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CTUC Mammoth area trail/route descriptions:

 

For some of the below mentioned routes, the Mammoth Motorcycle club offers free GPS downloads at www.mammothmc.com

 

 

Crater Loop – approximately 25 miles, this trail begins and ends at the June Lake Junction.  Green or Red sticker vehicles are not allowed to cross the highway to complete the loop, but can use an OHV undercrossing about ½ mile north of the junction.  The crater loop is an intermediate trail with lots of bumpy, sandy, dusty, pumice filled sections as well as lots of great flowing fire roads. 

(Due to several sandy sections we recommend an 80cc minimum)

The entire loop is signed with brown and white arrows on carsonite posts.  Be aware, over the years the signage has become more difficult to read (especially at speed) – ride with caution – as some off roaders enjoy doing the loop in reverse.  Some areas of interest include the Devil’s Punchbowl, Crater Mountain pass (newest mountain range in N. America), Pumice sand flats/meadows, sweet smelling Jeffery pine forest (the largest in N. America), and spectacular views.

 

Lookout Loop – approximately 25 miles, this trail officially begins after the OHV tunnel crossing at the end of Sawmill cut-off road.  Stage in Mammoth at Shady Rest Park and take Sawmill cut-off to highway 395 OHV tunnel.  This loop is also signed with arrows on carsonite posts – beware – it may appear to be directional but many of the roads used are also used for regular two-way traffic especially as the route nears Big Springs campground.  This loop is considered an easy ride, beginners are welcome, and so are quads.  Short wheelbase trucks and jeeps will have no problems.  Very scenic overlooks, so don’t forget a camera.  This trail doubles as excellent snowmobiling too!

 

Sand Canyon/Wheeler Ridge – 32 miles round trip from Tom’s Place, route is only marked in places so download GPS tracks or ride with someone familiar with the area.  (this is the official MammothMC scenic ride)  This 4x4 trail goes up, way up starting at an elevation of 7,090 feet and topping out at 11,180 feet.  Along the way, you’ll meet lots of “rock puzzles” and a few sketchy side-hills and hill climbs.  It’s the same way in as out, but it is packed with challenge.  Don’t be surprised if you bike starts running like crap, being up that high will rob it (and you) of oxygen and horsepower.  Trail is open to all vehicles, but please, no stock 4x4’s.  Several campsites, side excursions, and fishing, are available up on the bench above Rock Creek canyon prior to (and after) the Wheeler Ridge turn-off.

 

Laurel Lakes trail – 12 miles round trip from town of Mammoth Lakes.  This trail everyone has to do once for the scenic value, but that’s about it.  The end of the road offers some small lakes with decent fish action.  Access from Sherwin Creek road leaving town from Mammoth Creek Park area.  The road climbs a steep glacial moraine with plenty of views and switchbacks, halfway up a side road leads to several aspen shaded creek-side camping spots.  Continue all the way up as the road narrows and becomes rougher with plenty of rocks.  Early season snow drifts often make the trail impassable until after the fourth of July.  Easy on a motorcycle, but a real thrill for Los Angeles SUV owners!

 

High trail – named by the MammothMC because this route connects the towns of Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and Lee Vining using a trail system that is the highest route possible without intruding into newly created wilderness.  As a side note, the newly created wilderness (2009) gobbled up many sections of the high trail – some of it was miles of pristine singletrack unlike anything else and highly sustainable since the early 1980’s.  The High trail is unmarked at present, but follow-able with some elementary map reading skills.  Start at Shady Rest Park, finish at Lee Vining Mobil mart.  Points of interest include: cut-throat Joaquin Jim’s singletrack, Crater Flats, Deadman’s creek (yes a chopped off head was found recently in the water), free OHV friendly campgrounds, Lost cement mine, Deadman’s summit, “roots” trail, obsidian domes, Hartley Springs singletrack, June Lake overlook, GAS + FOOD, Grant Lake, Horseshoe meadows, and Mono Lake vistas.

 

Low trail – also named by the MammothMC as this route follows the 395 (on either side) both north and south allowing beginners to the area the ability to travel some distance by keeping the highway well in sight.  Start at Mammoth’s Shady Rest Park, continue until you feel unsafe then double back.  Along the way expect to encounter: whoops, riff-raff, small stream crossings (seasonal), snow, dust, travel trailer homesteading and survivalists, OHV tunnels, super secret singletrack, a Cal-Trans rest stop with water and bathrooms, free OHV friendly campgrounds, nearly impossible hill climbs, deep sand, more dust, utility corridors, food and gas at June Lake, Lee Vining, and Crowley Lake (dual sport bikes only) & Tom’s Place.

