Mammoth Mountain Bike Trails
There are some great rides at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. From exhilarating to easy, to rough road to smoother for beginners, there is a mountain full for all levels. Most of the better riders will go all the way to the top to start their trek down. Here is a list of bike trails at Mammoth with their respective rating so you can see what fun awaits.
One of the best things about Mammoth is that everywhere you ride in town their are signs to help you get around. As you ride into the hills, you will need some Mammoth maps. Stop by the ranger station at the Welcome Center when you first come into town to get the latest versions. They are a good source of information and can easily tell you which trails will be the right difficulty for you and your group. Here is a list of some of the popular ones. Look them up on the maps.
Mammoth Bike Park
Distance: Up to 50 miles
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to Strenuous
Type: Single track. Trails with Gondola access.
Description: Located on Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Dual slalom race course obstacle arena, BMX track and the famous Kamikaze downhill. Purchase park pass at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Center, next to Main Lodge.
Rider Notes: Mammoth Mountain Bike Park provides free access to trail system via Paper Route, Big Ring and To Town. Access to Inyo Craters and Knolls Loop via U.S. Forest Service road 3S89. Trailhead 200 yards downhill from parking area at Chair 4. Riders leaving from the trailhead are advised of long downhill on 3S89.
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate
Type: Dirt Roads
Description: Follow Hwy. 395 north, turn right 200 yard north of the June Lake Junction. 100 yards down this dirt road is a kiosk. Park here. The route consists of three consecutive loops on jeep roads and grated dirt roads.
Rider notes: There are spectacular vistas overlooking Mono Lake and Mono Craters which exhibit some of the most exemplary volcanic phenomena in the area. The nearest facilities are at the June lake Junction. This area can get hot and dry in the middle of the summer - extra water and a patch kit are recommended.
Horseshoe Lake Trail Single Track
Distance: 1.2 mile loop
Degree of difficulty: Beginner
Type: Single track trail. Paved and dirt roads in surrounding areas.
Description: Ride begins at Horseshoe Lake Group Campground. Clearly marked winds through cool, pine forest around lake and returns to campground. Great family rides in beautiful alpine setting. Advise walking bicycle over wooden bridges and down steep gully at far end.
Rider Notes: Parking, restrooms, and water available at Horseshoe Lake and vicinity. Extended rides around Lakes Basin on paved roads. There are stores at Lake Mary, Mamie and Twin Lakes. Highlights in area include historical sites at Coldwater Campground and Mammoth City. From Mammoth City, continue along Old Mammoth Road for access to Town. Look for the Vista Trailhead between the Twin Lakes bridge and the Art Gallery on the east side of the road. The Vista Trail provides a unique view of Mammoth.
Distance: 10 mile loop
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced
Type: Improved/Unimproved dirt road.
Description: Ride begins 1/4 mile past the entrance to Shady Rest. From trailhead, follow single track to the Knolls Loop, turn left and ride in a clockwise direction. Route winds through pine forest with many spectacular vistas from high points.
Rider Notes: Parking, restrooms, and water available at nearby U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center. Parking also available at trailhead. Strenuous climbs and fast downhill are found on this route. Many dirt roads intersect this trail, so follow map and signs closely. For easier access to trailhead/town, head down the Sawmill Cutoff at north end of loop.
Inyo Craters Loop
Distance: 10.5 mile loop
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Type: Improved/unimproved dirt road
Description: Following Hwy 203 toward Mammoth Mountain's Main Lodge, turn right on Mammoth Scenic Loop. Follow this paved, two-lane road 2.7 miles to the Inyo Craters Turnoff. Turn left and follow the signs to the parking lot at the Inyo Craters trail head. Ride begins at Inyo Craters parking area, Route winds through cool pine forest with portions following Deadman Creek. This ride includes a creek crossing and contains plenty of signs marking the trail.
Rider Notes: The Jeffrey Pine forest in this area is one of the largest in the world. To see the Inyo Craters, follow a short foot trail from the parking area. Carry water and snacks. Restrooms and picnic facilities are available at Inyo Craters and Deadman campgrounds. Highlights include a short ride to Inyo Craters; volcanic blast craters filled with water. Consult map for rider access to Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, Knolls Loop, and the Mammoth Scenic Loop.
Inyo Craters Single Track
Distance: 3.5 miles
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate
Description: This route starts from the top of the Knolls, a residential district in the most northwest corner of Mammoth. Before beginning the ascent to the Mountain's Main Lodge on Hwy 203, make a right on Knolls Drive. Take the first left and follow the road up a steep hill, around a corner and to a water district pump house. The gated road by the small stone building is the start of the trail. Follow the trail to the summit of the Scenic Loop Road and cross. Quality single track descends to the Inyo Craters Road and continues to the Inyo Craters parking area.
