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Ride Report: Sagehen Summit Loop – near June Lake, CA

This loop is an oldie but goodie that we originally came across in the guidebook – “Mountain Biking the Eastern Sierra’s 100 Best Trails”.  The tread is 4×4  doubletrack and dirt roads (with a short bit of pavement at the end) and tends to be soft and sandy in spots.  Although it can be frustrating at times on a mountain bike, it is very enjoyable on a fat bike.  It’s hard for me to imagine mountain bike pioneers doing rides like this in the early 90’s.  But it’s definitely motivating, imagining them slogging through some of the beachy bits as my fattie floats over everything 🙂

From Highway 120, you climb steadily towards Sagehen Peak, and roll through a beautiful aspen grove (stunning when the fall colors are turning).  There are marvelous views of Adobe Valley and the Glass Mountain Ridge and you can see all the way to the White Mountains as you start curving eastbound.  When you turn north and descend into the valley, the views are again outstanding as you make your way across North Canyon Creek towards the last pavement climb back to your car.  If you are seeking some stellar, buff singletrack, you will not get that on this ride.  However, if you are in search of solitude and some of the amazing views that define Eastern Sierra adventure riding, this ride will please you and then some.  

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-technical, moderately strenuous climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in late Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: 4×4 roads and dirt roads (soft/sandy in sections) with the last 2.6 miles on pavement.
  • Access: From Lee Vining, head 5 miles south on Highway 395 to the Junction with Hwy 120 towards Benton.  Drive past the Mono Mills historic site and continue all the way to the top of Sagehen Summit (there is a sign).  Park off on the dirt at the junction with froad 1N02.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 17.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,283′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,031′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,896′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or Plus Bike (29er or 27.5 with 3″ tires).  You can do it on a traditional mountain bike as well, but it’s not as enjoyable through the sandy sections, and you might be hiking your bike at times.
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading south on the wide dirt road 1N02 towards Sagehen Meadows.  You’ll have a gradual climb with some steeper bits mixed in.
4.0 – Reach the high point of the ride.  Yahoo.  Get some rest on the peaceful descent towards Wild Horse Meadow.
4.5 – Stay on 1N02 towards Johnny Meadows.  You’ll stay on 1N02, continuing past the junction with Johnny Meadows Rd
7.9 – Left on 1N02T
8.1 – After a short descent, go left at the T. You are now on 29E104 (called 29E03 on older maps).
10.0 – Continue straight, the road turns into 1S15A
11.8 – Creek crossing
13.3 – Continue straight
13.9 – Another creek crossing, then continue straight passed the old corral
14.6 – Go left on Hwy 120, and enjoy the final pavement climb back to Sagenhen Summit.
17.2 – Ride ends.  Drink beer.

Sagehen Summit Loop - Map

Sagehen Summit Loop – Map

Saghen Summit Loop - Elevation Profile

Saghen Summit Loop – Elevation Profile

A quick stop in Sagehen Meadows before continuing towards Sagehen Peak (visible to the left).

A quick stop in Sagehen Meadows before continuing towards Sagehen Peak (visible to the left).

Great views of the valleys near the Glass Mountains.

Great views of the valleys near the Glass Mountains.

Taking a quick break before continuing towards Johnny Meadows.

Taking a quick break before continuing towards Johnny Meadows.

Views towards Granite Mountain and Cowtrack Mountain with the Bodie Hills beyond.

Views towards Granite Mountain and Cowtrack Mountain.


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: Little Antelope Valley Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a strenuous loop that is just across the highway from Mammoth Lakes.  If you are looking for something different, want to give your lungs some work, and enjoy serenity with outstanding views – give this ride a shot.  If this ride is intriguing to you, but you want something a little shorter – try the Casa Diablo Overlook Ride – it’s very similar.  You can also tack on a little more climbing to this ride by including the short (but steep) out and back to the Casa Diablo Overlook.  If you want an epic day in the saddle, Big Smokey Loop and Little Smokey Loop connect with this route as well.  Confused?  Contact us and we’ll dial in a ride to suit you.

The Little Antelope Valley loop has three main climbs, and each is rewarded with spectacular views and smiley descents.  You start with a mild climb to get your blood pumping as you make your way around the backside of the the local geothermal plant.  As described in the Casa Diablo Overlook Ride, this is where Casa Diablo once existed.  From there, you continue climbing towards Little Antelope Valley before a speedy descent towards the valley floor.  You’re greeted with views to the Chalk Bluffs and Long Valley Caldera as you descend.  You then head south and climb some more, before the views open up again and you descend on the west side of the Hot Creek Gorge (should be short for “gorge”ous).  After making your way past an active geothermal pool (“The Jacuzzi) one last climb awaits.  The ride finishes with a short but sweet section of rarely ridden singletrack.  This last piece of ST is mostly rideable, but you’ll probably have to dismount once or twice – during a tight switchback and some techy bits.  Next thing you know, you’re back at the car wishing you took more photos.

