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Posts tagged “mountain biking

Ride Report: Lower Rock Creek Trail

Lower Rock Creek Trail is considered by many to be the BEST mountain biking trail in the Eastern Sierra.  The first two sections are comprised of slithering cross country singletrack that weaves it’s way through aspen groves and some rocky terrain while paralleling the creek.  The third/ final section is more technically demanding, requiring more advanced DH skills to navigate a few technical sections (these sections can easily be walked for more novice riders).  The most popular way to do the complete ride is by shuttling it (as described here).  However, hard core riders can choose to ride it as an out and back, climbing the entire trail from the bottom and then descending back the way they came.  Another popular option is to climb the paved Lower Rock Creek Rd from Paradise and then descend the trail, making a loop.  If you don’t feel like doing the whole ride, or don’t want to attempt the more technical 3rd section, you can alter your ride to just do section one, or one and two, etc – there is parking at the top of section one, top of section two and top of section three as well.

A few notes about the trail – it’s very popular with hikers and fisherman and obviously other mountain bikers.  There are many blind turns.  Be aware, and don’t speed out of control.  It’s mostly ridden downhill, but it is 100% legal for riders to climb it – so remember the uphill riders always have the right of way (as do hikers).  If you have the chance to ride this trail in September/October when the colors are turning it’s absolutely majestic!!!  Stay safe and have fun!!!

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point, as described (although there are many other options as mentioned above)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced descending skills required.  Some technical/ rock gardens and exposed sections with steep drop offs – mainly on the 3rd/final section.  If climbing, it is very strenuous.
  • Time of Year: Late Spring, Summer and Fall
  • Terrain/Conditions: 100% singletrack
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car by the lower trailhead at Paradise.  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).  Shortly after exiting, you’ll see a dirt parking area to your right.  Just across the road to the left is the trailhead for the start of the ride (top of section one).  You’ll be coming back up here to start the ride.  For now, keep driving all the way down Lower Rock Creek Rd.  You’ll pass the parking areas for section two and three, and continue through Swall Meadows and down to Paradise where the bottom trailhead is with a brand new parking area and kiosk.  It’s about 10 miles driving down Lower Rock Creek Rd. from where you turned off the 395.  You can see many sections of the trail on your drive which should get you fired up for the great ride to come.  Once you drop a car at the bottom, head back up the way you came to the top parking area.
  • Length: 8 miles (one way, all three sections)
  • Approx. Time: 45 – 90 minutes (downhill only) – maybe more depending on skills and comfort level
  • Lowest Elevation: 4,954′
  • Highest Elevation: 6,876′
  • Total Elevation Loss: 1,923′
  • 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: Visit the MTB Project Page

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions for this ride, as it’s only one singletrack trail.  After 2.2 miles, you finish the first section and must cross the road and turn right (uphill), and climb up 50 yards to reach the trailhead for section two on your left.  Section two is about 1 mile long.  Then you cross the road again, and the trailhead for section three is about 20 yards down the road on your left.  Section three is about 4.8 miles to the bottom.

Lower Rock Creek Trail Map

Lower Rock Creek Trail Map

Lower Rock Creek Elevation Profile

Lower Rock Creek Elevation Profile

Trailhead sign at the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail

Trailhead sign at the top of Lower Rock Creek Trail

Tasty singletrack and fall colors in an aspen grove on the first section

Tasty singletrack and fall colors in an aspen grove on the first section

More beauty on the Lower Rock Creek Trail

More beauty on the Lower Rock Creek Trail

A fast portion of the third section

A fast portion of the third section

Navigating a small rock garden on the third section

Navigating a small rock garden on the third section

 

 


Ride Report: Mammoth Rock Trail

Mammoth Rock Trail is a quintessential ride that every mtb’er who visits Mammoth Lakes must put on their list!  It’s 95% singletrack with gorgeous views of the town all the way across to the Long Valley Caldera and the White Mountains.  This trail is open to equestrians, hikers, and trail runners – so be aware.  Although many people ride it “down” as a shuttle (described here), you can climb up it, do it as an out and back, or loop it with Old Mammoth Rd (pavement) as well.  It’s also great to link up with the Panorama Dome Trail, coming down from the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park on the Lakes Trail, etc – contact us about putting together a great ride.   The last section right before you reach Sherwin Creek Rd can be pretty sandy, and overall trail conditions vary depending on horse traffic – but all in all, it’s stellar riding, with a few technical sections and some exposure.  Intermediate to advanced descending skills a must.

