Bennettville Map

Bennettville Map

Bennettville Elevation

Bennettville Elevation

Ride starts at the boulders that block the old mining road.

Ride starts at the boulders that block the old mining road.

Remnants of the old mines in the side of the mountain

Approaching the Great Sierra Tunnel

The Great Sierra Tunnel

Old mining equipment out front of The Great Sierra Tunnel

Another view of the Great Sierra Tunnel.

Another view of the Great Sierra Tunnel, which now has a gate in it to keep people from exploring.

Notice on the old barn

Notice on the old barn

The two remaining buildings in Bennettville

The two remaining buildings in Bennettville – an office and a larger barn.

It's amazing these buildings have lasted so well over the years

I’d sure love to use this barnwood as my floors 🙂 – Just kidding.