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

Posts tagged “mammoth

Ride Report: Bald Mountain Summit

This ride is not technically challenging.  The terrain is graded fire road.  The climbing is pretty gradual with one tough climb at the end.  What makes it rewarding is the spectacular 360 degree views at the top of Bald Mountain.  There’s a two-story building a.k.a. the “Lookout” at the top.    On a clear day, you can see miles in all directions: Glass Flow Ridge, Mono Lake, Mono Craters, Bodie Hills, White Mountains, Casa Diablo, Crowley Lake, The Palisades, Bloody Mountain, Mammoth Mountain, The Minarets, Ritter, Banner, etc.  We highly recommend bringing some maps so you can point out all of the marvelous sights.  In addition to the two-story, modern “Lookout” there is an old cabin and outhouse up top – worth taking a gander at.

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/snow on Fat Bike if conditions are right)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Gravel/graded dirt roads.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go 11.5 miles north of Mammoth Lakes, just past Deadmans Summit.  Make a right turn, and park in the provided area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 22.7 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,946′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,104′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,578′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Start by heading east on the dirt road (IS05)

1.73- stay straight
3.5- at the old sign, veer right at the Y
5.1- veer left at the Y
6.45- stay straight
7.0- stay straight on the main rd
7.3- veer right
9.36- stay straight on 1S05
9.7- veer right
11.3- reach the summit (retrace these steps to get back to your car)

Just one of the beautiful views you'll find at the summit.

Just one of the beautiful views you’ll find at the summit.

posing for proof

Posing for proof

Ride Map

Ride Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Rarely Ridden Gem of the Eastern Sierra – Glass Mountain Traverse

Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

I was chatting with my friend Jen a while back.   We were going back and forth brainstorming great fall rides that encompass the majesty of our home area.  The whole process of planning out future epic rides is one of my favorite parts of exploratory adventure riding.  I do love day dreaming about epic rides… Oh, yeah… forgot what I was writing about for a minute… (as the white fluffy is falling out my window right now)…

Out of nowhere, Jen asked, “You ever done the Glass Mountain Traverse?” After a moment to ponder, I stuttered “Um, no.  Don’t think I have.  I’ve ridden up and down Glass Mountain Ridge, but never heard of the traverse.”

That was all it took.  Jen dangled a few more pieces of power bait in front of me.  She’d done this ride a handful of times and was eager to share it.  I…

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40 Miles of Fatty Fun: Mono Lake Loop Ride

Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

“Flat” rides usually kinda suck.  Just my opinion.  I wanna be going up or going down with emphasis on the later.  F-L-A-T equals B-O-R-I-N-G.  Tedious, mundane, monotonous, stale… whatever you wanna call it.  Especially on a singlespeed, where you just spin out while your buddies are clickin’ away up to the big ring.

Ah ha!  Revelation.  Fat bikes take the “flat” out of flat rides.  Rides that were once impossible on mountain bikes, or considered drab and toturous if possible, have the possibility of being enjoyable with 4 inches of tire and 5 psi of pressure.

A couple years ago, I never would’ve considered riding my bike around Mono Lake.  It’s sandy.  It’s mostly double track and forest service roads.  Pretty much deal killers for a singletrack snob.  I don’t know anybody that enjoys walking their bike through beaches and dunes.  Yeah, I know… it’s a gorgeous lake.  But that’s…

View original post 282 more words


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

photo(1)

Starkweather Trail Map

Starkweather Trail Map

Starkweather Elevation Profile

Starkweather Elevation Profile


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

Map

Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Little Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is an fairly easy ride for most riders.  You can ride it by itself if you’re short on time, or use it as a warm-up for Big Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain LoopAlso nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride if you want an epic day of riding in this area.  You can ride two or all three of these together if you seek a little more challenge.  They all use the same staging area.  No matter how you do it, Little Smokey offers up some majestic views of the Sherwins, San Joaquin Ridge, The Minarets and Mammoth Mountain area.

