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

Ride Report: Hard Core Trail / San Joaquin Ridge

Hard core.  Yes it is.  If you like to punish yourself and feel your lungs squeeze through your ribs, this is the ride for you.  It’s a brutal climb – over 1,000′ gained over a mere 2.5 miles.  You’ll be worked, especially if you’ve already pedaled up other rides (like Mountain View Trail) to access it.  If you really wanna punish yourself, consider combining this ride with the Double High Five Y.  On the bright side, you are rewarded with spectacular views for most of the ride and the vantage point at the top of the ridge makes you forget the pain.  360 views – Mammoth Mountain, The Minarets, Mount Ritter, Mount Banner, San Joaquin River Canyon, June Mountain, White Wing Mountain, Mono Craters, Mono Lake, Glass Mountain Ridge, etc.  There used to be a fire lookout up here, and you’ll know why.

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Extremely Strenuous climb with mach speed descent
  • Terrain/Conditions: Jeep 4×4 road with some soft, sandy, and rutted sections.
  • Access: From town, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  Continue on, going all the way up towards Minaret Vista.  Just before you reach the US Forest Service guard shack that accesses Reds Meadow, make a right turn towards Minaret Vista.  Then make another quick right into a dirt parking area.  Park here.  Jump on your bike and start heading down the dirt road, which leads you to the Mountain View trailhead in 0.15 miles.  Instead of going down Mountain View, turn left on the jeep road.  Hard Core trail starts here.  After doing Hard Core, you might want to jump on Mountain View and ride it to Downtown if you didn’t drive up.  Lot’s of good options for combining trails with Hard Core.  Contact us if you’d like some options that suit your riding ability/ style.
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1 – 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 9,159′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,239′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,082′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – start pedaling up the 4×4 jeep road.  it’s gradual at first, so get your legs and lungs ready now.  2.5 – reach the summit, and the “Wilderness Boundary” sign.  You can’t go any further than this.  Enjoy the moment, and then return the exact way you came, reaching the Mountain View trailhead at 5 miles.

Hunter heading up towards the last major climb

Hunter heading up towards the last major climb

Hunter approaching the summit

Hunter approaching the summit with Mammoth Mountain behind him



Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Ride Report: Starkweather Trail |

  2. Pingback: Ride Report: Mountain View Trail |

  3. Pingback: Ride Report: The Double High Five Y |

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