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I may be biased because the Eastern Sierra of Califonia was home to me for several years, but the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever ridden.
From the top of the lifts, riders catch glimpses of turquoise-colored alpine lakes among the pinyon pine-forested singletrack and take in the views out over the Minarets and Owen’s Valley. The vistas are jaw-dropping!
The terrain at Mammoth Mountain is super unique, too. Mammoth’s “kitty litter” pumice offers up a different challenge than most bike parks (think sand-dune surfing on a bike) and the huge network of trails covers everything from gnarly rock gardens to fast flow to progressive jump lines and plenty of old-school tech.
Mammoth Mountain is also one of the few bike parks in the US to allow e-bikes on all trails!
In total, Mammoth has over 80 miles of singletrack within the park boundaries and over a dozen more town trails that can be linked into the park network. They range from easy, meandering pedals great for beginners all the way up to super technical prolines. Richie Rude has even made a few appearances.
So if you’re looking for a summer bike park getaway, consider heading to Mammoth Lakes. Here’s everything you need to know about planning your visit.
Mammoth Bike Park at a Glance
Watch PinkBike’s Jason Lucas shred Mammoth Bike Park
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is located in the remote mountain town of Mammoth Lakes on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Mammoth is primarily known as a ski resort town in the winter, but it’s equally beautiful and fun in the summer.
One thing to note about the bike park at Mammoth Mountain is that the top is over 11,000 ft in elevation. Thats high! Even though you’ll be doing gondola or chairlift laps, you’ll probably still feel the elevation. Take it slow at first and let your body acclimate.
It’s not your typical bike park
Before I get into all the details about riding at Mammoth, I want to take a minute to note that Mammoth Bike Park isn’t your ‘typical’ bike park.
There are very few freeride features like jumps, ramps, and flow trails. Instead, Mammoth is a very ‘old-school’ bike park that highlights the natural terrain of the mountain.
Sure, there are a few ‘new-school’ trails that have new-school and purpose-built features, but they are not the majority.
Also, depending on where you go on the mountain, be prepared to pedal a bit. The park is huge, so in order to get around, some leg work is required.
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park Map
Most visitors to Mammoth don’t actually realize how big the bike park is. There are over 80 miles of trail inside the park and more miles of trail that riders can connect to outside the park boundaries.
You can literally do a 2-hour descent from the top of the mountain down to the village of Mammoth.
Take some time to look at the map if you want to explore all of Mammoth. Most people just stick to the front-side trails, but there is so much more fun to be had in the lesser-known areas.
Bike Park Tickets & Season Passes
Tickets to the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park can be purchased online or in person at either the Mountain Center in the Village or at the Adventure Center adjacent to the Gondola at the base of the bike park.
If you are an Ikon Pass holder, you can get 20% off single-day tickets.
There are several options for bike park tickets:
- Single & Multi-Day Tickets: save 15% when you book 3+ days in advance
- Quad Pack Tickets: get four single-day tickets at a discounted rate. Tickets can be used anytime throughout the season and don’t need to be consecutive days. They cannot be shared.
- Discovery Ticket: get access to the beginner-friendly Discovery Chair and one ride on the Shuttle Bus. This is great for beginners and families who want to lap the Discovery Zone.
- Twilight Ticket: get a discounted ticket for late afternoon riding. The Twilight Ticket gives you unlimited access to the lifts and bus shuttle after 3pm. (Lifts typically shut down at 5pm and the bus shuttle stops at 6pm).
For season passes, riders have several options as well:
- Mammoth Bike Park Pass: This season pass allows for unlimited rides up the gondola, chairlifts, and village shuttle throughout the season. There are no blackout dates and season pass holders get 25% off friends and family day passes as well as discounts on bike rentals, lessons, and retail. You also get unlimited $25 passes to Snow Summit Bike Park at Big Bear. Ikon Pass Holders can save $40 on a Season Pass.
- Child Mammoth Bike Park Pass: Kids under 12 can get a seriously discounted bike park pass. This pass excludes the friends and family discount.
- Pedal Pass: Mammoth Mountain typically offers a pedal pass that is good for leg-powered pedaling on select trails throughout the park. Some trails are off-limits, though. For example, you can’t climb to the summit via Off The Top during bike park hours.