  • Ride Type:  Loop (clockwise as we describe it)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal 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 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,627′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,921′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 332′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, 29+, pretty much any bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

This ride starts off very moderately, and continues that way.  The climbing is gradual, and the descending is fun with a couple sandy areas here and there.  Once you turn right on 3S13 (at 1.2 miles), the views open up, and you’ll forget you’re climbing. Don’t forget to gaze to the right and remember why you’re in the Eastern Sierra!! Turn by Turn (in miles): 0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left .34 – continue straight on 3S04 .54 – continue straight on 3S04 .89 – continue straight on 3S04 1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Go right on 3S13 (continuing straight on 3S04 will take you on Big Smokey Loop and Lookout Mountain Loop) 1.8 – hit a junction, stay right.  There are some gorgeous views to your right, don’t forget to look!! 3.54 – veer right and head down the sandy Power Line Rd 3.75 – veer right again, staying on the Power Line Rd 4 – veer right on 3S38 4.1 – continue right yet again, staying on the main road from here on out – you will descend into Smokey Bear Flat and return back to kiosk where you began – 6 miles total.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

Map

Map


Ride Report: Big Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a moderately strenuous loop for most riders.  However, if you want more, you can combo platter it with Little Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain Loop.  Also nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride which could make an epic day of riding in this area.  All three rides stage from the same area and you can craft your own super duper loop.  Big Smokey offers up fantastic views of Bald Mountain and the Owens River Valley early in the ride.  The classic way to ride it (and the way we describe it) is to do it clockwise.  As you head farther south, you see a chalk mine to your left as well as Antelope and Glass Mountains.  Later on as you start heading back west, The Sherwins, Laurel Mountain, McGee Mountain and Mt. Morrison present themselves.  Overall, a relaxing ride with moderate climbs to and descents to keep you alert while you zen out.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderate Climbing and Descending
  • 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 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 13.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,256′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,815′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,096′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or 29+ for the sandy sections, but pretty much any mountain bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left
.34 – continue straight on 3S04
.54 – continue straight on 3S04
.89 – continue straight on 3S04
1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Continue straight (going right will take you on Little Smokey Loop).
1.45 – stay straight/left during descent
2.5 – stay straight and start climbing
3.55 – stay straight on 3S12
4.4 – continue straight
5.85 – make a right on 3S43- it comes up quick during a fast descent, don’t miss it!  start climbing…
6.45 – veer right
7.0 – curve left, stay on 3S43
7.34 curve left again and climb
8.66 – go right
9.54 – right on 3S59
9.9 – go straight then curve left
10.4 – go straight/left
10.8 – at the T make left then quick right, head down power line rd.
11 – veer right continue following the power lines
11.2 go right, continue on this trail and it will take you back to Smokey Bear Flats and eventually the staging area
where the ride ends at 13.2 miles

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Stellar Views

Stellar Views

Map

Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Lower Rock Creek Trail Day – Saturday, Sept. 28th, 2013

Having fun on the third section of Lower Rock Creek

Having fun on the third section of Lower Rock Creek

This year, National Public Lands Day falls on Saturday, September 28th.  To celebrate, we are co-sponsoring a great trail work day on one of our beloved local trails – Lower Rock Creek Mountain Bike Trail.  We are collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Friends of the Inyo, and International Mountain Bike Association.

We need volunteers- especially mountain bikers: So we can prove that we care about our trails, as we try to foster a relationship with land managers in an effort to expand and enhance our riding opportunities in the Inyo National Forest.  This is a great opportunity to give back, and demonstrate solidarity in the mountain biking community.

Fat Bike Mammoth will be providing sandwiches and beverages (beer, soda, water) for lunch.  We are offering shuttles to the top of the trail for anybody that wants to ride the trail after work is done.  So bring your bike and get shreddy!!

We will also be coordinating carpooling efforts by meeting in the Footloose parking lot at 8am, where we’ll sort out transportation, etc.  If you’d like to carpool, please let us know.

Event Details:

  • When: 9/28/13 – Breakfast at 8:30am (bagels and coffee provided).  Trail work from 9a-12:30p
  • Where:  Staging is at the lower parking area of Lower Rock Creek Trail (former Paradise Lodge)
  • What:  We’ll be focusing our efforts on the lowest section – cutting back brush, clearing tread, maintaining wooden bridges, clearing trash, etc.

