Mountain Biking Essentials for Your Next Trip to Mammoth Lakes

It’s no secret that Mammoth Lakes is mountain biking mecca. Take the Gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain and in less than ten minutes you’ll be whizzing down the single track, flowing over banked turns, and bombing over rocks and logs. Your heart will pump and gasp for air, but you’ll catch your breath and be ready to do it all over again.
Riding the mountain bike trails is a highlight of a trip to Mammoth, but before you go you’ll need to be geared up properly for the sport. You’ll need a few mountain biking essentials to hit the dirt. Be prepared for your mountain biking adventure with all the gear you need.

Mountain Bike

The first thing you will need to go mountain biking is a trail-ready bike. If you don’t have your own, or don’t have a way to bring it with you to Mammoth Lakes, there are a number of shops that rent mountain bikes of all sizes and styles. If you will be riding the downhill trails on the Mammoth Bike Park, consider renting a downhill bike with more suspension. If you are riding cross-country or beginner and intermediate trails, you will want an all-mountain bike with suspension. Mammoth Mountain has mountain bike rentals at the Mountain Center in the Village and at the Adventure Center at Main Lodge. Footloose Sports has the best selection of mountain bike rentals in town.

Protective Gear

You should always wear a helmet when riding a bike, but you will most definitely want to wear one when mountain biking. Trails have obstacles like trees and rocks that you definitely do not want to hit your head on without protection. Elbow, knee, and shin pads are nice for added protection incase of falls, or bumps with the bike. Mountain bike gloves are also a good idea to keep your hands free of scrapes and burns.

Mountain Bike Clothing

It may be warm when you are mountain biking, but it if you are downhill riding it is a good idea to keep your skin protected with long sleeves, and long shorts. Otherwise, wear athletic clothing that is lightweight and breathable. A pair of padded mountain bike shorts will make sitting on the bike seat much more comfortable. If you don’t have specific mountain biking shoes, you’ll want to wear a pair of sturdy shoes that can handle rugged trails with a pair of socks that cover your ankles. You might also want to consider carrying a lightweight waterproof jacket for rain showers or wind.

Hydration System

Water is important for a safe and enjoyable day in the mountains, so it is essential to stay hydrated. It is recommended that each person carry one liter of water for a full day of mountain biking. You may need even more, but the good news is that you can fill up on water at a number of places through out town or at the bike park water stations. If your bike has a water bottle holder or two, fill one bottle with water and the other with an electrolyte drink. Most riders will carry a hydration pack that allows you to also carry warmer layers, gear, and snacks.

Sun Protection

Event though mountain bike trails are mostly in the trees, you will still be exposed to high altitude sun, so it is necessary to protect yourself. Be sure to put sunscreen on any exposed skin and wear sunglasses. Hopefully your bike helmet has a small visor to help keep the sun off your face.

Mountain Bike Tools

It’s a great idea to carry a simple tool kit with an Allen wrench, small hand pump, tire levers, and a spare tube or patch kit. If you have a small emergency like a flat tire, or a loose seat post you will be able to fix up your bike and keep riding right away. You don’t need a lot of tools, but these few essentials might come in handy.


Since you are carrying water, a lightweight jacket, and a few bike tools, you might want to wear a small backpack. You don’t want anything too bulky because it will throw off your balance, but there are a few great hydration packs that are simple and efficient in carry all your gear. Then you can also throw in some snacks and a phone or camera. Look for a pack with a waist belt so the weight of the pack stays in place.

Mountain Biking Trails and Info

There are so many trail options for mountain biking in the Mammoth Lakes. The Mammoth Mountain Bike requires a lift ticket, or pedal pass to ride the trails and is a good option for anyone who wants to get a lot of riding done. There are also a great variety of mountain bike trails in the area that are free and multi-use. Check the Mammoth Lakes Trails System website to get information on where to ride.

Wondering where to find all this mountain biking equipment you’ll need? There are a few outdoor retailers in Mammoth Lakes that can help with expert opinions and advice when buying mountain biking equipment.

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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