Mammoth Bike Park Lifts & Bus Shuttle
Mammoth Bike Park has four chairlifts and one bus shuttle. Some lifts only operate on the weekends and the bus shuttle is typically the only option early in the season.
1. The Panorama Gondola from Main Lodge takes you all the way up to the summit of Mammoth Mountain or you can stop midway at McCoy Mid-station. There are two bike trails from the top: Off the Top and Skidmarks and multiple options from mid-station.
2. Chair 16 (Canyon Express) from Canyon Lodge accesses trails like Brake Through, Follow Me, and Bullet
3. Chair 2 (Stump Alley Express) from The Mill basically brings you just a bit higher than McCoy Station but also accesses Gravy Train and Bearing Straights. This is a good option if the Gondola line is super long.
4. Chair 11 (Discovery Chair) from Main Lodge. This short lift is great for families and beginner riders. It accesses several intro-level trails like Discovery Trail, Discotech, Adventure Trail, and Explorer Trail. It also accesses Richter if you want to do hot laps.
In addition to the lifts, there’s also a bike shuttle from the Village that runs every 15 minutes. The pick-up is right across from the Westin and it takes you all the way up to the Gondola or you can get off at Chair 2.
*Chair 16 and Chair 2 are typically often only open on the weekends.
**Bike parks season usually starts with just the bus shuttle that allows access to the lower trails like Shotgun and Downtown.
Best time to visit
The opening date for Mammoth Mountain Bike Park really depends on that year’s snow pack. On heavy snow years, the park might not fully open until mid or even late July.
But usually, the lower trails that can be accessed by the bus shuttle are snow-free in June. However, this only gives riders access to a very small piece of the mountain.
If you want to get get the full Mammoth Bike Park experience, I recommend planning your visit for August or early September.
The bike park typically shuts down in late September.
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park Trail Guide
With over 80 miles of trail at Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, there is fun for everyone. There are plenty of beginner-friendly options as well as expert-only trails for advanced or pro riders. There are:
- 6 Beginner Trails
- 21 Intermediate Trails
- 13 Advanced Trails
- 12 Expert-Only Trails
- 9 Pro Lines
There’s also a mix of downhill-only trails and two-way trails. Please do not ride up trails with “Do Not Enter” signs.
The 10 Best Trails At Mammoth Mountain
Here are – in my opinion – the 10 best trails at the Mammoth bike park:
I love a good run on Downtown. It may not be the most technical or fastest trail at Mammoth bike park, but it’s flowy and most of the trail has real dirt instead of pumice. It’s great for families or those just starting out.
If you ride Downtown from the Main Lodge there are a few small hills to pedal up, so don’t expect it to be all downhill!
Off The Top
Off The Top is a must for anyone visiting the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. You’ll probably ride it a few times because it’s one of two ways to get down from the summit (the other way is Skid Marks, which is an expert-only trail).
Expect lots of paved berms, epic views of the Minarets and the backside of Yosemite, and drifty pumice under your tires. Keep the rubber side down 🙂 And don’t cut the corners!
Juniper is on the southeast side of the mountain where most visitors don’t make their way out to. But it’s awesome! Juniper actually has real dirt in places which is a novelty for Mammoth (which is mostly loose pumice) and the crowds tend to be way fewer so you may even have the trail to yourself.
It is a bit of a pedal to get out to Juniper unless you take Skid Marks from the top. Juniper will spit you out at Eagle Lodge and then it’s a slight uphill pedal through the neighborhood to get back to the village.
I personally think Beach Cruiser has one of the fastest and flowiest descents on the mountain.
The trail also coasts right beside the beautiful Reds Lake if you feel like taking an alpine dip.
One thing to note, though, is that there is an uphill Beach Cruiser and a downhill Beach Cruiser. The Mammoth bike park map has arrows showing which is which so be sure to cruise down the downhill or pedal up the uphill (which is actually a really nice climb).
If you have a pedal pass, Beach Cruiser is a great 5-mile loop.
There are two Mountain View trails in Mammoth. One is inside the park and one is outside the park. They do connect into each other and the outside-the-park Mountain View ends near Downtown (the trail), so you probably won’t even realize that you’re leaving the bike park.