The low trail is not signed, it’s where everyone funnels to naturally when they first arrive in Mammoth – and is has enough going on to be, well, dusty fun.

 

Note: MammothMC members regularly “bounce” from high to low trails as travel is frequent from town to town.  So many connectors (and loops) in our area make it possible to never ride the same route combination twice.  BOO-YA!

 

Glass Mountain Traverse – another famous but rarely spoken about Mammoth area dual sport ride (green/red stickers may “sneak” by as some of the roads are class II meaning that they are county maintained but street legal only dirt roads, good luck finding someone official out there who can tell the difference)

The traverse can be used as a one-way destination or as a loop, if looped expect at least 125 mile trip so plan for gas and meals accordingly.  A recommended staging area is Brown’s Town right after the Benton Crossing over the Owens River, they have a general store with all the provisions and welcome OHV use to their campground. (no gas, ice cold beer though)  The traverse is not signed but can be followed with strong map skills, or GPS.  Gas and food can be found at the June Lake Junction, about 85 miles from Brown’s Town.  Along the way sights and points of interest include: hill climbs along the spine of the Glass Mountains, Squaw Peak, views of the eastern sierra range and Crowley Lake, super secret legal singletrack – you will not find it without local knowledge, Sawmill meadows, a stretch of boring class II fire road, views of Adobe Valley, optional side trip to the Bald Mountain cabin, and more fun singletrack on the way to the June Lake junction.

Return to Brown’s Town using a combination of our other mentioned routes – Crater, Look-Out, High and Low trails.  Do not attempt this ride solo or unprepared, the Mammoth Motorcycle Club advises everyone to meet the bare minimum of preparedness by seeing (and executing) the following advice:

 
3-25-2011, CTUC map update!
 
The map was officially released yesterday to club members at our monthly meeting.  It's a step above the MVUM but utimately we were disappointed to see sparse club driven content.  Below is our response to the mapping team:
 
Hi Marty, like the new map, but besides a couple of pictures not much more MammothMC material was included.  I scoured it pretty thoroughly.
 
Our club has a few comments:
 
Still many errors on road colors, but as they were identified early on I guess it's OK to show everyone that the road into the Crowley Lake neighborhoods and to Tom's Place are dirt and green sticker friendly.  We all know they are not.
 
None of our loops are shown on the front color side except a modified Jerry Counts SMTS trail and some out of Bishop.  The Mammoth Loops on the black and white side look like MVUM cut and paste.
 
Our last draft showed the insert to show Mono Lake and north, which would be helpful to so many users than showcasing Pizona and Jerry's SMTS going through that area.  North of Mono Lake is Bodie, Virginia Lakes, and Bridgeport with better riding and ammenities/towns that riders are looking for.

Our write-ups were written to appeal to OHV users, although they weren't used we question the bland somewhat misleading text that was used to describe Mammoth area routes:
 
Look Out Loop: "three unmarked singletrack options" When's the last time someone was out there to verify?
 
Crater Loop: "trucks will find it tight between trees and brush near June Lake Junction" - yes, if driving cross country through the brush, but there is no section of road that can't handle all vehicles with plenty of room to spare.
 
Lookout/Crater Connector: "only open to street legal vehicles" - who's statement is that?  Why not route it off the street, a street legal only connector connecting two green sticker loops doesn't make that much sense.
 
Hartley Loop: "several single track sections" - 100% false advertising.
 
Hartley/Mammoth Connector: "This is a motorcycle trail connecting..." - technically it is a fire road, and a utility corridor freeway, multi-use trail, and one section has a 50" limit.
 
Mammoth Loop: "one short but very steep pumice section" - not true, it's fairly gradual but a deep rutted mess
 
We appreciated the chance to comment and collaborate but wonder what step in the process we missed.  We feel that the map was going to be made a certain way regardless and don't know who the final editors were.  It is better though than the MVUM series, and it will give visitors to our area a wider view of what's out there to explore - nice job on that, and thanks for putting in some other points of interest like hot springs, gas, food, campgrounds, etc (although many hot springs were censored on LADWP lands - it's a entire recreational area in daily use but let's pretend it doesn't exist on paper?  We thought that CTUC was a little more independent, unhampered.)
 
Marty, we enjoy working with you, sorry if any of this sounds harsh - as a club we like to get right to the point.  We know that revisions will be made in the future and are happy to help out.  Please pass on our comments to CTUC/Jerry.  -John.