WINTER RIDING:

This can be a great trail to ride on a fat bike once the snow starts flying.  Early winter, or when there’s not too much snow, it can be amazing.  It tends to be packed well by snowshoers and hikers during the winter holidays.  For more riding, it can be combined with the Old Mammoth Rd Snow Ride and/or the Meadows Ride.  NOTE: Once there has been enough snowfall, the Sherwins (the mountains that the trail traverses) becomes a very popular area for skiing.  Please DO NOT try to ride this trail, or pack the trail for snow riding during these periods.  We don’t want to create any danger for backcountry skiers/snowboarders crossing through!  Not sure about proper riding conditions?  Contact us and we’ll give you the thumbs up or down for snow riding.

  • Ride Type:  Point to Point, as described (although you can out-and-back or loop it with Old Mammoth Rd as well)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced descending skills required.  Some technical/ rock gardens and exposed sections with steep drop offs.  If climbing, it can be fairly strenuous depending on trail conditions.
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Almost all singletrack (doubletrack for the last 1/4 mile before reaching Sherwin Creek Rd)
  • Access: Since this is described as a shuttle, you’ll need to leave one car by the lower trailhead.  From town, go south on Old Mammoth Rd.  Just past Mammoth Creek Park, make a left on Sherwin Creek Rd.  Drive for 1/2 mile and park off to the right by the propane tanks / dog walking area (right before it turns into a dirt road).  Leave one car here.  Head back to Old Mammoth Rd and go left towards Old Mammoth.  You’ll go past Snowcreek Athletic Club approx. 1.5 miles.  After a steep curve to the left, you’ll see a dirt parking area and the trailhead sign on the left.  Park here.
  • Length: 2.6 miles (one way)
  • Approx. Time: 15-30 minutes (downhill only)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,870′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,526′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 281′
  • Bike Recommendation: Full-Suspension MTB is best, but hardtail will work as well, or a Fat Bike too
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us
  • Interactive Trail Map and More Info: Visit MammothTrails.org
  • Link to Strava Segment

Turn By Turn (in miles):

No turn by turn directions for this ride, as it’s only one singletrack trail with no intersections except for one “Y” at the bottom where you stay to the right (even if you go left at the “Y” you’ll still wind up at your car).  Once you hit Sherwin Creek Rd, go left to reach your car at the lower parking area.

Mammoth Rock Trail Map

Mammoth Rock Trail Map

Mammoth Rock Trail elevation profile

Mammoth Rock Trail elevation profile

Views of Mammoth Lakes and the White Mountains from Mammoth Rock Trail

Views of Mammoth Lakes, Glass Mountains and the White Mountains from Mammoth Rock Trail

Mammoth Rock lurking in the background while shredding sweet singletrack

Mammoth Rock lurking in the background while shredding sweet singletrack

Mammoth Rock Trail on a fat bike in early winter

Mammoth Rock Trail on a fat bike in early winter

Riding the Mammoth Rock Trail at dusk on the fat bike - such a beautiful ride.

Riding the Mammoth Rock Trail at dusk on the fat bike – such a beautiful ride.


Ride Report: Shady Rest Park – Hell Hill Loop

If you’re looking for a moderate ride that starts/ends in town, put this on the list.  There’s some fun singletrack, but it’s mostly doubletrack/ jeep roads.  Great views and an excellent cardio workout with two tough climbs.  Most notably the short, but fairly brutal “Hell Hill” climb.  It can be sandy in parts, depending on time of year and motorized use.  This ride is actually the first part of the longer Knolls Loop Ride– so if you decide you want some more, go for it.  But if you’re short on time, and want a nice workout with some rewarding views, this is worth a shot.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Moderately Strenuous
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly 4×4 roads and doubletrack,  soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: As you drive up Main Street towards The Village, make your first right after the signal at Old Mammoth Rd.  This is Forest Trail Rd. (The fire station is on the corner).  100 yards up, look for a small dirt lot on the right.  Park here.  The trailhead is just ahead to the east.
  • Length: 9.3 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,777′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,466′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 929′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC or Fat Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Start out on the “Forest Trail Singletrack” – heading towards Shady Rest Campground:

.47 – veer left, stay on singletrack, then continue straight
.96 – left at intersection.  You are now on the “Knolls Loop”
1.02 – left again, start climbing.  Stay on this main jeep road climb for a while – don’t take any of the off-shoots
2.15 – reach top of climb.  Continue straight (don’t go right down the descent) – you’ll climb a little more
2.31 – you’ll see an entrance to some singletrack.  continue on this fun section, start descending through the trees to the water tank
2.6 – single track ends, continue straight towards water tank then veer right on a jeep road.  stay on this main jeep road for a bit
2.93 – stay on jeep rd as it curves to right
3.22 – left turn at the big T intersection.  you’ll start slowly climbing through softer dirt, eventually it gets pretty steep – this is Hell Hill!!
4.0 – reach the top of Hell Hill.  drink some water, pat yourself on the back and continue on.  it curves right, and you continue up a slight climb
4.46 – veer right at the main intersection- stay on this as it wraps around to the right and descends for a while
5.82 – reach a main intersection.  this is Sawmill Cutoff Rd.  go right to continue with this short loop.  (If you’re looking for a longer ride, turn left and stay on the Knolls Loop Ride.)

7.5 – continue straight at the intersection, then veer right on jeep rd 3S35 –  continuing straight through two more intersections
7.77 – go left (there are two options, take the further left trail).  this will turn into singletrack and you’ll ride by the “rusted old car”.  continue on this singletrack, and soon you’ll be going back on the singletrack you started the ride on
8.55 – veer right on “Forest Trail Singletrack”
9.3 – reach the trailhead

Looking back down Hell Hill towards Bloody Mountain and The Sherwins

Looking back down Hell Hill towards The Sherwins, during a late winter snow ride.  You can see Bloody Couloir to the left 🙂

Hell Hill Loop Map

Hell Hill Loop Map

Hell Hill Loop Elevation Profile

Hell Hill Loop Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Shady Rest Park – Knolls Loop

This is one of the oldest “traditional rides” in the area.  We’ve tweaked it slightly to add a couple sections of fun singletrack (possibly the best parts of the ride).  You can ride it in both directions, but clockwise is preferred for scenery and enjoyability of terrain.  The directions below are for the clockwise route.  There are a few tough climbs, including the locally infamous “Hell Hill”.  There are also some rip-roaring descents, one of which we dub “Mini Kamikaze”.  You also get some great views of the Sherwins, especially when heading southbound on the last half of the ride.  Overall, it’s strenuous, but minimally technical.  There any many options to cut the ride short, including doing the Hell Hill Loop (which is basically the first half of this ride), if you’re not feeling up to a ride this long.  It can be sandy in parts, depending on time of year and motorized use.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Strenuous
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly 4×4 roads and doubletrack,  soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: As you drive up Main Street towards The Village, make your first right after the signal at Old Mammoth Rd.  This is Forest Trail Rd. (The fire station is on the corner).  100 yards up, look for a small dirt lot on the right.  Park here.  The trailhead is just ahead to the east.
  • Length: 16.4 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,615
  • Highest Elevation: 8,466′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,355′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC or Fat Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

Start out on the “Forest Trail Singletrack” – heading towards Shady Rest Campground:

.47 – veer left, stay on singletrack, then continue straight
.96 – left at intersection.  you are now on the “Knolls Loop”
1.02 – left again, start climbing.  Stay on this main jeep road climb for a while – don’t take any of the off-shoots
2.15 – reach top of climb.  Continue straight (don’t go right down the descent) – you’ll climb a little more
2.31 – you’ll see an entrance to some singletrack.  continue on this fun section, start descending through the trees to the water tank
2.6 – single track ends, continue straight towards water tank then veer right on a jeep road.  stay on this main jeep road for a bit
2.93 – stay on jeep rd as it curves to right
3.22 – left turn at the big T intersection.  you’ll start slowly climbing through softer dirt, eventually it gets pretty steep – this is Hell Hill!!
4.0 – reach the top of Hell Hill.  drink some water, pat yourself on the back and continue on.  it curves right, and you continue up a slight climb
4.46 – veer right at the main intersection- stay on this as it wraps around to the right and descends for a while
5.82 – reach a main intersection.  this is Sawmill Cutoff Rd.  go left and then a quick right to start climbing up to the eastern portion of the loop.  (If you’re tired or just feel like cutting it short, you can turn right here, and finish the shorter Hell Hill Loop.)