The views on inside-the-park Mountain View are stunning and it’s definitely worth doing this section at least. If you want more of a pedaling adventure, take Minaret Summit Connector and cross the paved Minaret road. You’ll see the outside-the-park Mountain View trailhead past the parking area. It starts with a super fast and fun descent through the trees and then becomes a bit more pedally (but still fun).
You’ll come out near the Earthquake Fault where you can cross the road and finish your run on Downtown.
Upper Twilight Zone
Upper Twilight is one of my favorite trails at the Mammoth bike park. It’s one paved berm after another and once you get a hang of the turns, you can whip through smooth as butter and maybe even clear some of the tabletops.
The trail then transitions into a tricker section with a big elevated wall ride that is mandatory if you commit (or you can skip it) and a few other features that may need to be walked.
Note: Twilight Zone is rated as a double black on TrailForks, but I highly contest that. It’s a black at the most and doable for most intermediate riders.
Shotgun is my all-time favorite trail on the mountain. It’s super fun and fast and definitely raw and loose most of the way down. It also tends to get a lot of brake bumps, but once you run it a few times it’s got a ton of flow.
If you’re an intermediate rider I’d say try it out, but it’s definitely not for a beginner shredder.
Flow is a bit like Shotgun in that it is fast, loose, and steep but has great flow (as would be expected). There’s a little drop-in shoot that can be tricky, or you can skip it by going around.
There’s also the Flow Drop that is rather intimidating. It’s a 6-8 foot wooden drop onto pavers that is smooth, but big. There is a go-around for this as well.
Velocity is a pro-line and it definitely has some pro features. There is a technical rock spine roller that is committing, but smooth if you get it right. Just before that, there is an alt-line called the Hilary Step that is best done on a DH bike by an experienced DH rider (I haven’t hit it).
Velocity is a great trail though, and shouldn’t be missed if you have the skills!
I used to have a love/hate relationship with Follow Me, but now I love it. It’s the kind of trail that you have to go slow to go fast. The ‘fast’ lines are actually shortcuts over and through rocks that can only be made if your speed is in check. I definitely haven’t figured them all out yet, but each time I ride it I find a better line.
I’d also probably say that Follow Me is one of the hardest trails on the mountain. It’s narrow with lots of rocks and roots that could definitely be show-stoppers. It also tends to get hammered throughout the season making it even more challenging. That’s not to scare you off, though. If you’re an adept rider, go for it!
Your first 4 runs
Need someplace to start? Here are my 4 favorite trail link-ups a Mammoth Bike Park:
This is my go-to warm-up run. Off the Top and Beach Cruiser are fast and easy while White Bark and Richter add some techy bits. If you want to keep things chill, stay on Beach Cruiser all the way down instead of taking White Bark and Richter.
I have a love/hate relationship with Skid Marks. It’s worth doing once (at least to mix it up from Off The Top) but the top section is loose and mean and definitely not for everyone.
Lower Skid Marks is awesome, though, and connecting into the lower trails makes for an epic descent. You could go straight to Juniper after lower Skid Marks, but I like the descent on Timber Ridge the best.
One of my all-time favorite link-ups at Mammoth! Breakthrough is a bit of a pedal and then Flow and Shotgun are super fast and fun.
Yesss. So good. That’s all I need to say. This is one of my favorite runs on the mountain. It’s definitely for experienced riders, though.
Mammoth Lakes Bike Shops, Rentals, & Lessons
If you’re looking to rent a bike or need a tune-up, Footloose Sports is pretty much the only full-service bike shop in town.
They rent/demo bikes – including full-suspension e-bikes – and they have a full-service repair shop. They’re also super friendly!
Mammoth Mountain also has two bike rental centers. One in the Village right in front of the shuttle stop and one at the Adventure Center at the base of the gondola. You can choose from a full fleet of Trek rental bikes including e-bikes.
You can also sign up for lessons at either Mammoth Mountain center.