Hartley Springs Loop
Distance: 9.3 miles
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate
Type: Dirt and Sandy Roads
Description: Hartley Springs Campground sits beneath an old growth stand of Jeffrey pine trees. The shade makes a nice retreat through the high altitude sun. This USFS designated route begins about one mile south of June Lake Junction on the west side of Hwy 395, directly across form the Pumice Mine road. Follow the graded dirt road south past Hartley Springs campground. The road makes a gradual 180-degree turn to the right, making the homestretch of a clockwise loop. The homestretch climbs up to Hartley Springs then downhill through a sandy wash. This is a fabulous route for the family with diverse abilities. There are excellent views of the Mono Basin, Devil's Punchbowl, June Lake and Mono Lake.
Distance: 10 miles one way.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
Type: Paved road.
Description: Ride begins at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Follow Hwy 203 as it gradually climbs to Minaret Summit and then descends 1500' to valley floor. Along the way, enjoy spectacular vistas, the San Joaquin River, Starkweather Lake, Devils Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls. Terrific family rides with many picnicking, hiking and photo opportunities.
Rider Notes: Seasonal shuttle bus available for return trip. Purchase ticket at Mammoth Mountain Inn or from the shuttle driver and check schedule for return trip which is a difficult uphill pedal. Parking and all amenity services are available at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. A store, cafe, restrooms and telephone are available at Reds Meadow Pack Station. The road to Reds Meadow is narrow and winding - watch for vehicles. OFF ROAD RIDING IN REDS MEADOW IS PROHIBITED! PLEASE STAY ON PAVED ROADS! Remember to lock bicycles securely at trailheads to Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls before leaving on a hike.
Distance: 5 mile loop
Degree of Difficulty: Easy.
Type: Combination single track and improved/unimproved dirt road.
Description: Ride begins at the entrance to Shady Rest Campground, immediately to the right. Route winds through pine forest and returns to start point. Great family rides. Picnicking and playground facilities are available at Shady Rest Park.
Rider Notes: Parking, restrooms, and water are available at nearby U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center and Shady Rest Park. Many dirt roads intersect this route, so follow map and signs closely.
Big and Little Smokey
Distance: Little Smokey: 5.8 mile loop, Big Smokey: 12.5 mile loop.
Degree and Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous.
Type: Unimproved dirt roads.
Description: Ride begins at Smokey Bear Flats turnabout off Hwy 395, approximately four miles north of the junction of 395 and 203. Cycle through the wide-open flats and rolling sage-covered hills with spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada. Stay on marked trails.
Rider Notes: Parking available off Hwy 395 on dirt road. Please do not park off dirt road. Carry water and snacks, as no services are available. Rider access to Town and knolls Loop via Sawmill Cutoff; access to Hwy 203 /Town via Antelope Springs Road.
Distance: 2.5 Miles (5 Miles Out and Back)
Degree of Difficulty: Strenuous
Type: Unimproved dirt road over rough terrain.
Description: Take Hwy. 203 past Mammoth Mountain's Main Lodge. Turn right at the Reds Meadow entrance kiosk. Park on the right, 30 yards after turning off of Hwy. 203. The dirt road starting here is a USFS designated route, which climbs 1,500 feet in 2.5 miles. Views of the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Mammoth Mountain, Long Valley Caldera, and the Minarets are outstanding. Be prepared for cooler temperatures and afternoon breezes. The summit of this ride is at 10,700 feet. Don't be surprised to encounter coyotes, deer or marmots up here. And remember, please don't feed the animals.
Rider Notes: Parking and restrooms available at Minaret Summit. Carry water and snacks. This route is a strenuous uphill climb, but well worth the effort! Elevation exceeds 9500' at the summit. Rough terrain makes this ride a real challenge. A good mixture of terrain, exceptional scenery and comfortable temperatures averaging in the 70's during the summer months makes Mammoth the ideal place for mountain bike enthusiasts.
Coldwater Creek and Historic Gold Mine Mountain Bike Trail
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Type: Dirt trails and paved roads
Description: The ride begins at Horseshoe Lake at the far end of the parking lot at the John Muir wilderness sign at the Mammoth Crest trailhead. From there the ride will access the dirt trail behind Horseshoe Lake, then the dirt trail past Lake Mamie, along the paved road behind Lake Mary to Coldwater Canyon, up the canyon to the Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine. The ride continues down the canyon, around Lake Mary to the Lake Mary Road, down the road to the Panorama Dome Trail.
