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Posts tagged “trails

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.

 

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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: 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: Mountain View Trail – Mammoth Lakes, CA

Mountain View Trail is one of the best (if not the best) public mountain bike trails in the Mammoth Lakes area. There’s an ample amount of stellar singletrack, and some wider jeep roads/ doubletrack as well. You get some great views and open vistas, and lots of forested twisty riding through the trees. It’s really a gem. It can be a little confusing, as there is also a Mountain View trail at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. The trail I speak of here, stretches from the Earthquake Fault parking area to just below Minaret Vista (or Minaret Summit, same thing). Many people ride this as an out and back (which is described here). It’s a great way to earn your turns. However, Mountain View Trail is also in a perfect spot to connect with many other trails, creating all types of different loop options. For example you can combine it with Uptown / Downtown, Starkweather Trail, Hard Core Trail, Inyo Craters, Double High Five Y, etc. Contact us if you’re curious about putting together some fun loops.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderately strenuous climbing and mostly smooth descending with some sandy spots and a few technical sections.
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: A mix of singletrack and jeep/ 4×4 roads
  • 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. Ride back down towards Highway 203 and you’ll see the trailhead sign on your right.
  • Length: 10.6 miles (5.3 miles each way)
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,548′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,163′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,049′ (851′ going up, 198′ going down)
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles) for the ride UP:

0.0 – Start at the Mountain View Trailhead. Head straight up the doubletrack. Have your climbing legs on.
0.85 – veer left
0.95 – veer right
1.28 – good luck on this steep, sandy climb!!
1.5 – merge with double track, go right
1.89 – after descending and the sweeping right turn, go left at the dry creek. don’t go directly across the creek (that’s what the ATV’s do). look to the left and you’ll see a trail that crosses two bridges to get across the creek. that is the trail
1.95 – just after crossing the dry creek, go right at the singletrack marked by two wooden posts. there is no sign here (hopefully the sign will be replaced soon).
2.55 – right at junction
2.85 – go right, enjoy this part of the trail. it’s awesome!!
5.3 – reach the upper trailhead. you might want to keep going to Minaret Vista to check out the views, or try the Starkweather Trail (if it’s open), climb Hard Core, or connect with Beach Cruiser, or other resort trails. Otherwise, take a breather, and head back the way you came:

Turn By Turn (in miles) for the ride DOWN:

0.0 – head down Mountain View Trail from trailhead
2.25 – veer left at Y
2.6 – go left, continue on Mountain View Trail
3.28 – go left at T, towards Dry Creek. Then veer right. You’ll go across 2 bridges and
then veer right on fire road to start climbing. This is an important junction. You need to go right and start climbing up as you curve around to the left. If you start going left/down the road, you’ll be going completely off track.
3.93 – go left on singletrack, marked with a small Mountain View Trail sign – don’t
miss this turnoff!!
5.3 – stay straight and merge with pavement. Make a left and ride back up to your car.

Mountain View, lower trailhead

Mountain View, lower trailhead

Some sweet forested singletrack

Some sweet forested singletrack

Mountain View Climb - Elevation Profile

Mountain View Climb – Elevation Profile

Mountain View Descent - Elevation Profile

Mountain View Descent – Elevation Profile

Mountain View Trail Map

Mountain View Trail Map


Ride Report: Starkweather Trail – Mammoth Lakes, CA

The descent down to Starkweather Lake is one of the best sections of singletrack in the area. It’s 2.5 miles of rollercoaster trail bliss. The climb back up is grueling and unrelenting, but we feel it’s worth “earning your turns” for this one. There’s only one catch – this trail is closed to bicycles most of the year. You can usually only ride for a portion of May or June and September – October. If the shuttle bus is running to Reds Meadow, it’s closed to bikes. This means it’s usually only legal once the snow melts in May or June, before the shuttle starts running for the summer – or after Labor Day when the shuttle shuts down at the end of Summer. It changes from year to year, so make sure you’re not poaching before you jump on this trail.  Combine with Mountain View, Hard Core, or the Double High Five Y if you’re up for it.  You can also shuttle it if you just want the downhill jollies without heaving up a lung.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate descent. Difficult, grueling ascent.
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% singletrack
  • Access: From town, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Continue past Main Lodge and go all the way up to the turnoff for Minaret Vista (just before the Forest Service kiosk to go down to Reds Meadow). Make a right for Minaret Vista, and then another quick right and park in the dirt lot. Ride back to Highway 203 and cross the road at Forest Service kiosk. The trailhead is right next to the kiosk, and you’ll see the sign a few feet up the hill (see photo).
  • Length: 5.0 miles (2.5 miles each way)
  • Approx. Time: 1 – 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,011′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,168’′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,213′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles): No directions necessary. No trail intersections. Just take Starkweather Trail all the way down to the lake. There are a few small creek crossings, switchbacks, and a couple mildly techy sections to keep your speed in check. The dirt is mostly packed with some looser pumice spots sprinkled around. For some reason, most people ride the road to get back up. I guess the climb up the trail can be intimidating, but honestly it’s not that bad. At least as not as bad as climbing Hard Core/ San Joaquin Ridge. We prefer to stay on dirt when possible, so back up the trail is the way to go!!

the trailhead sign, just across from the Forest Service kiosk

the trailhead sign, just across from the Forest Service kiosk

A view of Starkweather Lake through the pine and fir trees

A view of Starkweather Lake through the pine and fir trees

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Starkweather Trail Map

Starkweather Trail Map

Starkweather Elevation Profile

Starkweather Elevation Profile