Scenic mountain roads, endless dirt trails, and an average of 300 sunny days a year make Mammoth Lakes a cycling mecca.
- Roadies check out the ride from Horseshoe Lake while fat tire enthusiasts head to Rock Creek Trail.
- The best cycling is from June through October, while higher elevation trails may not open until July.
- To get the inside scoop, hire a guide service. They’ll take care of the route finding and logistics so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
As the snow melts, cyclists rejoice, because spring marks the start of the riding season. Since the snow doesn’t usually come until November, Roadies, dirt hounds and riders of all ability levels have plenty of time to get their fill of the miles of trails, scenic mountain roads and the famous Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.
Where to Ride
Mammoth lakes and the surrounding areas are choked full of cycling opportunities. A few of the better rides include:
- Mammoth Lakes Bike Paths: For families looking for an easy ride with the kids, head to the community park next to The Stove restaurant, park, and pick up the path across the street, next to the bridge over Mammoth Creek. Follow the gentle downhill for about a mile to the rest area near the bottom. Grab a quick bite and head back up the moderate ascent.
- Horseshoe Lake: This is a great one for intermediate riders. Park at Horseshoe Lake (leave one car here and park one at the rides terminus) and ride 8 miles downhill on Lake Mary Road, finishing at the Sherriff’s substation near highway 395. See if you can make it the entire way without pedaling! While this ride isn’t aerobically or technically difficult, cars do share these roads, so use caution.
- Tioga Pass: With nearly 100 miles of leg burning ascents and arm aching descents, this ride is not for the novice or out of shape cyclist. Begin at Crane Flat just outside of Yosemite and continue on Highway 120 to the top of the Tioga pass then turn around and retrace your route.
Whether you’re looking for smooth fire roads or technical single track, Mammoth has you covered. Federal and state wilderness areas are closed to bikes, so ride responsibly and stick to open trails.
- Mammoth Mountain Bike Park: For those of you who love mountain biking but just can’t stand those pesky ascents, head to the bike park at Mammoth Mountain. The gondola will do the heavy lifting and shuttle you and your bike to the top. New riders will enjoy Downtown, a gentle 5 mile trail beginning at the main lodge. Experts can tackle the steep slopes of Chain Smoke, complete with armored berms, wooden ramps and dirt jumps.
- Inyo Craters Loop: Ride on a smooth forest service road around two alpine craters. At a length of 10 miles and with minimal hills, this is a great family ride or early season warm up. After your ride, leave your bikes in the parking lot and take the short walk to view the craters. From Mammoth Lakes, takes the scenic loop road 2.7 miles out of town to the signed Inyo Craters turn-off.
- Rock Creek Trail: For intermediate riders, stick to the first 3.5 miles of rolling single track (500’ elevation loss). Experts can continue on to tackle the technical 2000’ descent to Paradise Lodge. Make sure you park a car at the bottom or you’re looking at a hard ride back. From Mammoth, head south on US 395 and exit on Lower Rock Creek Road and park in the dirt lot. The trail begins down below at the creek.