Rider Notes: The Panorama Dome Trail is a narrow dirt single path trail that is somewhat technical. The trail offers riders a spectacular overview of Mammoth Lakes and an excellent wildflower display. After the Panorama Dome loop, riders will return to Town via the Mill City Road and Old Mammoth Road. Beginner riders can opt out of the Panorama Dome and Mill City portions by returning to Horseshoe Lake from Lake Mary.
Hot Creek Little Antelope Valley Trail
Distance: 18 Miles
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Type: Dirt trails and paved roads, varying terrain
Description: The Hot Creek Ride begins at the Hot Creek geothermal area located near the airport 3 miles of off Hwy. 395. on Fish Hatchery Road riding toward the highway. At 395 they will go north past the former Mono County Sheriff's substation. Continue past the Casa Diablo Geothermal plant on paved road until it turns to gravel. Make a sharp right onto Antelope Springs road. A gradual climb levels out, then heads northeast as you approach a ridge. At 8.3 miles the trail begins to drop off gradually and continues to head toward the northeast, skirting past white chalk cliffs. At the four-way intersection head east and as you reach the 13 mile point, you come out into a wide open area. Head south past a grassy meadow at 14.6 miles. The trail turns to the northeast again towards Glass Mountain. At 15.9 miles make a sharp right to the south on Owens River Road and continue past the bridge over lower Hot Creek. At the "T" junction turn right and end up back at Hot Creek.
Minaret Summit Trail, Mountain View Trail
Distance: 5.5 Miles
Degree of Difficulty: Easy or Advanced
Type: Dirt trails and paved roads,
Description: Begin at Minaret Vista, a tremendous scenic overlook of the Ritter Range. Follow the road toward the highway. Take a left on a dirt road to a small parking area. In the back there is the start of Mountain View Trail. This trail and the Downtown Trail make up this all downhill ride into Town. If you want to do it in reverse, the ride is an advanced ride. Go the Earthquake Fault which is halfway up toward the Main Lodge. Park in designated areas. This route boasts 5.5 miles of single track, which wind is way up to the Minaret Vista. Pumice Lodgepole, steep grinds and cambered turns can be expected. Spectacular views await
Rider Notes: There are great views of Mammoth Mountain from this ride.
Vista Trail Single Track
Distance: 3 Miles
Degree of Difficulty: Beginner
Description: This trail begins at Twin lakes in the Lower Mammoth Lakes Basin. Follow Hwy. 203 through town and follow Lake Mary Road to Twin Lakes Bridge. Parking can be found on the edge of the lake. Ride about 200 yards up Lake Mary road from Twin Lakes Bridge and look for the Vista Bike Trail sign. 0.3 miles down this trail is a junction. The left fork loops back to Lake Mary road. The right fork crosses a flume built in 1868 to power the mill for the Mammoth mines. At the end of the trail, go right on Old Mammoth Road. The next mile is a historically significant area with historic markers, mining ruins and the remains of log structures. At the intersection of Old Mammoth Road and Lake Mary road, go right to return to the Twin Lakes parking area.
Rules of The Road
The Forest has many unpaved roads of varied terrain that provide miles of fun for the mountain biker. Pick up an Inyo National Forest map, which shows all Forest Service roads and follow these few simple rules.
Stay on open Forest Roads - Closed roads will be posted. Comply with signs and barriers, and leave gates as you found them. Wilderness areas are off-limits to all bicycles and vehicles.
Protect the environment - Minimize erosion by staying on trails and not cutting switchbacks. Meadows, lakeshores, stream banks and vegetation are easily damaged. Avoid wet, muddy areas, as they are more susceptible to erosion. Teach new riders trail etiquette. Don't litter! Pick up more than your share. Lead by example.
Ride safely, Stay in control - You share the forest with other users. Be considerate of hikers and equestrians. Horses can be unpredictable, so yield to them. Wear your helmet and protective gear!
Plan your trip - Take a map, water, first-aid kit, sunscreen
and snacks. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
Don't ride alone and tell someone where you plan to ride; then stick
to your plans. Don't take unnecessary chances; help may be miles
away in case of an emergency.
About Horses and Mountain Bikes - Over a decade ago, when mountain bikers first encountered horses on the trail, the incompatibility became evident. The swift, quiet approach of a mountain bike upon a horse or pack train can put the animal riders in jeopardy of being thrown. Especially vulnerable are novice animal riders.
Recognizing this, the Forest Service outlawed bikes on trails frequented by pack animals. In the Mammoth area, because of the close proximity to the John Muir Trail, mountain biking was outlawed on many backcountry trails. This policy is enforced.
Meanwhile, the Mammoth area has endless miles of forest management roads that are little used and superb for mountain biking.