Mono County, on California’s breathtaking Eastern Sierra, is known for its amazing scenery, hiking, skiing, climbing and adventure, but less well known are its diverse mountain bike experiences (with the exception of Mammoth Mountain) and outstanding breweries, a match made in high Sierra heaven.
Where to Ride:
For mountain bikers, Mammoth Mountain and the legendary Kamikaze Run need no introduction, and for good reason. Mammoth Mountain’s mountain bike park is world-class and draws riders from far and wide. The Kamikaze Games in September cap off the season with spectacles for both competitors and onlookers.
Beyond the bike park, Mammoth Lakes offers trails for all skill levels. Build a loop out of trails like Uptown, Big Green, Paper Route, Timber Ridge, Lakes Trail, Panorama Dome, Mammoth Rock, Enchanted Forest, a connection via Tamarack Street, Sherwin and back to town.
Shady Rest Park also includes several mountain bike routes for a variety of skill levels - stop by the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center for a map and information.
Biking with kids? The Lakes Basin Trolley will pick you, your little ones, and your bikes up at the Village and delivers you to Horseshoe Lake at the end of Lake Mary Road. An easy dirt trail takes riders around Horseshoe Lake and connects back to the paved Lakes Basin bike path, which winds past lakes and through forests.... all downhill back to town!
Lower Rock Creek Trail:
A short drive south on Highway 395 from Mammoth Lakes, this classic mountain biking test piece offers up as much or as little challenge as any rider could want. Descending 16 miles from the trailhead to the town of Paradise and intersected by Lower Rock Creek Road twice, the trail lends itself to both shuttling and out and back rides.
For a more mellow day, park at the trailhead at the top of Lower Rock Creek road and head down the trail to either the first or second road crossing, riding through beautiful aspen along a creek, then turn back.
For the more ambitious thrill-seekers, keep going after the second road crossing into a technical and challenging canyon filled with tricky rock formations, ending either at a car for a shuttle, or turning back for a long pedal back up the hill.
June Lake offers up some fun, challenging pedaling! An advanced ride takes mountain bikers up the triathlon running route of Reversed Peak. The trail then descends down the east side of Silver Lake, weaving along trails eventually leading back to June Mountain Ski Area. Getting local info is recommended, and the owners of June Lakes Brewing Company are a good place to start (and finish, see below).
Moraines and Meadows Loop above Lee Vining offers an up-close view of diverse geology, taking you from high desert to alpine meadows, through glacial moraines and beneath Yosemite’s eastern boundary. Not particularly technical, but covering about 12 miles and almost 1,500 feet of climbing at elevation, riders will want to be prepared with plenty of food and water.
Bike Shops and Beta:
Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes can give you the knowledge and set you up with the gear for any mountain bike adventure. Other shops to suit any rider’s needs can be found here.
Where to Imbibe:
Mammoth Brewing Company not only offers an array of incredible brews, but it’s also located in the perfect place to end many of the rides in town. And don't miss Black Doubt Brewing's top-notch brews, often accompanied by live music, located in "downtown" Mammoth Lakes on Old Mammoth Road.
June Lake Brewing in June Lakes pours some great beers right in the same warehouse it's being brewed in, which should be accompanied by tasty food from Ohanas 395 food truck parked right outside. The brewery’s owners (video!) are mountain bikers and a great source of local knowledge.
Beer-lovers coming from the south up Highway 395 should also plan to stop at Mountain Rambler in Bishop, another Eastern Sierra locals' favorite for beer, creative food, and live music.