Road Cycling the June Lake Loop
Oct 15, 2020
The craggy Carson Peak is a stunning backdrop to June Lake’s sparkling blue water. But June isn’t the only lake on the loop. The winding and rolling mountain road is ideal for road biking in the spring, summer and fall and accesses four lakes and plenty of foliage along the way. Though the road around the June Lake Loop has narrow shoulders, the slow pace of traffic and friendly vibe make it a top spot for road biking in the Eastern Sierra.
You’ll ride past Grant Lake’s sandy lakeshore and a brushy hillside before entering a narrow canyon with steep granite buttresses. Next you’ll ride past Silver Lake and through aspen groves. You’ll see cascading waterfalls on mountainside and pedal through a thick pine forest. A short steep climb gives way to a stunning vantage point of the smaller Gull Lake before descending around to June Lake’s north shore. There are plenty of rolling hills, but no long ascents, as the road perfectly bends and climbs.
How to Ride It: Start at the June Lake Beach, turn right on North Shore Drive, then left on the June Lake Loop heading back to the highway. At the junction with Highway 395 turn left, riding north. In 7 miles, turn left on to Highway 158 at the north end of the June Lake Loop before Lee Vining. You’ll ride past Grant Lake and Silver Lake as the loop winds through the mountains and aspen groves. In another 12 miles, turn left on North Shore Drive just before Gull Lake; the route climbs over a high point above the lake before descending back to June Lake Beach for a 22-mile ride with more than 1,000 feet of elevation change.
Quick Tips: There are a few ways to ride this loop. You’ll find parking at the June Lake Junction Shell Station on Highway 395, which also has a convenience store and restrooms. You can also park at the Oh Ridge lookout point or the June Lake Beach. To make this a full-day ride, start and finish in Mammoth Lakes. Take the Scenic Loop to Highway 395 north, continue past the June Lake Junction to the north end of the loop and follow the directions above. Return to Mammoth Lakes via Highway 395 and the Scenic Loop for a 58-mile round-trip ride. There are restrooms and water at a few campgrounds on the loop.