Inyo National Forest Mountain Biking Trails

The Inyo National Forest offers up some great dirt roads and single track trails.

This list, for now, will focus on trails near the Mammoth Lakes area. The plan is to cover everything from Bishop to June Lakes over time. 

The trails and roads listed 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.

As you ride these trails and roads, you will notice many more roads and links are available to you.  The possibilities are endless and in time we will layout some maps and fresh route ideas for you and your friends to try out. 

We have a map (PDF) that shows you where all these trails are, you can download it here.

Remember if your planning a trip to ride here you will be riding from 7500 feet all the way up to 11,000 feet at times. 

Bring extra water, food and carry gear for changing the weather.  Be aware a sunny summer morning can lead to pouring rain and lightning in a very short period of time. 

** Snowman is working on adding all the trails from the Inyo this Summer along with some photos for each area.

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Inyo Craters Loop  Cross Country (Map B3) 

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. 

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Hard Core  Hill Climbing/Downhill (Map B4)

Length – 2.5 miles / Advanced to Very Strenuous Riding – Elevation is above 9000 feet

Take Minaret Road Hwy. 203 past Mammoth Mtns 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 web sites 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! 

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Mountain View Trail Single Track (Map B6)

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, its 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 your all hard core riders. 

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Mammoth Rock Trail (Map B11)
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 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 period.

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Big and Little Smokey Loops (Map B10) 

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.  

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Knolls Loop  Dirt Roads (Map B9)

Length – 10 miles  Advanced/ Strenuous

This route begins at the Shady Rest Day Use Parking Area directly across from McDonald’s.  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 your parked 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.   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.

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Inyo Craters Spur  Single Track (Map B5)

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 pine forest and ends at the Mammoth Scenic Loop.

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Vista Trail Single Track (Map B8)

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 your 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 trail.  As you start the ride out very quickly it wants to branch of to the left and right.  Take the right fork and it crosses a 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.

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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.