Thanks, John... appreciate your candor.  Sorry the map is such a disappointment.  I apologize that more of the MMC material was not used... I did send your text to Jerry, and asked that he use some of it in describing the loops (he pretty much handled that part and the SMTS descriptions).  When the text came to me through the editor, I didn't know how much he used or not, and I was swamped trying to get the USFS and BLM info and points of interest up to speed.  I tried to use your list of items there (short of fishin holes) as a starting point.  The loops in Mammoth had been highlighted, and I thought they would remain so, in addition to being marked on the back.  (In fact, there should probably also have been a box marking the area that is shown on the back, so folks knew to go there).  At one of the last revisions, Jerry suddenly took the highlight off, which I questioned, but it was last minute and too late for me to mess with and there were much bigger fish to reel in at the time.  In Jerry's defense, describing the B/W map as no different than the MVUM is a bit of a stretch.  At least it shows the primary loop routes, and at a reasonable scale.  Even I could probably follow them now, and that's saying something.


As you note, there are some errors.  We knew there would be and we already found the same one you just mentioned (Crowley/Tom's Place) after print.  It's amazing how many we caught, but you can't catch them all the first time.  What I don't know is why there was a disconnect on so many of those in the first place, but it may have had something to do with routes that were not on USFS lands... our GIS data was pretty good for the USFS part.  I made a lot of changes to the legend, but failed to catch that there was no symbology for the yellow highlight which showed the loops and SMTS... another fix.

What would be great, is for you folks in the know to take a look for errors and/or changes (including text), and a "wish list" for the things that didn't show up this time.  DWP lands are a bit of an issue, but CTUC could show a bit more there, and see if DWP even cares.  

They are only printing up 20,000 copies, so the maps will go quickly, and the next revision will be better.  I would like to see more of your thoughts incorporated for the next revision.  I appreciate your efforts, and think that the pics are a good addition to the text.  I will send your comments on to Jerry.  We will be starting the Southern Zone map soon.  

Sorry I missed the meeting last nite.  Will try to catch you on the next.  Cheers! m

Hi Marty, I'm part of a larger process of making Mammoth the best apline recreation community in the country so I'm often sharp on Mammoth's best interests along with a big club proponent.  Jerry has a lot going on and sometimes things get a quick whitewash because he just doesn't know as much as he thinks he does - but no big deal, he gets things done too and for that we are appreciative.  Our locals sight in with much more precision and focus, as we should.
 
We'll keep a copy with comments and corrections, and when the next revision comes due we'll gladly hand it over.  I commented on the Crowley Lake road first because we already caught that on an earlier rough draft and had it noted.
 
DWP probably cares, but the newest recreation map just released by Sierra Maps (Robert Atlee) has all the springs on DWP land shown, named, and indexed on a side bar.  So at this time I don't even think they need to be involved.

And Marty, we're going to have a friendly club challenge this summer if you're up to it.  We'd like to run the "Mammoth Loop" with you using the map, but, no cheating and doing any pre-running before we set off.  We have a few bikes and spare quads around if you can't get a loaner from the USFS.

-John.


(from el presidente) Hello everyone,
 
Work has been a little busy for me, and I finally got a chance to really take a close look at the map last night...  um, yeah...
 
John is spot on with his questions and comments.  I think it fell a bit short in representing our area (mammoth June) to OHV users.  The back of the map shows a few Mammoth/June area loops in black and white, and it just seemed like it was an afterthought to the "actual map".  Who knows, it might've been.  To be perfectly honest with you guys, I didn't even know the back section was there at first - I was looking for those particular loops on the "main" colored section of the map, so I figured they were left out entirely.  
 
The map does a real good job in highlighting Jerry's SMTS route, but my question is:   I thought the "Glass Mtn Traverse" was open to licensed vehicles ONLY (class 2 road), and that it was technically off limits to Green sticker vehicles..?  
Was there a change made to the classification?  Is it "officially OK" to send Green sticker motorcycles/vehicles on that road?  The map didn't make that clear in any way.
 
The new Crowley lake drive green sticker designation was hilarious!  Is the USFS actually going to hand 10,000 of
these things out with that mistake on them?  The residents might not be too amused.  LOL! 
 
I know John covered this, but I'll just beat this dead horse a little more... HA!
Personally, the most disappointing part was the overly bland (and oftain exaggerated) descriptions found on the back.  It's a shame that none of the (accurately written) text John submitted was used.  John's descriptions went above and beyond, even including safety guidelines for each trail.   Who knows, maybe they were to ahead of their time... and readers need less color?  HAHA!  I dont know what to say really, at least the accurate descriptions can be found on the website, for those who care...
 
