Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack

    The Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - First Exploration Ride
    October, 2018

    What's the ultimate 200-mile mountain bike ride in the US? If about 80 miles of dirt road and double track can be replaced with singletrack, the Tahoe to Mammoth Trail could be a contender. The scenery is spectacular and most of the first half of the ride is on epic singletrack. Having dirt biked much of this route (see three of the routes here) and a video here, I knew the second half would be mostly sandy fire roads and not that great. However, I biked the route anyway to raise awareness to complete this trail and see if anyone had some sweet singletrack to share that I'm not aware of. Please message me if you have any route suggestions. I've already got some new ideas from the Caldera 500 Track that I was not aware of before this ride. Note that most of the story here is in the photo captions.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-p64_orig.jpg

    I started at Lake Tahoe on Ski Run Blvd and rode Powerline up to Cold Creek and then up to Star Lake and Freel Pass. It would shave some miles and about 1000 feet of climbing to go up Fountain Place Rd to Armstrong Pass. However, the philosophy for this trail is to choose the most epic sections of trail, even if it adds a little extra effort. Going over Freel Pass is worth the effort.


    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9f11_orig.jpgAbove: Gray Grandy joined me for the first 10 miles to High Meadow and the Cold Creek river crossing.
    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-dm5ewumaroq4h-ki1bcmiq_orig.jpgAbove: Star Lake. Still the coolest lake I've biked to.
    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9f12_orig.jpgAbove: The view from Freel Pass back at Lake Tahoe. The first 20 miles covers some of the most iconic terrain in South Lake Tahoe.

    From Armstrong Pass to Picket's Junction, the route follows some great new terrain you can see on the Eastern Half of this hope Valley Loop ride. About half the 15 miles from Armstrong Pass to the Charity Valley Trail is on cool cross country or really old fading roads. Adventure riding.Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-5wzrnt1tsfkefvrmbfe1ba_orig.jpg
    Above: Half way through Hope Valley.
    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-ozpveakysignsq4fxexc3a_orig.jpg
    Above: Granite walls above the Charity Valley Trail.
    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-yoj5f5lsth-5vi7c7rtcig_orig.jpg
    Above: T he view from the intersection of Charity Valley Trail and the Burnside Lake Trail. The general route of the next 20 miles is in the right quarter of the photo.
    Day 1 ended with 9 miles from Markleeville to near the junction of 4 and 89. The first climb up Poor Boy Rd and traverse went very smooth. Getting down to the river was another matter. I think I ended up with 18 ticks on me. Need to find a better connection here. I also burned through the Yeti brakes on the downhill so the next day I switched to a Trek Stache.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-screen-shot-2018-10-29-2-23-15-pm.jpg
    Above: Day 2 wound up Bagley Valley, another one of those incredible valleys that few people have seen but is only a few miles off of 89. The five miles before and after Bagley Valley need a lot of exploration. My line took a lot of steep fire roads. Very rocky.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-hmolzlutty2nmx-ioxpiew_orig.jpg

    Above: Trail fairy to the rescue with water and gummy worms. My wife Viktoria shuttled from the end of Day 1 back to South Lake Tahoe so we could go to some parties. She dropped me off for the start of Day 2 and then greeted me midday on Day 2 and Day 3 with gummy worms and water. It's possible to do this ride unsupported, it just takes more planning. Or just bring all the backpacking gear.

    The second night was cold. We woke up to 16-degree temps. Our water froze. We car camped days 2 and 3. There are infinite camping opportunities. If you planned it right you could probably camp at a hot spring at the end of each night

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9f02_orig.jpg
    See the trail? Occasionally Tricky route finding through aspen groves. This was one of the coolest sections of trail.


    Fall is definitely the most beautiful time to do the trail. The whole month of October usually has great colors.


    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9eff_orig.jpeg
    Above: I got a little lost just before finding the trail and making it over “the pass” between Huntoon Creek and Patterson Canyon. Keep your GPS app handy in this spot. Another stunning valley in the New Range. Who has ever heard of this range? I hadn't. So many cool zones to explore on the East Side.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-xhehbuxuscm8ptpuw2yutg_orig.jpg
    Above: You know the trail is overgrown when... you get a stick in the leg.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9ee3_orig.jpg
    Above: Trail fairy saves the day at the Buckeye rd cutoff.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9efc_orig.jpg


    Above: Looking over Twin Lakes. One of the better views and coolest sections of single track on the ride. This also marks the end of the best riding. After this is mostly double track and sandy fire roads. Lots of exploration needed to sniff out better options.


