Ride Report: Snow Biking Mammoth Lakes / Long Valley Caldera

Views of the Glass Mountains from Owens River Rd.  Awesome.

Views of the Glass Mountains from Owens River Rd. Awesome.

A fat bike is the perfect way to explore the Long Valley Caldera on the east side of Highway 395.  There are tons of un-groomed Forest Service trails and roads with endless possibilities.  Snowmobiles tend to roost all over the place back there, making most everything rideable at the right time of year.  For me, that happened to be mid-February.  It hadn’t snowed in a couple weeks, so the snow was pretty packed and condensed already, so even where there wasn’t a snowmobile track, I was able to ride most everything.  I used a Forest Service Winter Recreation Map to figure out which trails were un-groomed and thus legal to fat bikes, and then headed out.  I wound up making a loop that consisted of part of “Big Smokey Bear Loop” ( a summer bike trail) and then a bunch of smaller USFS OHV trails that eventually led to Owens River Rd.  I was rewarded with views of Bald Mountain, and the Glass Mountains.  Then as I started heading south, I was able to see McGee Mountain and eventually Laurel Mountain.  Awesome.  The snow was pretty much melted out on Owens River Rd, and I just rode on dirt for a few miles, admiring the gorgeous views and the solitude of being alone. After riding for a bit on Owens River Rd, I jumped on a power line road and started heading west back into the forest.  I caught up with some snowmobile tracks and started climbing my way back through Little Antelope Valley.  Eventually, I hooked back up with “Big Smokey Bear Loop” / Rd. 3s06, and made my way back to the car.  All in all, it was a peaceful 27 miles and 2,300′ climbing.  80% on snow, and I was able to ride almost the whole thing with just a couple sections of hike a bike due to soft snow.  I would struggle re-create this exact ride, so luckily I tracked it and have the GPS file :).  If you are interested in doing a ride like this, email me and I’ll shoot you the gpx track.  Fat biking is proving itself to be a viable tool of exploration out here in the Eastern Sierra!!  I’m addicted!!

long_valley_caldera_profile long_valley_caldera_map

An old windmill near Owens River Rd.

An old windmill near Owens River Rd.

Taking it all in.  Between Smokey Bear Loop and Lookout Mountain.

Taking it all in. Between Smokey Bear Loop and Lookout Mountain.

This trail sign for Big Smokey Bear Loop has seen better days.

This trail sign for Big Smokey Bear Loop has seen better days.

This is "powder" to a fat bike.  One clean snowmobile track to ride on.  :)

This is “powder” to a fat bike. One clean snowmobile track to ride on. 🙂

Another shot of a "powder track".  Perfect riding conditions.

Another shot of a “powder track”. Perfect riding conditions.

Looking out to Bald Mountain in the distance.  360 views on this ride!

Looking out to Bald Mountain in the distance. 360 views on this ride!

A desolate USFS trail, heading out to Owens River Rd.

A desolate USFS trail, heading out to Owens River Rd.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Favorite Rides, Snow & Fat Biking and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ride Report: Snow Biking Mammoth Lakes / Long Valley Caldera

  1. jpmcghee says:

    I need to get my bike so I can ride with you.

    Like

  2. ss29er says:

    Reblogged this on .

    Like

  3. Kathy Copeland says:

    GORGEOUS pics!!

    If I Can Do This, I Can Do Anything!
    [cid:image001.jpg@01C8D51C.85869750]
    Kathy Copeland
    Executive Director
    P.O. Box 7275, #1 Minaret Road
    Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
    Phone: 760.934.0791
    Fax: 760.934.0729
    kcopeland@disabledsportseasternsierra.org
    http://www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org
    P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s