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.