— The turn by turn directions from this point on have not been completed.  Please email us for the gpx file in the meantime.

 

Knolls Loop Map

Knolls Loop Map

Knolls Loop Elevation Profile

Knolls Loop Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Bodie Abandoned Railroad Loop

If you like historical routes and you like riding your bike in remote areas, this is a great ride for you.  It takes you into the backcountry of the Bodie Hills, has you bushwacking through overgrown sagebrush, and route finding to stay on a portion of the abandoned Bodie Railroad that went to Mono Mills from the 1880’s until it was decommissioned in 1917.  You’ll find traces of those mining days all along the route – old railroad ties, campsites, etc.  Outstanding alpine vistas surround you as you climb the old railroad grade.  Eventually you make your way near the old mining town of Bodie before looping around and descending with fabulous views of Mono Lake and The Sierras.

There is a fair amount of hike-a-bike, as this route is not maintained at all.  There are also sections where the old trail is impossible to follow without incredible mapping skills (assuming you have the old maps with this route on it) or GPS.  We highly recommend using a GPX track if you intend on attempting this ride- or else you’re bound to get turned around out there (contact us for GPX file).

For a much more detailed account of this ride, photos, and an explanation of the railroad history, check out Alan Jacoby’s ride blog.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Strenuous- Climbing (with extended periods of hike-a-bike)
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Old railroad trail and jeep/4×4 roads, usually pretty soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: From Mammoth, get to Highway 395 and head north for about 31 miles (6 miles past Lee Vining).  Make a right on Hwy 167 (Pole Line Rd.) towards Hawthorne.  After approx. 6 miles, turn left on Cottonwood Canyon Rd.  After 1.2 miles, continue right at the T.  After another 0.3 miles, veer right on  Dobie Meadows Rd (a well-maintained dirt road).  Take this road for 5.9 miles, and park at the Lime Kiln (see photo below).
  • Length: 21.6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 4 – 8 hours (depends on conditions and route finding – prepare to be gone all day, just in case)
  • Lowest Elevation: 6,742′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,691′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,176′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike (XC bike will work, but not too fun)
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

We are not including Turn by Turn directions for this ride.  It is way too complicated and the nuances of staying with the very faint rail trail demands the use of a GPX track.  If you do not have a device that can upload and follow a GPX track, we would not attempt this ride.  Also, we would not recommend doing this ride on your own – bring a friend.

The old Lime Kiln.  This is where the ride starts and ends.

The old Lime Kiln. This is where the ride starts and ends.

Eric Hunter, enjoying the ride on his Fatty.

Eric Hunter, enjoying the ride on his Fatty.

Old remnants from the railroad.

Old remnants from the railroad.

Bodie Railroad Loop - Map

Bodie Railroad Loop – Map

Bodie Railroad Loop - Elevation Profile

Bodie Railroad Loop – Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Clover Patch Loop

This ride is not for the faint of heart.  It will test you.  With that caveat, it’s an awesome ride!!  The first portion is identical to the Glass Mountain Ridge Lookout Ride.  If you’re not feeling it, the “Lookout” is a great place to turn around.  Not that we’re trying to promote bailing early, but we just want you to make sure you’re committed before embarking on the complete route.  It’s remote and taxing, so be prepared.