Anyways, I guess we can assume that Jerry had a vision as to what particular trails he wanted to "highlight" and what descriptions that he thought were accurate. 
 
Marty,  I appreciate the invitation to help create the "next  one," but isn't that what we were supposed to be doing all those times we met..  on this one?


Um, yeah...  Where to begin... or what to say?


I'm sure CTUC and Jerry will appreciate all your helpful comments.  While facilitating this process -- and paying for it, and attempting to help CTUC make it 100% accurate (but only being 99% successful) -- the Inyo National Forest will not be using this as an enforcement tool; nor is it the be-all and end-all for information on the loops and the OHV activities in the Mammoth Area (not to mention the additional two million acres and thousands of potential activities which could occur on the remaining area of this map).    There are things that I personally would like to have seen different about this map as well -- and as I pointed out in my message below -- some things were changed near the end and would have taken more time than we had to fix; there are all sorts of fine-tuning that could always be done on this otherwise large project...  AND at some point, it just needed to get DONE.  We were running out of time to pay for the map, and it could easily have stopped in its tracks.  

I am sorry for you that CTUC did not use more of your well-written text in the descriptions.  I wish more of it had been used.  Anything submitted by MMC and other groups was sent to Jerry, and hopefully used to inform the text.  The Forest did not weigh in on those descriptions, short of grammatical edits.  If you think Jerry got it wrong, be glad it wasn't up to me!

Having said that, I do believe that this map will be a huge help to folks visiting this greater area (not just Mammoth).  I believe the information and advice on the front and back of the map is generally helpful, and is a quick, concise way for folks to gain more information sources, get ideas on where to camp, where to ride, and what to see and do from Big Pine and north to Mono Lake/Montgomery Pass.

In CTUC/Jerry's defense:
  • The SMTS is intended to be a "dual-sport" accessible trail system, though as much as possible of it follows routes open to green-sticker bikes.  Much of the Glass Mtn traverse is on Maintenance Level 2 roads, so those are open to all vehicles, including Green-sticker; however, the county claims some sections of these roads, and those are subject to CVC regulations requiring licensed vehicles.  
  • While folks may want to see "North of Mono Lake... Bodie, Virginia Lakes, and Bridgeport with better riding and ammenities/towns that riders are looking for", that area is not on the Inyo National Forest, while Pizona and Montgomery Pass is.  In order to even get the Pizona inset to fit onto the map, the map producer had to use a reduced scale.  This map cannot cover everything for everybody, nor can it cover specific areas in exquisite detail, while leaving the rest unaddressed.
  • Roads not on Forest land and/or claimed by the county did not have the same embedded data as Forest roads and trails, so it was up to Jerry and I (and others) to catch many hundreds of potentially incorrect data on those.  In some cases, we made corrections, but then in "reversioning", the same mistakes sometimes came back from the mapmaker that we had to catch again... it may be "hilarious" that one of those slipped through, but it's also amazing that more didn't.  Hopefully, a green-sticker rider will figure out not to ride down a 55mph paved two-lane road and think it's legal.  There's also no legal way to get to it with a green-sticker bike, so I doubt a lot of folks will be disappointed to find out they can't trailer their race bike to Tom's place just to ride to Crowley Lake.
  • Clearly, Jerry (and I) appreciated the time that the MMC devoted to the map, which is why your group is mentioned by name in the blurb next to the agency logos at the bottom of the text.  

CTUC will produce a southern zone map of the forest this year.  As I mentioned earlier, I'd also like to see a more detailed version of the map in the Mammoth area, which is clearly your primary concern.  Hopefully, I will be successful in convincing the State OHMVR division to allow us to produce two maps instead of just one this year.  I'd suggest that you have a more direct, active role in working on this with Jerry and with other Trail groups such as MLTPA and others (CTUC is not just about motorized trails).  Since the map and text cover less area, your more complete (and accurate) descriptions and points of interest should fit well into that.  Let's get it right.

Hopefully, we can all work together with CTUC, the agencies, and other motorized and non-motorized public to make all of these maps better each time. 

Hey all, I think it's fine to let Marty have the last word on this.
He's got a few reasons to defend the map and that's great - we could
go back and forth for a long time on this but in the end it's just a
map. I think he understands our points.

Get out and pick up a map, $3.


 
To be continued?  Click here and see.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
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