Other Notes:

  • Water and snacks will be provided (in addition to breakfast and lunch).  Please bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Please wear hiking shoes or boots, long sleeve shirt, and long pants.  If planning to ride your bike after, bring riding clothes to change into, helmet, etc
  • For more info, contact: Kirstin Heins, BLM Recreation Planner: 760-872-5034 / kheins@blm.gov

Click Here to Download the Official Event Flyer

See Ya There!!!


Ride Report: Lookout Mountain Loop

Depending on the time of year, and how many motorized vehicles have been on it, this trail can tend to be sandy in parts, but usually almost completely rideable.  The Power Line Rd. back towards the kiosk/ride start usually has the worst sand.  If you have a fat bike, this is a good ride for it.  You’ll get some stunning views at the top:  Mammoth Mountain, The Ritters, McGee, Mt. Morrison, San Joaquin Ridge, Deadman Summit, etc – you get the point.  If you’re looking for more riding, you can combine this ride with Big Smokey Loop and/or Little Smokey Loop which start at the same staging area.

  • Ride Type:  Loop with an Out and Back portion on Lookout Mountain
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous Climbing
  • 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 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 11.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5- 2 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,375′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,350′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,399′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike, XC Mountain Bike

This ride starts off very moderately, with a gradual climb to get the legs warmed up.  Once you pass the turnoff for Little Smokey Loop you have a fun descent that takes you to Dry Creek where you squiggle across the valley and start gradually climbing again.  Enjoy this this easy portion of the ride, because once you hit the sharp right turn for Lookout Mountain, you’ve got a couple miles of tough climbing and then you hit the top!  The views along the way and at the top are well worth the grunt.  At the top, remains of what used to be a summit sign is now just smashed concrete with a Jack Daniels bottle on it (last time I was there).  Regardless, it’s worth drinking some water and soaking in the views for a bit… before descending back down at warp speed and navigating through beach sand on the Powerline Rd as you complete your loop.  Salute.

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left
.34 – continue straight on 3S04
.54 – continue straight on 3S04
.89 – continue straight on 3S04
1.2 – hit a trail junction- continue straight/left on 3S04 (going right on 3S13 will take you on Little Smokey Loop)
2.5 – veer left and cross the Lower Dry Creek Flat open area (going straight will take you on Big Smokey Loop)
3.54 – go left at T (3S06), where there’s a sign directing you towards Lookout Mountain (see photo).
4.7 – veer right, continuing on 3S06
5.2 – keep your eyes peeled for a faint “Lookout Mountain” sign (see photo).  Make the hairpin right turn on 2S02, and begin the climb to the top of Lookout Mountain.
6.7 – continue straight (don’t veer right at 3S02A/ dead end sign)
7.28 – reach the defunct summit sign which is now just a pile of rubble.  Continue looping around to left and start descending the way you came.
9.4 – merge with 3S06 and go right
9.54 – continue straight on 3S06 at 4-way junction
10.3 – go left before you hit Highway 395. You’ll soon merge with a sandy power line road.  Continue up and down some short climbs, until you arrive back at the kiosk at mile 11.8

