Choose Your Own Adventure at the Mammoth Gran Fondo

Aug 30, 2022

As temperatures begin to cool in the Mammoth Lakes area and the feeling of fall rolls in, an age-old tradition looms on the horizon. The Mammoth Gran Fondo occurs each year in September and offers riders three options to test themselves at altitude.

Your first choice is the Piccolo. At 42 miles, this route is the most manageable of the distances and if you’re new to the event, could be a great way to test your strength.

According to the event’s website, the Piccolo starts with “a short climb up the Mammoth Scenic Loop.” Riders are soon rewarded with a fun descent to U.S. 395, before heading south in a comfortable bike lane. Riders are then treated to amazing views of expansive vistas and forests filled with Jeffrey Pines on their way to Crowley Lake. At Crowley Lake, the ride doubles back toward Mammoth Lakes via 395, with one final climb up Hwy 203 back to your starting point. 

If you’re feeling a bit feistier you can kick it up notch with the Medio distance. This route takes you on 70 miles of “epic scenery of the Eastern Sierra.” As the event sites puts it, “Tougher than the Piccolo, more manageable than the 102-mile Gran Fondo, the Medio is a great choice for the rider who has some miles under their chamois but doesn’t want to attempt a three-digit distance.”

Last but definitely not least, there is the granddaddy of them all, the Mammoth Gran Fondo. The rough translation of Gran Fondo from its Italian roots is “Big Ride,” and the Mammoth Lakes version does not disappoint. 

You’ll start and finish the ride at 8,074 feet and you’ll climb 6,643 feet in challenging but manageable chunks along the way. The uphill climbs are spaced well with long, fast descents in between to regroup and recharge. What really makes this distance memorable are the breathtaking views throughout the region.

Touting only one stoplight through all the courses, 75 miles of the Gran Fondo route closed to thru traffic, and much more, the Mammoth Gran Fondo event is a tradition you won’t want to miss.

This year’s event takes place on Sept. 10, 2022. Online registration is open through Sept. 7 at 5 pm. Onsite registration will be available.

Additionally, this year you have the opportunity to add a little pampering to your registration with the Prima Fondo VIP Experience. This experience provides you with priority and exclusive check-in/packet pick-up, plus access to the special VIP seating area at the post race party and more.

Learn more and register at

Lara Kaylor

Lara Kaylor is an outdoor enthusiast who gets her thrills from big time recreation in Mammoth Lakes where she resides with her husband and daughter. An award-winning journalist, Lara has been writing about all things Eastern Sierra since 2003. Lara currently works as a freelance writer and the Director of Content, Communications and PR for…

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