One Spring Day: Ski, Bike, and Run

Oct 20, 2020

Savvy skiers get up to the hill early in the morning. The snow might be frozen, but the smoothness of fresh groomers makes it all right. Take a few runs while the sun softens things up and you’ll be warmed up and ready to go to the top when the conditions are just right.

Once the golden hour of spring corn skiing turns to slush, you’ll know it’s time to head down the hill and ride your mountain bike. There are plenty of trails to pedal around town, or you can drive 30 minutes away to the popular Lower Rock Creek Trail. Ride for an hour, have a snack and get ready for a run.

There’s no formula for the Sierra Trifecta, but here are a few of our favorite places to ski, bike and run in the spring.

First, Go Skiing

Cornice Bowl to Gremlin’s Gulch is a favorite route for hot dogging in the spring. The steep black diamond run is regularly groomed and when the snow softens up it is fun for fast turns. Once at the bottom, roll over into the Gremlin’s Gulch—a natural half-pipe like gully that heads toward Chair 23. Open up some big turns and do it again. Cornice Bowl can be accessed from Chair 23 or the Upper Panorama Gondola.

Scotty’s is named for the fallen Mammoth Mountain Ski Patroller, Clifford Owen Scott, and is a favorite ski trail for steep skiing. It’s a long run and sometimes groomed. The trail is located to the looker’s right of Chair 23 between Wipe Out Chutes and the Paranoid Flats. The run can be accessed from Chair 23 or the Upper Panorama Gondola.

Next, Pedal One of These Trails

The Knolls Loop is a multi-use trail that is a favorite for its close proximity to the town of Mammoth Lakes and one of the first areas to be free of snow in the spring. A combination of singletrack, sandy off-highway-vehicle trails, and fire roads, the route meanders through Jeffrey pine forests and over rolling hills. Take the paved bike path from Shady Rest campground and keep your eyes open for the single track on the left. There are several spurs that turn-off, but follow the route that is the most traveled with small yellow mountain bike trail markers.

Uptown-Downtown Mountain Bike Trails start and end on Minaret Road near the Village at Mammoth. Only the lower sections of the trails are open and free of snow in the spring, but together they make a nice loop. Climb up on Uptown for about two miles and turn at the junction with Downtown to descend back to where you started.

Lower Rock Creek Trail is one of the most popular Eastern Sierra mountain bike trails. The trail is located about 30-minutes south of Mammoth and is typically ridden in a downhill direction (8 miles) with a car shuttle. Many cross-country riders enjoy pedaling the top two sections as an out-and-back, or a loop (6 miles) using the road for the ascent. The bottom of the trail is located in Paradise, look for the small parking and picnic area.

Then, Finish the Trifecta with a Run

Sherwin Meadow – Enchanted Forrest Loop is the favorite trail run in town. The route combines dirt roads and single track trails for a moderate loop with minimal climbing. From Sherwin Creek road, take a right at the closed-gate dirt road at the Forrest Service Stables. Stay on this road until it ends and turns into a trail. Continue on to a small pond. Turn around here for a three-mile round trip run, or add on another mile with the Enchanted Forrest loop.

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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