Top Spots for Winter Running in Mammoth Lakes

Oct 20, 2020

Depending on the snow levels, there are usually trails to run on in and around Mammoth Lakes year-round. Our favorite spots for winter running can be combined with other routes for longer distances, or just do an out-and-back to customize the run to your preferred time and length.

Sherwin Creek Road

With views of Mammoth Mountain, the Sherwin’s and the White Mountains, Sherwin Creek Road offers a full scope of mountain views in every direction. Sherwin Creek Road starts near Mammoth Creek Park off of Old Mammoth Road and travels 5 miles east to a junction with Highway 395. The road descends nearly 700 feet as the road drops in elevation toward the highway, but you won’t notice the hill until you are running back up it. The lower portion of the road is more exposed to the sun and lower elevation so gets less of a snow pack. Distance: 5 miles one-way Trailhead coordinates: 37.636072, -118.893334 Trailhead coordinates: 37.634746, -118.967170 Lowest elevation: 7,188 feet Highest point: 7,861 feet

Laurel Pond

The pond beneath Laurel Mountain is not only a favorite spot for ice skating when it’s cold, but also a bird hunting and off-road area. A road and trail circles the lake offering some of the smoothest dirt in the area. With very little elevation change, the loop is great for an easy run and great scenery. Circle it once for a short run, or a few times for longer distances. Distance: 2 miles Trailhead coordinates: 37.622621, -118.881414 Trailhead elevation: 7,142 feet

Mammoth Track

On any given day at the Mammoth track, a mix of locals and elite athletes train for upcoming races or general fitness. The craggy peaks of the Sierra Nevada create a stunning and dramatic backdrop for the track, which was designed using more than 31,000 used tires into the track’s surface and ground into the synthetic infield. The facility is part of a sports complex managed by the town of Mammoth Lakes and is located ten miles south of town at a 7,100-foot elevation. The high-performance all-weather, 8-lane polyurethane track is open year-round and is often the first place for snow to melt after a snowstorm. Distance: 1 lap = 400 meters; 4 laps = 1600 meters (9 meters short of a mile) Trailhead coordinates: 37.624687, -118.818304 Trailhead elevation: 7,014 feet

Green Church Road

The famed Green Church Road is a nice section of pavement for doing speed work in the winter or running at elevation when all else is covered in snow. The road, which is geographically named Benton Crossing, departs from Highway 395 about 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes and travels 45 miles to the junction of Highway 120 near Benton. There is an old green church on the corner. Distance: 5 miles one-way to Owens River Road Trailhead coordinates: 37.618788, -118.823274 Trailhead elevation: 7,041 feet

Whitmore Tubs Road

Another dirt road that is great for long out and back runs and scenery is the Whitmore Tubs Road near Benton Crossing Road. Located in the Long Valley Caldera, the road is a well-traveled route passing many natural hot springs. With views of the Glass Mountains to the north and the Sierra Nevada to the South, the route is great for unobstructed mountain gazing and full of sunshine. Distance: your choice out-and-back Trailhead coordinates: 37.624687, -118.818304 Trailhead elevation: 7,014 feet

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 monicaprelle.com and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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