go left at this T, following the sign towards Lookout Mountain

go left at this T, following the sign towards Lookout Mountain

The sign at the hairpin right turn that starts the climb up 2S02 to the top

The sign at the hairpin right turn that starts the climb up 2S02 to the top

lots of obsidian rocks all over the place at the summit

lots of obsidian rocks all over the place at the summit

at the summit, with a broken Jack Daniels bottle where the sign used to be

at the summit, with a broken Jack Daniels bottle where the sign used to be

lookout_mountain_maplookout_mountain_elevation


Ride Report: Laurel Lakes Ride – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This ride will kick your ass. If it doesn’t, than you’re not human. In the Summer, it’s one of the toughest climbs in the Eastern Sierra. It’s actually easier to ride on snow than it is on dirt. The road is very loose and rocky and hard as heck to keep traction on in the Summer. Definitely more enjoyable in the Winter. Why do it? It’s beautiful! You’re a nut who loves pain. Once you get over the switchbacks and your in the Laurel Lakes Basin, you’re surrounded by amazing views, most prominently Bloody Couloir. Simply gorgeous.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Brutal climbing for very fit riders
  • Time of Year: All year (as long as OSV’s have packed the snow in the winter, you can ride with a Fat Bike)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Dirt roads and a steep jeep road in Summer/Fall or snow in Winter/Spring
  • Access: From the 395, a couple miles south of Mammoth Lakes, turn off at Sherwin Creek Rd. Park your car here, or drive up Sherwin Creek Rd as far as you can (depending on snow).
  • Length: 9.4 miles from intersection of Sherwin Creek Rd and Laurel Lakes Rd.
  • Approx. Time: 3-4 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but brutal – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,319′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,083′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,764′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike during Summer/Fall or Fat Bike at low psi is the only option for riding this in the snow
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

First off, make sure you’ve got a lot of water and nutrition. You don’t wanna bonk up at 9-10,000′. From wherever you parked, make your way to the Laurel Lakes Rd. turnoff, pictured below. It’s pretty deceiving when you’re there. The climb doesn’t look too steep or long. But once you get riding, you’re like an ant. You better hope the snowmobiles have packed the trail well if riding on snow, and you’re doing it in good conditions, otherwise, you might just wanna do the Sherwin Creek Rd/ Mammoth Creek Rd Loop instead. The first straightaway isn’t to horrible, but once you get to the switchbacks you’ll be sucking for any oxygen you can find. Keep pushing. Once you’re at the top of the switchbacks, the hardest part is over. There’s some flats and a short descent to recover, as you head into the basin. From here, the snowmobile tracks might divert from the road for a bit, just stay with them, and they should get back to the road. It’s a moderate climb with tough shorter punchy bouts mixed in. It’s a grind. Take it as far as the snowmobile tracks will let you. If on dirt, you can go all the way to the Wilderness Boundary at around 4.5 miles. If you can get there, you are a BEAST! Sit down, enjoy your PB&J. Listen to the sounds of nothing but you and your jaw cracking. Life is good. Turn around, and head down before your legs seize and the whole way down you’ll realize why your friends think you’re insane. Because you are. You just climbed 2,700′ on a bike, in only 4.5 miles. Pat self on back.

Sierra Wave Sunrise.

Sierra Wave Sunrise.

Riding up Sherwin Creek Rd to the Laurel Lakes turnoff

Riding up Sherwin Creek Rd to the Laurel Lakes turnoff

Here we go.  This is the start of the end!

Here we go. This is the start of the end!

Looking ahead as you get close to the switchbacks.  Hard to believe that one snowmobile track is all it takes for a bike to get traction on a climb this steep!

Looking ahead as you get close to the switchbacks. Hard to believe that one snowmobile track is all it takes for a bike to get traction on a climb this steep!

The hardest is behind you, but you've still got A long ways to go.  The views of Bloody Couloir should keep you going.

The hardest is behind you, but you’ve still got A long ways to go. The views of Bloody Couloir should keep you going.

Taking a break on the super fun descent down.  Keep your front wheel light!!

Taking a break on the super fun descent down. Keep your front wheel light!!

View from the top of the first set of switchbacks.

View from the top of the first set of switchbacks.

