Top 3 Mountain Bike Rides off the Beaten Path

Oct 20, 2020

Sometimes you just want to go for a mellow mountain bike ride—just you and the trail. You want to try something new and different and ride where not many others go. There are plenty of trails on Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, but there are also a few around town that are more off the beaten path.

Here are our three favorite bike trails in Mammoth that are off the beaten path.

Inyo Craters Loop

The Inyo Craters Loop is a fun and easy cross-country mountain bike ride that travels around Deer Mountain and through large groves of Jeffrey pine trees. With views of the San Joaquin Ridge, the ride is scenic too.

Start out at the Inyo Craters Trailhead heading south. You will cross many fire-road and trail junctions, but keep looking for the yellow mountain bike trail markers, which will point you in the right direction. There is a mellow descent at 6.0 miles, then a gradual climb back to the trailhead.

Don’t miss the Craters, which formed more than 600 years ago. Before or after your ride, take the hiking path out-and-back to the craters.

Distance: 10.5 miles

Lowest elevation: 8,100 feet

Highest point: 8,200 feet

Difficulty: moderate

Knolls Loop

Tucked in the Knolls and Shady Rest area in Mammoth’s backyard, the Knolls Loop is a moderate, multi-use trail. The loop is a combination of singletrack, off-highway-vehicle routes, and dirt roads, which wind through pine forests. There are some rolling hills too.

It can be hard to follow trails in this area, so be sure to keep your eyes open for the small yellow bike signs that point the way. Take the paved path from the Visitor Center toward Shady Rest Park. Look for the single track on the left side of the road and pick it up within 0.25 miles. Take the first left, which starts to climb steadily. You will stay on this main road for the duration of the ride.

It loops around and there are several spurs, but you will know the route because it is the most traveled.

Distance: 10 miles

Lowest elevation: 7,800 feet

Highest point: 8,460 feet

Difficulty: moderate

Panorama Dome

Okay, so it is a very short ride, but the Panorama Dome trail is one of the most fun and often overlooked mountain bike trails in Mammoth. The singletrack winds its way through a dense lodgepole forest and loops around the Panorama Dome, offering mountain vista views through the trees. With banked turns and good firm dirt, it may be worth riding a few times.

The trailhead is located on Lake Mary Road near Twin Lakes. Stay left on the trail to ride in a clockwise direction. Head out to Old Mammoth Road, then return the same way and continue to stay left to make it a loop.

Another option is to continue through to the Old Mammoth Road entrance and connect with Mammoth Rock Trail, at the next bend down the road.

Distance: 2 miles

Lowest elevation: 7,800 feet

Highest point: 8,460 feet

Difficulty: easy

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

More Blog Posts By Monica Prelle

More Posts

Like this