Overall, the terrain can tend to be on the sandy side in sections (especially in the summer), so this is a great ride for fat bikes or 29+ bikes.  You can do it on a regular mountain bike, but be prepared for some sandy hike-a-bike sections.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderate to Strenuous Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go east on the 203 (away from Mammoth) towards the geothermal plant.  Make a right turn on Old Highway 395.  After approximately 0.2 miles look for a dirt parking lot on your left.  Park here, this is where the ride starts.
  • Length: 14.7 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,070′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,727′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,782′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or 29+ because of the sandy sections, but any mountain bike will suffice.
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Since this route isn’t signed, and it makes its way through a spaghetti network of OHV trails, we’re not going to post turn by turn directions.  We’d prefer you contact us for the gpx track/ map, which will set you up for success.

Little Antelope Valley  Loop - Map.

Little Antelope Valley Loop – Map.

Little Antelope Valley Loop - Elevation Profile.

Little Antelope Valley Loop – Elevation Profile.

Antelope Valley Road covered in some fresh snow.

Antelope Valley Road covered in some fresh snow.

One of the many fantastic views to Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest.

One of the many fantastic views to Mt. Morrison and the Sierra Crest.

A little geothermal well we've named "The Jacuzzi" that you'll pass along this route.

A little geothermal well we’ve named “The Jacuzzi” that you’ll pass along this route.

Hunter enjoying some of glorious views along the Little Antelope Valley Loop.

Hunter enjoying some of glorious views along the Little Antelope Valley Loop.


Ride Report: Wagon Wheel Trail – Near Mammoth Lakes, CA

Wagon Wheel Trail is a fun little piece of trail that descends rapidly from Swall Meadows Rd. until it connects with Lower Rock Creek Rd.  As the name suggests, it used to be an old wagon trail that has deteriorated over the years.  It can get loose and sandy in sections.  There are also extended sections of slickrock and various rock gardens that make this very fun on a full suspension rig.  Not many people climb it, but if you’re a climber who likes some technical challenge with a bunch of fun slickrock step-ups, give it a shot both ways.  Most people connect it with the Sand Canyon Trail to add a little more descending and mileage. Since it’s only 2 miles, and it’s over pretty quickly, it’s not usually ridden on its own.  It’s often gets overlooked by the nearby Lower Rock Creek Trail, but if you’re shuttling LRC, it’s worth it to hit Wagon Wheel either before or after, since you drive right by it.

  • Ride Type: Point to Point – as described here
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/advanced descending skills required. Some technical rock gardens and sandy sections.
  • Time of Year: Late Spring (once snow melts off), Summer and Fall – sometimes rideable during Winter as well, depending on snow pack.
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly singletrack, with some deteriorated doubletrack.
  • Access: Heading south on Lower Rock Creek Road (also called Old Sherwin Grade on some maps), turn right on Swall Meadows Rd.  Drive approximately 0.15 miles and there will be a dirt pullout on your left.  The trail starts here.  It is unsigned.
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 10-20 minutes
  • Lowest Elevation: 5,274′
  • Highest Elevation: 6,192′
  • Total Elevation Loss: 879′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a fat bike
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – No directions for this one.  Simply stay on the trail until it ends by merging with Lower Rock Creek Rd. after 2 miles.  If your shuttle ride is waiting for you, jump in.  Otherwise, ride back up the road, or if your lungs and legs are up for it, ride back up the trail.

Wagon Wheel Map.

Wagon Wheel Map.

Wagon Wheel Elevation Profile.

Wagon Wheel Elevation Profile.

A dusk ride down Wagon Wheel Trail.  Gorgeous views to Round Valley and the Tungsten Hills near Bishop.

A dusk ride down Wagon Wheel Trail. Gorgeous views to Round Valley and the Tungsten Hills near Bishop.


Ride Report: Laurel Settling Ponds Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

Cruising around the Laurel Settling Ponds is a peaceful ride to do pretty much year round.  It’s nice in the Summer on dirt, and it’s usually rideable in the Winter on snow with a fat bike (trucks and snowmobiles tend to pack this area out nicely).  The views are spectacular in every direction – Mammoth, The Sherwins, Crowley Lake, The Glass Mountains, etc. and the settling ponds themselves are very scenic.  It’s pretty mellow cruising, with hardly any elevation gain.  Great to take the dog on a leisurely outing.  If you’re looking for more, you can link this the Sherwin Creek/Mammoth Creek Rd. ride.  There’s also ample opportunity to explore the many forest service roads in this area, and you can head all the way to Convict Lake.  Contact us with any questions about putting a great ride together.