Now – the knitty gritty.  The ride starts at the Watterson Divide (junction of Benton Crossing Rd. and Owens Gorge Rd).  As you start heading north up Glass Mountain Ridge, the views to the west have you craning your neck to Crowley Lake, Laurel Mountain, Bloody Mountain, Mammoth and all that glory.  As you keep grinding your way up, you reach a spot called “Four Trees”.  I don’t know why, I’ve never understood.  Maybe at one point, there were four trees here?  Anyhoo – keep grinding up the ridge.  As you stop to catch your breath on top of one of the many knolls, you can look back to the south for more magical views.  This portion of the ride is filled with steep, short climbs that have you bursting (or hiking) up sandy jeep roads.  You gain a lot of elevation over a short time, so enjoy the mellow first couple miles to warm up.  Eventually, after passing by some satellite dishes and solar panels, you start to traverse around Squaw’s Teet (not named on many maps – but locals know it).  Once on the other side, views to the east open up.  The White Mountains will have your jaw dropping as you slink across Wildrose Canyon and drop into the Clover Patch.  To me, this is the most magical part of the ride.  Enjoy the relaxing cruise through the valley before heading back to “Four Trees” and eventually back to your car.

  • Ride Type:  Lollipop (Loop with out and back)
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Extremely Strenuous- Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Jeep/4×4 roads, usually pretty soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: From Mammoth, get to Highway 395 and head south for 6 miles.  Reach the “Green Church” and make a left on Benton Crossing Rd.  Drive 15 miles to the intersection of Owens Gorge Rd. (4S02).  Park here, in the dirt off to the right.
  • Length: 19.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 3 – 5 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,442′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,877′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 3,578′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike (XC bike will work, but be prepared for lots of hike-a-bike)
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

From your car, cross Benton Crossing Rd. and start riding northeast.
.6- veer left
3.17- reach the top of “Four Trees”
3.31- go left
3.35- make a quick right to continue heading up the ridge line (going straight will have you descending Watterson Troughs Rd. – don’t miss this right turn!)
3.94- reach the top of Knoll #1
4.55- stay straight up ridge for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the right, which will reconnect with the main trail shortly
4.65- reach the top of Knoll #2
4.94- stay straight up knoll for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the left which will reconnect with the main trail shortly)
5.0- reach the top of Knoll #3
5.28 reach the top of Knoll #4
5.56- reach the top of the Knoll #5, and what we call the “Lookout”.  At this point, you’ve climbed about 1,600′ and this marks the turnaround of the Glass Mountain Ridge Lookout Ride. Take some photos here and grab a breather.  Once you’re ready descend to ribbon of trail that leads towards the satellite equipment.
6.04- veer left and wrap around.  This trail has a more gradual climb, and great views of Wilfred Canyon.
6.46- reach the satellites.  Keep climbing!
7.4- start traversing around Squaw’s Teet
8.5- right at the junction.  you’ll climb a short bit, get a beautiful view, and then start on a bomber descent – be stoked, a majority of the climbing is now done.
9.2- after the sweet descent go right at the T- head south/east, traverse a burned area and a small aspen grove
10.7- crest over a saddle with more outrageous views
12.0- go right at the junction.  You’ll soon drop down into the Clover Patch.
14.1- continue straight
14.5- continue straight – You’ll have a great view of “Four Trees” – a great landmark to get your bearings.
15.3- right at the T.  Now you’re following power lines back to “Four Trees”.
15.9- go left and climb up to “Four Trees”.  From here, retrace your steps to arrive back at your car at 19.2 miles.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Here we go.  A subtle climb early in the adventure.

Here we go. A subtle climb early in the adventure.

A cairn on display at the "Lookout" of Glass Mountain Ridge.

A cairn on display at the “Lookout” of Glass Mountain Ridge.

Looking up to Squaw's Teet (right) and Robert's Roost (left) from the "Lookout" on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Looking up to Squaw’s Teet (right) and Robert’s Roost (left) from the “Lookout” on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Taking a break at the satellite dishes.

Taking a break at the satellite dishes.

About to start traversing around Squaw's Teet.

About to start traversing around Squaw’s Teet.

Heading towards Wildrose Canyon and Clover Patch with the Whites looming in the distance.

Heading towards Wildrose Canyon and Clover Patch with the snow-sprinkled peaks looming in the distance.

Taking a break in the Clover Patch.

Taking a break in the Clover Patch.

Clover Patch Loop - Map

Clover Patch Loop – Map

Clover Patch Loop - Elevation Profile.

Clover Patch Loop – Elevation Profile.


Ride Report: Glass Mountain Ridge Lookout

This ride is a short yet strenuous out and back with outstanding views.  It’s the beginning portion of the even more strenuous Clover Patch Loop Ride– another great ride if you’re seeking something more “epic”.  The “Lookout” is a great place to to have a snack and soak in the views.  It’s really fun to look up here from Benton Crossing Rd. as you’re driving back to Mammoth after the ride, and think “Wow, I just rode that!”

