Inyo National Forest Mountain Biking Trails
The Inyo National Forest offers up some great dirt roads and single-track trails.
Inyo Craters Loop Cross Country
Length – 10.5 miles of Intermediate to Advanced Riding – Elevation around 8000 feet
Take Main Street up to Minaret Road, take a right and drive in the direction of Mammoth Mountains Main Lodge. You will pass right by The Village on your way out of town.
About a mile out of town take a right at the Mammoth Scenic Loop. Follow this paved road for about 2.6 miles to the Inyo Craters turnoff. Take a left and follow the signs to the parking lot at the Inyo Craters Trail Head. Park at the trailhead parking lot (bathroom area at the lot).
This Mtn Bike loop begins about a mile before the parking lot and heads out to the west. There are Mountain Bike Signs that mark the trail.
Please note there is one creek crossing along this simple flat route. On most days you can avoid getting wet by carrying your bike to the next upstream crossing.
This ride sits right in the middle of the Largest Jeffrey Pine Forest in the World. While you’re at the parking area making sure you take the short hike to see the Inyo Craters. Just follow the foot trail from the parking area.
Hard Core Hill Climbing/Downhill
Length – 2.5 miles / Advanced to Very Strenuous Riding – Elevation is above 9000 feet
Take Minaret Road Hwy. 203 past Mammoth Mountains Main Lodge Area. About 2 miles up the road you need to turn right just before the Reds Meadow entrance station.
Park in the dirt parking area almost immediately to your right. (Other websites say to park at the vista, please park as we note here so the vista lot is not filled up.)
The dirt road starting here is a USFS Designated Mtn Bike and 4×4 Route. Be ready to climb 1,500 feet in about 2.5 miles, this is a lung buster for those living at low elevations.
This ride is taking you up the San Joaquin Ridge, and it’s steep, very steep. There is a reason we have called it Hard Core since the 80s.
This ride offers up great views of the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Mammoth Mountain, Long Valley Caldera, and the Minarets. Be prepared for cooler temperatures and strong afternoon breezes.
The summit of this ride is at 10,700-ft. Carry extra water this 2.5 miles is going to tax your body hard!
Mountain View Trail Single Track
Length – 5.5 miles of Advanced to Strenuous Riding
The beginning of the Mountain View Trail is at the Earthquake Fault Parking lot about 2 miles out of the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
Take Main Street up to Minaret Road, take a right, and drive in the direction of Mammoth Mountains Main Lodge. You will pass right by The Village on your way out of town.
The earthquake fault parking area is about 2 miles up the road on your right side heading up. It’s marked with a big sign you won’t miss.
(I have always taken Uptown to Mountain View to access this trail. The lower section of Uptown to the Earth Quake Fault is a NO fee zone.)
This single-track trail slowly winds its way up to the Minaret Vista. You get to experience all sorts of changing & challenging cross-country single track conditions.
One this trail will find everything from dirt, pumice, fire roads, lodgepole forests, steep little climbs, and some cool burmed banked turns. When you reach the summit you will be treated to some epic views and a nice breeze.
From the Summit, of course, it’s all back downhill. If you’re tired you have the option of riding the paved road back down to town.
This trail is great fun and the best part is it is free to ride!
Beware this is one tough trail and is not advised as a family ride unless you’re all hardcore riders.
Mammoth Rock Trail
Length – 2.5 miles/ Intermediate
The trailhead is located on Sherwin Creek Road, one-half mile past Sierra Meadows Ranch. There are several large propane tanks in the area of the trailhead.
The first three-quarters of a mile follows an old mammoth jeep road, then turns to a single-track. The Single Track climbs up a forested section then reaches a clearing caused by the great avalanche of February 1986.
The trail then passes just below Mammoth Rock and then continues to the end, which intersects Old Mammoth Road. Now you can turn around and enjoy this ride as a downhill.
Downhill riders please slow down and watch for Horses and Hikers, this trail has heavy usage so you are going to encounter other users. You also have the option of riding back down Old Mammoth Road.
Trail etiquette requires mountain bikers to yield to horses and hikers. DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THE HORSES OR YOU RISK YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS. Get off your bike and let them pass.
Big and Little Smokey Loops
Length – 13 miles/ 6.1 miles/ Intermediate-Advanced
Head South out of Mammoth and take Hwy. 395 north for about 4 miles. You will see a dirt road on the right side of the highway with a big sign and a dirt parking area, park here.
Two USFS Mountain Bike Trails begin from this parking area. The Big Smokey Loop takes you on a climb into the adjacent hills where the views, trees, and interesting reddish rock formations add to the aesthetics of the ride. This area is also home to a bunch of wooding operations so watch for trucks.
The Little Smokey Loop offers a pleasant cruise through the local sagebrush, tall grasses, and many local wildflowers of the eastside.
Knolls Loop Dirt Roads
Length – 10 miles Advanced/ Strenuous
This route begins at the Shady Rest Day Use Parking Area directly across from Starbucks. As you enter the Shady Rest Area you will notice a paved path to your left. We will use this path to get from the parking area to the start of this long ride. Please use the day-use parking and not campsite parking.
Once you park, head back to the paved trail and ride down it 100 yards. Cross over the paved road next to the path and you will see a dirt single track this is the start of the fun. Next, you will see there is a kiosk with a map of the Knolls Loop and surrounding Trails.
This Mountain Bike Route follows dirt roads with numerous side roads and variations. Most of the roads in this area loop back into each other or to the Sawmill Cutoff road, the Mammoth Scenic Loop, or Hwy. 203 at some point. A sign marks the entire Knolls Loop so it is easy to follow this route. This ride offers up some views of the Eastern Sierra that are stunning and you will want to get off your bikes and take a look and reflect. This ride gets a rating of a 10 for dirt road fun. Link to the Knolls Loop
Inyo Craters Spur Single Track
Length – 3 miles – Intermediate Riding
This route starts from the Inyo Craters Loop (See B3) and provides some sections of quality single-track. This route ascends through the pine forest and ends at the Mammoth Scenic Loop.
Vista Trail Single Track
Length – 3 miles of Beginner Type Riding
This trail begins just above the First Twin Lakes Bridge in the Lower Mammoth Lakes Basin. Take Main Street Hwy. 203 towards Whisky Creek and the Village. Instead of following 203 go straight at the signal and now you are on Lake Mary Road. Proceed for about 2 miles to the First Twin Lakes Bridge. Right after the bridge look for the Vista Mtn Bike Trail sign on the left side of the road.
This is a simple and short trial. As you start the ride out very quickly it wants to branch off to the left and right. Take the right fork and it crosses an old flume built-in 1868 to power the mill for the below Mines. The trail will come to a quick end at Old Mammoth Road.
Take a ride up this road and you will see some of Mammoth Roots in History. USFS markers, mining ruins, and the remains of log cabins are all around. You can continue up to Lake Mary Road or return to the trail and do it in the opposite direction. This is a very short ride so link it up with another route or combine it with a loop around the pavement in the Upper Lakes Basin.
The USFS offers up some great Dirt Roads and Single Track Trails right out of Mammoth Lakes. The routes below will offer You up hours of incredible free riding under The Eastern Sierra Skies. Everything from dirt roads, single tracks, hill climbs, and river crossings.
While you out enjoying our Forests Please stay on established routes and trails that are signed.