  • Ride Type: Lollipop (as described here – many variations exist)
  • Difficulty: Non-technical, mild exertion
  • Time of Year: All year (as long as trucks and OSV’s have packed the snow in the winter, you can ride with a Fat Bike)
  • Terrain/Conditions: 4×4 roads and doubletrack
  • Access: From the town of Mammoth Lakes, drive down Highway 203 towards Highway 395.  Just before getting on the 395 south, there’s a turnoff on Mammoth Creek Rd.  There’s a small parking area here, and oftentimes a Winter closure gate once the snow flies.  Park here and start riding south.
  • Length: 9.1 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1-2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,115′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,258′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 305′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike during Summer/Fall or Fat Bike at low psi during Winter / snow
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn By Turn Directions (coming soon): – For now, just go out and explore.  It’s hard to get lost, as you can always see landmarks and you’re never far from Sherwin Creek Road or Highway 395.

Settling Ponds - Ride Map

Settling Ponds – Ride Map

Settling Ponds - Elevation Profile

Settling Ponds – Elevation Profile

Jen, cruising around the Laurel Settling Ponds on her custom steel 616 fat bike.

Jen, cruising around the Laurel Settling Ponds on her custom steel 616 fat bike.

A quaint little bridge that crosses over Sherwin Creek.

A quaint little bridge that crosses over Sherwin Creek.

Making some fresh tracks around the settling ponds.

Making some fresh tracks around the settling ponds.

A gorgeous view back to Mammoth Mountain

A gorgeous view back to Mammoth Mountain

The road less traveled - by bike.

The road less traveled – by bike.

 


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.

 

 


Ride Report: Yost Meadows Trail – June Lake, CA

Yost Meadows Trail is one of the most under-rated and overlooked trails around. It’s super easy to access, with parking right off the June Lake Loop.  The first mile or so is brutal climbing, with no warmup, that usually involves serious granny-gear pounding or hike-a-bike if you’re on a singlespeed (like me).  But the views you get of June Lake and Gull Lake make you forget that you’re wheezing and gasping for dear life. Take a moment to soak it in. The climbing mellows a bit after this point as you spin through alpine meadows and aspen groves.  By this point, you’re probably imagining how much bliss this singletrack will be on the way back down!  Eventually you enter the ski area- and the trail descends a little before crossing under the lift and climbing some more. The trail is usually pretty easy to follow, but it might be good to load the gpx file (contact us to request the file) especially if any snow has fallen.  Also, you must be aware that you have to stop at 3.6 miles and turn around. There is a boundary here for the Owens Headwaters Wilderness Area and bikes are strictly prohibited past this point. Last time we rode it, there was no visible “Wilderness Boundary Sign” so it’s on you to be responsible.  You MUST NOT RIDE YOUR BIKE IN THE WILDERNESS AREA.  We recommend using an app on your phone or carry a GPS device so that you can track your mileage. Feel free to park the bike and continue hiking past this point.  By foot, you can get to Yost Lake and Fern Lake – both great spots to eat some grub and relax.  Anyhoo, once you turn around, it’s pretty much rip-roaring downhill fun all the way back to the car.  There are hikers once in a while, so be wary – and remember to stay in control in the exposed areas and steep switchbacks.  Now go ride!

Note: The best part of the trail (arguably) is the 2.2 miles from the parking area to the ski area – so that’s a good turnaround point as well, if you want to cut the ride a little short or don’t want to mess with getting near the Wilderness Boundary

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty:  Advanced climbing and descending skills required.  This is a lung-buster climb with exposed descents.
  • Time of Year:  Summer and Fall (possibly early Winter/ late Spring depending on snowfall)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack, with some loose/sandy sections
  • Access: From Mammoth, take Highway 395 north for 20 miles to the southern turnoff for the June Lake Loop (Hwy 158).  Drive for about 2 miles.  You’ll reach the Fire Station and the Balancing Boulder on the right side of the road.  The dirt parking lot is on the left, directly across from the fire station.  You’ll see the trail sign. 
  • Length: 7.2 miles total (3.6 to the Owens Headwaters Wilderness Boundary)
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 3 hours, depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,718′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,250′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,678′ (with around 1,500′ coming in the first 3.6 miles – ouch!)
  • Bike Recommendation: Lightweight XC mountain bike is best. Full suspension or hardtail.  If riding after snow has fallen, a fat bike might be best 🙂
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • More Info:  Check out the Mountain Biking Mammoth Book

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading up from the trailhead sign (see photo).  You’ll quickly pass by a large kiosk with a map.  The trail is wide at first, but narrows soon.  The climbing is relentless.
.75 – The climbing starts to ease up, but is still tough.  You leave the exposed mountainside and head inward a bit.  The riding gets a little easier, but the views are diminished.
2.2 – Reach the Ski Area.  Here you merge with a wide ski run and descend for a short bit.  Look to your left and find the singletrack.  Jump on this and start climbing again.  This area of the trail is sometimes faint, but more recently has been defined well by rocks, etc.
2.9 – Cross a small creek
3.6 – Reach the Wilderness Boundary.  Turn around here and retrace your ride back to the car.  Enjoy the sweet trip back – you earned these turns!!