    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9eeb_orig.jpg
    Above: Mono Lake near sunset. At the end of day 3, I was racing daylight to get to the Mobil Mart for fish tacos.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-screen-shot-2018-10-29-5-29-35-pm_orig.jpg
    Starting day 4 with Mono Lake in the background.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9f14_orig.jpg

    Above: While the fire roads and sandy double track on day four were between unremarkable and miserable, there were a lot of great views.

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-icg0fhlisjao2-6k5u-6wg_orig.jpg
    Above: These signs helped find the best double track and fire roads on the way into Mammoth. Until there is single track, follow these.


    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-fullsizeoutput-9ef6_orig.jpeg
    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-img-1545_orig.jpg
    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-screen-shot-2018-10-29-2-15-34-pm_orig.png

    The gear that mattered on this ride
    - Extra sealant in tubeless tires - I got two punctures and luckily the sealant filled them in before I had to do anything
    - Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Messenger - allows you to text from anywhere. Crucial if you're being supported and want to coordinate with your ride.
    - GAia gps App - I go back an forth on the best apps to use. GAIA GPS is still my favorite. It's especially cool to load the really old topo layers from 1900 and 1930 to sniff out old roads.
    - Bike PhoneMount - A must. Or bring a good Garmin Bike Computer.
    - Top tube bag for sour gummy worms and snacks.
    - Here are mytips for long bike rides.
    Next Steps
    Please message me if you have any suggestions for ways to make this route have more/better single track
    Last edited by Chris_Mac; 01-25-2019 at 10:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dude! That trip looks insanely fun. I can't help out with the single track, but FYI- there are a few of us on this forum that have talked about doing a long haul like this (maybe not THAT long!), but bringing along a rope, a small rack and the old TC pros. I didn't see those items on your checklist!
    As always, nice write up.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the report, Chris. Sorry I missed it! Next year looks good. Crank on

  4. #4
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    That looks incredible. There is so much land and so little is seen by most. Isn't the twin lakes photo out of chronological order (or maybe they are a different set of twin lakes)? I sometimes camp there between days of riding chairlifts (I suck).

  5. #5
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    Incredible.

  6. #6
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    Awesome work!

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    I’m ready for a ride like that. You should also post in the bikepacking forum. Fantastic!

  8. #8
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    Very nicely done!!!!!

  9. #9
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    Wow. Incredible.

  10. #10
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    Good suggestion. Just did.

  11. #11
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    I'd do that ride with you again, look for better routes, hollar at me, I'm in Carson City
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I'd do that ride with you again, look for better routes, hollar at me, I'm in Carson City
    Sweet. Do you guys have any suggestions on how to collaborate and share GPS tracks? Ride with GPS has a group feature but it's expensive. Google maps only let's you share 10 tracks at a time...

    At the moment, Cal Topo is the only decent free option I have found.

  13. #13
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    If only there was a perfect singletrack already on the ground and on public lands that already connected SLT to Mammoth...

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-perfect-tahoe-mammoth.jpg

    Something that probably looks like this:

    Tahoe to Mammoth Trail - looking for singletrack-img_2375.jpg


  14. #14
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    I've never seen such a perfect cycling trail

  15. #15
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    Big fan of the work you do Chris. Hope to run into you sometime and pick your brain on some south of SLT trail/exploration ideas. PS thanks for putting up divide sky and pushing that mentality!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Mac View Post
    Sweet. Do you guys have any suggestions on how to collaborate and share GPS tracks? Ride with GPS has a group feature but it's expensive. Google maps only let's you share 10 tracks at a time...

    At the moment, Cal Topo is the only decent free option I have found.
    Holy shit. A thread in the norcal forum that actually deals with cool riding, awesome. Nice work, I look forward to seeing more and an eventual GPX.

