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

Caldera 150/250/500 – 9/27/2019

Registration for the 5th Annual Grand Depart is NOW OPEN. 

  • The Grand Depart is officially slated for Friday, Sept. 27th, 2019 @ 7am.
  • For 2019, we are running the “Full 500” with the “Southern 250” option, as well as a new “Southern 150” option for those short on time or who don’t feel like tackling the longer distances for whatever reason. 
  • The Full 500 and Southern 250 route remain pretty much unchanged from years past.
  • Official 2019 GPX tracks, including the new “150 Route” will be made available to registered riders around the first week of August.

Current Course Records:

  • Full 500, Male – Adrian Van Der Riet, 2016 (4 days, 18 hours, 40 minutes)
  • Northern 250 Loop, Male – Tony Symanovich, 2016 (3 days, 5 hours, 6 minutes)
  • Southern 250 Loop, Male – Keith Richards-Dinger, 2015 (2 days, 14 hours, 4 minutes) *also the Singlespeed Record

More Caldera History:

Thinking of doing an ITT?  Contact us to get gpx/cues.

What is the “Caldera 150/250/500”?

  • It’s a 100% self-supported, multi-day, grassroots bikepacking adventure in the spirit of the Tour Divide.  This is NOT a sanctioned or organized event.  We simply offer the tools to help riders have a successful adventure and keep track of results for bragging rights.
  • We decided it’s about time to show off the majesty of our region to the world.  After lots of bike riding, day dreaming, beer drinking, and mapping, we feel the Caldera 150/250/500 encompasses the rich beauty and geological rarities that the Eastern Sierra offers.  The Southern 250 Loop is roughly 256 miles and 31k climbing.  The Northern 250 Loop is actually much more than 250… in reality, it’s 317 miles and 38k climbing.  The Full 500 is roughly 480 miles and 65k climbing 🙂


  • We have a suggested “Grand Depart” every year, or you can do it as an individual time trial (ITT).  The GD changes each year, but is traditionally the last Friday of September.


The start/finish is in Mammoth Lakes, CA .  There are lots of lodging and camping options available in the area.

How much does it cost?

There is no entry fee.  No prizes.  No awards.  Just bragging rights.  This is grassroots.

What are the rules?

  • The guiding principles are simple: self-support and equal opportunity.
  • Complete the route under only your own power.
  • Do it without pre-arranged support from others.
  • No caching.
  • Don’t break the law.
  • Leave no trace.
  • Detailed rules: Caldera Rules Page 
    • This type of format is not for everyone.  If you want to “tour” this route, ride parts of it, have support, etc – We still encourage you to get out there and ride your bike.  You will not be part of this adventure, but please contact us for route info, etc.

How do I register or make sure I get event updates?

  • We open registration a couple months before the Grand Depart.  You have to register to get specific event updates, gpx files, etc.

Is the course marked?

  • No.  Since this is not a sanctioned event, we will never “mark” a course.  You should carry a GPS, cue sheet, and maps.

How are results tabulated?

  • All riders with SPOT Trackers (mandatory for all Grand Depart participants) will have their results tabulated.  SPOT rentals will be available for the GD if you don’t own one.  If you do own one, you’ll have to pay a nominal fee to have your unit registered on the  Trackleaders.com website.  Live tracking will be up for the GD, so friends and family can follow along.  We will also post results here on the website.

Can you describe the route, in a nutshell?

  • Here’s a super general description of the 500:  Start in Mammoth Lakes.  Head south through Tom’s Place and down Lower Rock Creek through Round Valley.  Climb Horton Creek, sneak around the backside of the Tungsten Hills and ascend into Coyote Flats.  Descend to Big Pine, cross into the Northern Inyo Mountains.  Traverse into the White Mountains and descend Redding Canyon to Bishop.  Head north through the Volcanic Tablelands around Casa Diablo Mountain ,and climb through the Glass Mountains.  At this point, the S250 heads back to west to Obsidian Dome and south back to Mammoth, while the 500 continues north- past Mono Lake, into the Bodie Hills, past Bridgeport and up into the Sweetwater Mountains.  After reaching the summit of Mt. Patterson at 11,644′,  head east towards Walker and south towards Buckeye Hot Springs and Twin Lakes towards Virginia Lakes.  Descend to Lee Vining, continue to June Lake and finally back to Mammoth.

Any more resources or advice?

  • Read the Caldera Rules Page.
  • Prepare your body, gear, and mind.  This route is no joke.
  • Ask questions in the comments of this page.

Check out the Bikepacking.net Caldera 500 Forum Thread

Consider riding these other self-supported events:

19 responses

  1. Pingback: Caldera 500 – Eastern Sierra Bikepacking Route Announcement |

  2. Kevin Hinton

    F%$K YES!!!! I am in .

    February 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    • Double f$&k ya!!!

      February 24, 2015 at 4:39 pm

  3. Giddy the F UP!

    February 25, 2015 at 3:42 am

  4. Great job putting this together! The route sounds great!

    March 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    • Thanks Norb- looking forward to getting out there and doin the smoke n fire – Jeremy Plum, a local who’s a huge part of creating this route, did the snf last year and has stoked me on it!!

      March 12, 2015 at 3:54 pm

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  16. Cal


    I met a super cool cat up in June this past week who plans to ride the 150. How can I follow his journey? Are there daily updates?


    September 23, 2019 at 7:52 pm

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