Map of Yost Meadows Trail to the Wilderness Boundary

Map of Yost Meadows Trail to the Wilderness Boundary

Elevation Profile for the climb

Elevation Profile for the climb

Gorgeous view of Gull Lake as you're climbing the mountainside

Gorgeous view of Gull Lake as you’re climbing the mountainside

Stop for a breather.  Sweet view of June Lake

Stop for a breather. Sweet view of June Lake

Sweet section going through an aspen grove

Sweet section going through an aspen grove

Junction with the Ski Trail

Junction with the Ski Trail

Pretty meadow near Yost Lake - You can only hike here, it's past the Wilderness Boundary

Pretty meadow near Yost Lake – You can only hike here, it’s past the Wilderness Boundary

This map from the Mountain Biking Mammoth Book (which was approved by the USFS) shows the Wilderness Boundary very clearly

This map from the Mountain Biking Mammoth Book (which was approved by the USFS) shows the Wilderness Boundary very clearly

 


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: Uptown / Downtown – Public (Short) Loop – No Bike Park

One of the staples for Mammoth locals and visitors alike.  At some point, everyone rides “Uptown – Downtown”.  It can either be a great introduction to mountain biking, or an all out lung-buster if you really push it.  The version described here is for the “short” loop which goes up to the Earthquake Fault Junction and does not include the portion that enters the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.  You CAN do this ride without purchasing a bike park ticket.  If you have a bike park pass/ticket, and you’re looking for a longer loop, consider the Uptown/Downtown Full Loop on the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park Map.  Another option is to cross Highway 203 at the Earthquake Fault Junction and continue climbing up Mountain View Trail (a great out and back that is also free to the public without need for a bike park ticket), and then connect back with Downtown.  If you’re having trouble figuring out what to ride, or the best way to connect these trails into a ride that suits your style/ability, contact us – and we’ll help you construct a ride that’s right for you!!

WINTER SNOW RIDING:

We started “fatpacking” this loop on snowshoes for winter snowriding.  When it’s packed, this is the best singletrack snow riding in Mammoth.  If you’re in Mammoth during Winter months and are looking to ride this on your fat bike, contact us first to see if it’s been packed and get an update on current trail conditions.

  • Ride Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Minimally Technical, Moderate Climbing, Fast Descending
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall for mountain biking, Winter and Spring when we snowshoe pack it for fat bike use.
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly singletrack, although Downtown is wider with doubletrack in sections and tends to get sandy in parts with brake bumps in the turns.
  • Access: Go up Main St through Mammoth Lakes.  Make a right turn on Minaret Rd/ Highway 203.  The Village will be on your left, and The Village Parking Lot will be on your right.  Park here.  Ride up to the intersection of Minaret and Forest Trail.  The trailhead is well signed and just ahead on your left.
  • Length: 3.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 30 min – 1 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,052′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,531′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 498′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, pretty much any bike will do.  Be prepared to pedal!
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – start climbing the Uptown Trail (the one on the right).  Get into a good rhythm, as you’ll be climbing for a while.

1.9 – reach the Earthquake Fault Junction.  Go left here to get on Downtown and start descending back to The Village.  If you’re connecting with Mountain View Trail, go right and cross Highway 203 to the Mountain View Trailhead.  If you continue going up here, you’ll be in the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park where a ticket/pass is necessary.

3.8 – reach the end of the loop where you started.

Uptown- Downtown Map

Uptown- Downtown Map

Uptown Trailhead in Summer

Uptown Trailhead in Summer

The Earthquake Fault Trail Junction.  This is the turnaround point.  Going past that barricade takes you into the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

The Earthquake Fault Trail Junction. This is the turnaround point. Going past that barricade takes you into the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

A fun section on the Downtown Trail

A fun section on the Downtown Trail

Uptown Trailhead in Winter

Uptown Trailhead in Winter

Uptown on the Fat Bike in Winter

Uptown on the Fat Bike in Winter

"2014 Person of the Year" and dear friend Kathy, getting fat!!Taking a break to do some trail cleanup by the Scenic Loop turnoff. Angela wins the "First Time Fattie Best Smile Award"!