The ride starts at the Watterson Divide (junction of Benton Crossing Rd. and Owens Gorge Rd).  As you start heading north up Glass Mountain Ridge, the views to the west have you craning your neck to Crowley Lake, Laurel Mountain, Bloody Mountain, Mammoth and all that glory.  As you keep grinding your way up, you reach a spot called “Four Trees”.  I don’t know why, I’ve never understood.  Maybe at one point, there were four trees here?  Anyhoo – keep grinding up the ridge.  As you stop to catch your breath on top of one of the many knolls, you can look back to the south for more magical views.  This portion of the ride is filled with steep, short climbs that have you bursting (or hiking) up sandy jeep roads.  You gain a lot of elevation over a short time, so enjoy the mellow first couple miles to warm up.  Eventually, you reach the “Lookout” which is usually marked with some cool cairns (unless a jackass knocks them down).  This ride is a great to whet your palette for the surrounding area.

  • Ride Type:  Out-and-Back
  • Difficulty: Mild-Technical, Strenuous- Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Jeep/4×4 roads, usually pretty soft & somewhat sandy in parts.
  • Access: From Mammoth, get to Highway 395 and head south for 6 miles.  Reach the “Green Church” and make a left on Benton Crossing Rd.  Drive 15 miles to the intersection of Owens Gorge Rd. (4S02).  Park here, in the dirt off to the right.
  • Length: 11.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,442′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,754′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,806′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or XC Bike
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

From your car, cross Benton Crossing Rd. and start riding northeast.
.6- veer left
3.17- reach the top of “Four Trees”
3.31- go left
3.35- make a quick right to continue heading up the ridge line (going straight will have you descending Watterson Troughs Rd. – don’t miss this right turn!)
3.94- reach the top of Knoll #1
4.55- stay straight up ridge for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the right, which will reconnect with the main trail shortly
4.65- reach the top of Knoll #2
4.94- stay straight up knoll for maximum punishment- or you can take the shortcut to the left which will reconnect with the main trail shortly)
5.0- reach the top of Knoll #3
5.28 reach the top of Knoll #4
5.56- reach the top of the Knoll #5, and what we call the “Lookout”.  At this point, you’ve climbed about 1,600′ and arrived at the high-point of the ride.  Take some photos here and grab a breather.  If you’re feeling super-human, you can continue on to the Clover Patch Loop.  Otherwise, turn back and retrace the way you came up.
7.95- Reach the top of “Four Trees”.  After this annoying little grunt, it’s mostly downhill from here. This trail has a more gradual climb, and great views of Wilfred Canyon.
11.2- reach you car.  Done! ou’ll soon drop down into the Clover Patch.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Sunrise view to the southeast.

Taking a break to check out views of the Sierra.

Taking a break to check out views of the Sierra behind Crowley Lake.

Looking up to Squaw's Teet (right) and Robert's Roost (left) from the "Lookout" on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Looking up to Squaw’s Teet (right) and Robert’s Roost (left) from the “Lookout” on Glass Mountain Ridge.

Glass Mountain Ridge - Map.

Glass Mountain Ridge – Map.

Glass Mountain Ridge - Elevation Profile.

Glass Mountain Ridge – Elevation Profile.


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


Full Moon Fat Bike Ride and XC Ski to Minaret Vista

Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

Mother nature never ceases to amaze me!  Thanks to her, the U.S. Forest Service, and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the first ever “Full Moon Fat Bike, XC Ski, and Snowshoe” was a complete success!!

For this event only, the USFS allowed fat bikes on a groomed trail in the Inyo National Forest.  This is the first time this has been allowed, so it was definitely a monumental night.  I wish we had gotten more photos, but we were all too busy enjoying the perfect night.  Starry skies, no wind, warm temps.  We could see the Minarets and Mammoth Mountain clearly while sipping on warm apple cider – thanks Sard!!

