Mammoth Mountain Bike Park | Trail & Information Guide
Overview: The Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is in the Inyo National Forest just outside of Mammoth Lakes, California. There is a massive network of mountain bike trails that you can ride here—with over 80 miles of adventure awaiting you just inside the Bike Park.
You will find everything from Cross Country Single Tracks to Technical & Pro Downhills to Insane Climbing along with Fast Service Roads like the Eliminator. The Bike Park also has many features, jumps, and some fun paver turns sections that will entertain just about anyone for days.
Mammoth has built trails for everyone from the Pro to Intermediate and Experts. For beginners, they have an excellent Discovery Zone with six trails to get you up to speed so you can explore other parts of the park. The zone is also serviced by chair 11, so you can get many laps in.
Besides the excellent mountain biking, the local area is one of the most scenic places in the world. The views from just about any place on Mammoth Mountain are jaw-dropping.
The Bike Park opens as soon as the snow melts off with the lower runs, and the Park Shuttle Bus out of the Village runs most years by Memorial Day.
As the snow line goes up, the on-hill lift-served mountain biking begins with the Panorama Gondola to Mid Chalet opening next. During average snow years, you will find about 90% of the park open, including trails from the top of the hill, by the July 4th Holiday.
Mammoth Mountain does have that famous so-called kitty litter, which is just tiny round pumice rocks, in many sections on the hill. To get thru those sections, slow down, turn wide, and sit back a bit, and you will be fine going thru the loose pumice. I don’t even notice it myself unless somebody mentions it.
While Mammoth is a great park to ride, it’s not a Whistler or a Bentonville. If you’re into peddling at altitude, technical downhill action, or maybe have an e-bike and want to add some lift-served fun, the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is worth visiting.
Along all the trails and fun you get out in the bike park, if you add all the other mountain bike rides you can do in the Eastern Sierra, you have a fantastic place for a mountain bike adventure.
And beyond Mountain Biking, there are many other things to do while you’re in the area, so you can get the perfect Mountain Biking and Mountain Vacation when you come up.
A good combo for fun is to take some morning runs in the bike park and then try a round of disc golf in the afternoon.
The Fine Details for Mountain Biking at Mammoth Mountain
Hot Tips: Get out early on the hill early. On days when they have Chair 2 running, park at the Mill and do laps off of 2 to avoid the crowds at Main Lodge. Riding in the later half of the day is a good choice, and people are toast by 2 to 3 PM.
Tickets and Season Pass: Bike Park Day Passes in 2022 were $59 for adults, with some discounts possible mid-week. Here is the link to get the Bike Park Ticket page so you can see what the most current cost is.
Riding Season: The Season at Mammoth Mountain Bike Park: Early Season Runs depend on the snow line. The trail below chair 4 is usually open by Memorial Day during an average year. Aka Shot Gun, Paper Route
By July 4th, they usually have run open from Mid Chalet with Off the Top and Skid Mark open by then. It can take all summer during significant snow years for all the snow to melt. After Labor Day, lifts run Friday – Sunday with peddle power for mid-week days.
Stats: 80 Miles of Trail with additional service roads accessible for climbing. 3100 Vertical Feet of Downhill possible from Skid Marks to the Bottom of Juniper Trail.
Elevations: The top of Mammoth Mountain is at 11,053 Feet, Main Lodge at 8900 Feet, and Eagle Lodge at 7900 feet.
Trail Difficulties: 6 Easy Beginner, 32 Medium, 9 Expert, and 6 Pro Lines.
Directions, Access, Parking & Dogs: The bike park is 3.5 miles up Highway 203 from the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Parking is plentiful. From Los Angeles, the drive is around 300 miles and takes about 6 hours.
Lifts and Shuttles: Panorama Gondola to MC Coy Station and the Top, Chair 11 & the Bike Park Shuttle Bus from the Village to Main Lodge Operate Daily.
Recommend Gear to Bring: Bring a Full Suspension Trail Bike for the best overall experience. If you want to experience the entire hill without bonking, I highly recommend renting an E-Bike from Footloose Sports or the Mountain Center in the Village. It’s much more fun to have peddle assist when you’re at altitude and want to get in 20-30+ miles out on the hill.
A Downhill bike is only needed by pros running some extreme lines. If you want to try one, Mammoth Mountain rents downhill bikes from the Main Lodge.
Other Places to Ride: Just outside the Bike Park are Mountain View Trail, Panorama Connector, and the Mammoth Rock Trail.
Local Bike Shops: Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes is located at the first corner when you enter Mammoth Lakes. You can reach them at 760-934-2400 or use this link to their website.
Lodging: Mammoth Lakes has much housing from moderately priced hotels and condos. Just do a Google search for the best deals and read reviews before booking.
Local Lodging Tip: Bring a fan with you during the summer months, as most local lodging does not have air conditioning, and it can get hot.
Camping: There are a ton of USFS Campgrounds you can stay at in the area. Here is a link to the USFS list of the local campgrounds. You should get a campground reservation if you’re coming for a weekend. Peak Camping season is from mid-June through mid-August. After that, finding a camping spot without a reservation midweek is possible.
There is also limited dispersed camping. Beware that the non-paid camping areas will be closed during the peak of the Fire Season, so check with the Forest Service before you set up camp in the forest.
Where to Eat: Mammoth Lakes and Bishop have a lot of places to eat. Do a Google search to find what fits your taste buds today. My favorite places to eat in Mammoth are Giovannis and Robertos. In Bishop, Imperial Gourmet is where I go for a meal.