Where to Eat, Drink, & Sleep
Mammoth Lakes Restaurants
Mammoth Lakes has some pretty decent places to grab something to eat and drink post-ride. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Mammoth Tavern – A cozy tavern located on Old Mammoth Road away from the bustle of the village. Great happy hour from 4-5:30
- Mammoth Brewing Company – Mammoth’s own local brewery with lots of house beers on tap and a great outdoor seating area. The food is also delish. Definitely get the waffle fries. This place gets really busy.
- Public House – More of a bar/taproom than a restaurant, but they do have a small food menu. Choose from over 40 beers, ciders, and hard kombuchas on tap!
- Stellar Brew – A funky place to grab coffee and sandwiches to go
- Burgers Restaurant – Need a burger after a full day at the bike park? Burgers Restaurant is where you need to go. Their buffalo burger is so good
- The Latin Market – Tucked away at the back of a little Mexican grocery store, this is the place to get a burrito. It’s a hidden gem
- Elixer Superfood and Juice – A little bit of LA in Mammoth Lakes. Expensive, but delicious smoothies and super healthy salads and grain bowls made to order
- Campo – A great restaurant located right in the village with a nice outdoor patio. Their wood-fired pizzas and happy hour menu are two reasons to go
Mammoth Lakes Camping
There are lots of great camping opportunities around Mammoth Lakes:
- Camp High Sierra: a family-friendly campground with tent/RV sites as well as cabins. Conveniently located within easy pedaling distance to the Village bike shuttle. Take Juniper trail as your last run to return straight to camp.
- Shady Rest Campground: Located close to downtown. It would be a pedal to the bike park, but there is a free shuttle.
- Lake Mary Basin: these are a cluster of popular campgrounds located in the beautiful Lake Mary Basin. Cruise down the Lake Mary Road bike path to meet the village bike shuttle then take the free Lakes Basin Trolley back up the hill at the end of the day.
Mammoth Lakes Hotels
Things to do outside Mammoth Mountain Bike park
If you have a few extra days or hours to spare in Mammoth Lakes, here are a few fun things to do outside the bike park:
Soak in some hot springs
There are a half dozen awesome hot springs sprinkled around the town of Mammoth Lakes and they make for some great post-bike park soaking.
These hot springs can be a little tricky to find and the roads into them can be very muddy and rugged, so just keep that in mind before you head off to seek warm waters.
Wild Willy’s, Crab Cooker, Hilltop, and Shepherd are the most easily accessed, but also the most popular.
There is so much good hiking around Mammoth! It’s seriously a world-class destination.
If you have the legs after a few days at the bike park or you want to acclimate beforehand, here are some of my favorite hikes around Mammoth Lakes:
- Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes: One of my all-time favorite hikes in the Eastern Sierra, the Little Lakes Valley Trail to Gem Lakes is a great choice for an ‘easier’ hike since it starts above 10,000 feet. It’s absolutely gorgeous up there, though! To and from Gem Lakes is about 8 miles roundtrip.
- Duck Lake Pass: This is a beautiful hike. It’s 11 miles roundtrip and the trail passes by several small alpine lakes before culminating at the stunning Duck Lake with the John Muir Wilderness in the background.
- Rainbow Falls & Devil’s Postpile: A trip to Mammoth wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Devil’s Postpile, a super cool geological feature made up of columnar basalt. You can then take the 4.9-mile out-and-back trail to Rainbow Falls, which is also a worthwhile sight.
Visit an old mining ghost town
There are a few old ghost mining towns in Mammoth that are kind of cool to stroll around in. The Mammoth Consolidated Mine is up near Coldwater Creek Campground (also the start of Duck Lake Pass Trail) and it’s kind of interesting to walk around and look at the old mining cabins.
If you want to venture further afield, Bodie State Historic Park is a preserved gold mining town with a museum and daily tours. Bodie State Park is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Mammoth Lakes.
While Mammoth Mountain Bike Park isn’t your typical bike park with machine-built trails and tons of bike park features, it remains one of my all-time favorite bike parks.
The epic views, ‘kitty litter’ pumice, and huge network of trails are just a few reasons to plan a visit to this Eastern Sierra gem.
Guaranteed you’ll love it, too!
Road-tripping around California? Here are a few more fun CA bike adventures to add to your bike-it list:
Have you ridden at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park? What do you think of the ‘kitty litter’ and what’s your favorite trail? What questions do you still have? Leave a comment below!