All in all, about 30 people made the gorgeous trek up to Minaret Vista.  A whopping 6 fat bikes made the journey.  That’s the most fat bikes I’ve ever seen in Mammoth at one time – Sweet!!  Most others were on…

View original post 244 more words


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…

View original post 336 more words


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


Ride Report: Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

You read it right.  Double Lollipoop.  A loop within a loop with a lollipop.  We’ve taken the traditional Inyo Craters Loop and thrown some extra mustard on top.  First, we tacked on the Inyo Craters Singletrack at the beginning and end (it’s a ton of fun, and worth riding both ways.)  It’s a win-win.  You cut off a couple miles of bumpy dirt road driving, and you get a fun little section of flowy singletrack as the reward.  Second, we threw in a mini-loop, that has some sandy climbing and descending – and rewards you with some great views before linking back up with the bigger loop. This mini-loop is perfect for a fat bike, but has hike-a-bike spots for mountain bikes.  So now you know why we named it the Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop.  Here are the details to get you riding:

  • Ride Type:  Loop with Lollipop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous with one tough sandy climb
  • Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack first and last mile, otherwise double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From Mammoth, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  Make a right on Mammoth Scenic Loop.  At 2.75 miles, turn left on 3S30 at the “Inyo Craters” sign.  Go 0.3 miles.  The road will split and there’s a dirt parking area on the right.  The ride starts here.  The singletrack is to the right, and there’s a small sign with no trail name (see photo).
  • Length: 17 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 -3 hours (it’s fairly flat, other than the one steep climb – but it can be sandy in spots)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,552′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,144′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,332′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike, XC Mountain Bike (a little hike-a-bike maybe, but otherwise super fun)

This ride goes around the two Inyo Craters.  If you want to see them and their lakes up close, you’ll need to leave your bike in the main parking area (you pass through it after the beginning singletrack section) and hike up – no bikes allowed.  FYI, these craters were formed from a volcanic explosion 1,500 years ago.  Pretty cool.

Soon after finishing the singletrack section, you ride out of the forest and a huge pumice flat opens up in front of you.  360 degree wicked views await, including San Joaquin Ridge and White Wing Mountain.  Next you enter a Jeffrey Pine Forest and cross Deadman Creek before paralleling the creek and curving around and starting back towards the craters.  The mini-loop climbs part of the way up Deer Mountain offering more perspective of the area, and of course, more views.  Then you meet back up with the main loop and make your way back towards the craters.  After a peaceful ride through the forest, you arrive at the main parking lot.  Lucky for you, you get to ride the singletrack back the way you came.  Nice!

Turn By Turn:

0.0 start at the trailhead sign (see photo), going up the Inyo Crater Singletrack
.72 cross the road and start grunting up the short, steep, soft climb- don’t worry it levels off quickly.
.9 arrive in the main Inyo Craters parking area.  go left past the bathrooms, and head out.  you are on 3S30.
1.2 go right on 3S22 at intersection
1.48 stay left
1.96 stay right at Y as you go out into the pumice flats, and the beautiful views open up to you (see photo)
3.0 veer right
3.8 go straight
4.2 cross a dry (usually) creek
4.85 veer right, take bridge over deadman creek, continue right
5.0 continue right at T then stay straight- views to your right, creek below you to right- sweet descent
5.5 continue straight at intersection
5.95 notice upper deadman campground on right, obsidian flat campground on left
6.0 go right, then veer left on 3S105 (lower deadman camp is to your right)
6.3 reach a big open area – veer slight right (not the dead end sign)
7.1 veer right at intersection and start the big, soft, annoying climb of the mini-loop
7.85 start short descent, be careful, then keep to the right.  you’ll climb some more, and have some views before descending back to the original trail you rode earlier
8.8 go right at T, rejoining 3S22 – you’ll now re-ride some of what you rode earlier
11.1 go straight (different than the first time you were here)
11.6 go right on 2S29 – then stay on main rd through forest
13.1 go right
14.5 veer right then stay straight towards inyo craters rd
15.1 left at T
15.5 veer left
15.8 right at T climb back to the main parking area, and head right to the singletrack
16.1 enter the singletrack to the right, and head back down to the staging area
17.0 done!!

Inyo Craters Singletrack trailhead

Inyo Craters Singletrack trailhead

Pumice Flat area with views to White Wing Mountain

Pumice Flat area with views to White Wing Mountain

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Ride Map

Ride Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


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