    This is what I use. I find the free version to be more than sufficient though I do have the full boogie version as well. Scott is a pioneer in this kind of stuff. TopoFusion.com | Download Free Version

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by paintballeerXC View Post
    Big fan of the work you do Chris. Hope to run into you sometime and pick your brain on some south of SLT trail/exploration ideas. PS thanks for putting up divide sky and pushing that mentality!
    Thanks! A LOT more new moderates in the works. I'll post them on New Climbing Routes Around Lake Tahoe when they are live. It's a private Facebook Group for now but everyone who wants in gets in.

  18. #18
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    After a long perfect day for cycling it was fun to see your solo track heading down Charity Valley that first day knowing what you were attempting! Way to keep thinking big!!

  19. #19
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    Chris_Mac. Right On!

    There are many possibilities in Mono Co. in order to make more single track from the Monitor Pass area down to Mammoth/Bishop. The Town of Mammoth Lakes and County will have a shared recreation coordinator / trails person starting the middle of January.

    I will share your post / alignment with him once he is on board. The communities in Mono Co (Walker and June Lake specifically) have been asking for trails for a while now and the Town of Mammoth Lakes has some exciting projects (not on Mammoth Mtn) in the Sherwin’s Area under various stages of review with Inyo NF.

    The Town actually has money to build and maintain new multi-use single track. Exciting times for the greater Mammoth area. The County is a bit more financially constrained but appears willing to do more regarding trail development.

  20. #20
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    Thanks, Gerryl. I just sent you a private message with the names of folks I have contacted so far from the Mammoth Area. Would love some more contacts and to be a part of getting more singletrack!

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    Just remembered this old Tahoe to Mammoth dirt bike video showing most of the fire road sections

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Mac View Post
    - GAia gps App - I go back an forth on the best apps to use. GAIA GPS is still my favorite. It's especially cool to load the really old topo layers from 1900 and 1930 to sniff out old roads.
    I just wanted to update this and say I still keep GAIA GPS but I much prefer Ride With GPS because it has a great route planner and will give you turn by turn directions. It also has access to old topo layers as well.

  23. #23
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    Thanks for keeping this flame burning. Love to sample it...

  24. #24
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    Hey, I’m wanting to do this ride or something similar, had forgotten this thread and someone linked it for me in the bike packing forum.

    So who’s in and when are we going?

    Low snow year, so maybe late summer?
    GG Megatrail 27.5 (Braaap!)
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    Pivot Shuttle 27.5 (wife's)

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    I am going to start riding this in June and will likely have a much better "Version 2.0" route by July. Hit me up before you head out (message me or reply to this thread) and I can share the latest route.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Hey, I’m wanting to do this ride or something similar, had forgotten this thread and someone linked it for me in the bike packing forum.

    So who’s in and when are we going?

    Low snow year, so maybe late summer?

  26. #26
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    Might have more time for domestic adventures this year than planned. Super interested in what comes out of this!

  27. #27
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    Smile Doing this route September 2020. Please share updated route info

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Mac View Post
    I am going to start riding this in June and will likely have a much better "Version 2.0" route by July. Hit me up before you head out (message me or reply to this thread) and I can share the latest route.
    Chris, I Will be doing this route in September 2020, and would love to have any route info (GPS data). Thanks in advance.

    Tom
    Marin County

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    If only there was a perfect singletrack already on the ground and on public lands that already connected SLT to Mammoth...


    This is the dream...

    Does anyone know if there is a current push to allow bike access to the PCT? The issue seems to flare up every few years.

  29. #29
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    My understanding is that until the federal regulations for bikes in Wilderness are readdressed it's a nonstarter, and that will have a much larger influence than just opening the PCT.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Mac View Post
    I am going to start riding this in June and will likely have a much better "Version 2.0" route by July. Hit me up before you head out (message me or reply to this thread) and I can share the latest route.
    Did you still give the updated route a go, or has Corona postponed it?

  31. #31
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    i am still chipping away at the updated track... hoping to have one by September. but if you want to do this ride now I am happy to take my best guess at what version 2.0 will look like.

  32. #32
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    Awesome thread.

    Living vicariously through it.
    “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

    George Orwell

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