laurel_lakes_map laurel_lakes_elevation


Ride Report: Mammoth Creek / Sherwin Creek Loop

This is probably the best snow biking loop in town if you’re going to choose one ride to do on a fat bike in Winter.  It’s also a mellow Fall/Summer ride on a mountain bike.  It starts with a moderate descent and some flats to warm your legs up on Mammoth Creek Rd .  Then you’ve got a nice, gradual climb back up Sherwin Creek Rd.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty:  Moderate with gradual climbing
  • Time of Year: All year
  • Terrain/Conditions: Summer/Fall – dirt roads, singletrack, bike path.  Winter/Spring – 95% snow, firm OSV & snowshoe packed
  • Access: From town, take Old Mammoth Rd. to Sherwin Creek Rd. (across from Mammoth Creek Park).  Go down Sherwin Creek Rd for 1/2 mile, turn right near the big propane tanks and park here.
  • Length: 10.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5- 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,216′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,872′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 703′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike in Summer/ Fall or Fat Bike in Winter/Spring
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Once you’ve parked, start pedaling back up Sherwin Creek Rd. to Old Mammoth Rd.  Make a right turn, and in 50′ turn right on the Mammoth Creek trail.  Stay on the trail for about 1/2 mile before reaching an intersection.  At the intersection stay right onto Mammoth Creek Rd.  If you go straight, you’ll stay on the town bike path – so make sure to stay right.  Once on Mammoth Creek Rd, it’s a no-brainer.  Continue down the road, while spying the White Mountains straight ahead, and the Sherwins, Laurel Lakes area and Bloody Mountain to the right.  If riding on snow, try to do this ride in the morning while the snow is firm.  It’s pretty exposed and gets sun affected easily.  Once down at the bottom, you get very close to the 395 highway.  Make sure to turn right and continue to the intersection with Sherwin Creek Rd.  Enjoy a mellow climb with more outstanding views.  You’ll pass by the turn-off to the Laurel Lakes Ride on the left.  If you have a death wish, you might want to add this lung-busting ride to your current loop.  If not, continue up past the YMCA camp, into a shaded, tree-lined section.  Once you pop out from the trees, you’ll get views of Mammoth Mountain, Lincoln Mountain, and Mammoth Rock.  Shortly after passing the trailhead for Mammoth Rock Trail on your left, you’ll approach your car, and think to yourself, “FAT BIKES ROCK”.  If you’ve still got gas in your proverbial tank, try adding on The Meadows Ride.  You might also consider doing the Meadows Ride first as a warmup.

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Taking a break on Sherwin Creek Rd.

Taking a break on Sherwin Creek Rd.


Ride Report: McGee Canyon near Mammoth Lakes, CA

If you’re in the mood for a moderate ride with magical alpine scenery, this fits the bill. In the Summer, this is a boring paved & gravel road ride, but with snow on the road, it’s actually fun. Snowmobiles travel the route often, so conditions tend to be pretty favorable to fat bikes.

  • Ride Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate with some gradual climbing
  • Time of Year: All year – it is a great fat biking ride when the snow has been packed by snowmobiles
  • Terrain/Conditions: Paved and gravel roads in Summer/Fall, snow-covered roads in Winter/Spring
  • Access: From Mammoth Lakes Junction of Hwy 203 and 395, head south on 395 for 9 miles to the McGee Creek exit. Go west across Crowley Lake Dr. and park off the road (or where the road stops being plowed in Winter/Spring)
  • Length: 6.6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1-2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,000′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,050′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,100′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike or Fat Bike for snowy conditions
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

The ride starts with a subtle climb to get your blood flowing, and starts to steepen after 1/4 mile. The next mile is the toughest slog of the ride, so power through it. After going around a big “S” curve, the pitch lessens slightly, and you arrive at the McGee Creek Campground around 1.5 miles. Look around at the beautiful peaks and glacial moraines as you continue a steady climb up to the McGee Pack Station. The pavement ends here (not that you’d know because you’re riding on snow!!). Keep heading up the road until you reach a large kiosk. This is the McGee Creek trailhead, and the end of the ride for you. Bicycles and vehicles of any kind are prohibited past the Wilderness Boundary. You’ll notice the snowmobile tracks end here. So take a moment, soak it in, and head back down a beautiful descent. You get great views of the White Mountains and Crowley Lake. Enjoy.

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About 1.5 miles into the ride - McGee Campground. Amazing views abound.

About 1.5 miles into the ride – McGee Campground. Amazing views abound.

Mountainous views through my Holy Rolling Daryl wheels.

Mountainous views through my Holy Rolling Daryl wheels.

Looking back towards the 395 highway. 360 degree views on this ride.

Looking back towards the 395 highway. 360 degree views on this ride.