Cheapest Fuel: You will find the best prices on gasoline at Fort Independence on Highway 395. Most people stop there on their way up and then again on the way home.
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park History
Mountain biking started on Mammoth Mountain in the early 80s when locals began riding around the service roads at the ski area. Somebody came up with the idea that the mountain should add mountain bike racing to the road bike races hosted during those times.
Once that happened, a world-class cross-country course was built on Mammoth Mountain. Several miles of single trails were constructed and interconnected with service roads, making for some tremendously challenging courses at altitude. The Kamakai Downhill and Hill Climbing events really got people’s attention.
The Mammoth Mountain Bike Park was birthed in 1991 when Dave Mc Coy got approval from the US Forest Service. Trail crews built Paper Route, Beach Cruiser, Big Ring, and Uptown / Down Town that summer. To this day, those single-track trails are still some of my favorite cross-country and climbing rides on Mammoth Mountain.
Over the years, the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park has grown into one of the premier bike parks built inside a major ski area.
Here are my Favorite Trails in the Mountain Bike Park.
#1 Uptown/Downtown Full Loop – The Uptown / Downtown trail was built in the summer of 1991 as one of the primary trails in the new Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. These two trails are a great loop ride, and they also offer many options with other trails in and out of the park they link up to.
Ensure you understand that Uptown and Downtown are part of the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. You can only ride these trails without a bike park pass up to the Mammoth Earthquake Fault. There is a loop option back downtown, or you can ride up the Mountain View Trailhead at the Earthquake Fault Parking area.
Uptown starts just above the Village and winds up to Main Lodge through the forest. There are a few rocky technical climbs for intermediates that are fun and challenging; otherwise, it is clear-packed dirt with just a bit of pumice on the climb.
Downtown follows a similar path from Main Lodge back to the Village at Mammoth. The downhill back to the Village is easy and family-friendly. There are even a couple of wooden berms for the kids to enjoy.
Over the years, I have used Uptown to access Mountain View and other cross-country loops I like to do in the bike park.
Stats: 9.5 miles, 8,000-8,900 elevation, 100% single track, Easy technicality & Moderate to Strenuous effort… Remember you’re riding uphill to the 9000-foot level.
#2 Big Ring – One of my favorite trails out on Mammoth Mountain was built in the early 90s. This trail replaced the need to climb the Chair 7 service road. Yes, you still need to climb, and if you’re not used to altitude, this is not the trail to warm up on.
The trailhead for climbing starts at the bottom of chair seven and quickly begins uphill. These days, the route differs from the old Big Ring bottom; it’s a bit tougher.
You can find this trail right off Paper Route at the midpoint rest station for the Downhill action. The 1.8 downhill is intermediate and flowy, but there are no features or pavers; this is good old-fashioned single-rack dirt. Over the years, I have also started my day riding into the park via Big Ring with a decent of the trail on my return home.
Stats: 1.8 miles, 2 Way, 8,340 to 8,820 – elevation, 100% single track, Medium technicality, Moderate to Strenuous effort on the climb Up.
#3 Paper Route To Manzanita (loop) – This loop starts at the top of Big Ring; there is a junction with water and a shaded bench to cool off. Paper Route heads out and under chair 16 and then across the very lower part of Lincoln Mountain.
You pass under Chair 22 and 8, and then the trail sends you towards the Little Eagle Express / Chair 15 area. The single-track trail wraps over to the base of chair nine before it wraps back up under the lower part of chair 9.
Along the way, you will find the trail going up, down, and back up. Once you do a U-turn near chair nine, the trail gets steeper and goes through the famous switchback section. At this point, you hit the junction with Skid Marks and Manzanita.
Manzanita trail takes you back over the upper parts of the chair 15 areas before heading across the lower section of Lincoln Mountain just below the Follow Me trail.
Stats: 5.4 miles, 2 Way, 8,760 – 9,040 elevation, Easy technicality, Moderate effort
#4 Beach Cruiser (loop) – This is an enjoyable ride that starts right out of Main Lodge and winds its way up through the trees near chair 11.
At this elevation, you will feel the altitude at 9000 feet. I just put it into my 52-tooth chain ring and climb away. About 3 1/2 miles into this ride, you reach the end of the climbing and end up at Reds Lakes.
Stats: 6.2 miles, 8,900 – 9400 elevation, 100% single track, Medium technicality, Moderate effort
#5 Off the Top – Is a family-friendly single-track 98% downhill trail that starts from the very top of the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park at 11,000 feet in elevation.
This trail is 5.5 miles long with 1,600 vertical feet of drop. Your Mountain Biking Skill level for this ride should be at least low intermediate.
On the trail, you will find a mix of firm dirt, pumice, crushed pumice, paver turns, several rocky sections, and some big old tree roots in spots.
Overall, the ride is pretty tame and advanced, and expert riders only ride this trail for a warm-up run and to admire the views.
#6 Gravy Train – This trail can be accessed from the lower part of Off the Top. It’s a two-way trail, so expect riders going up and down.
Stats: 1.5 miles, 2 Way, 9,570-9,720′ elevation, 100% single track, Easy technicality, Moderate effort
#7 Mid Town Overview: This is one of my favorite trails in the bike park. It’s not extreme but offers a roller coaster-type ride down from MC Coy Station back to the Main Lodge area.
This one features a section of over 25 banked turns at the top and opens up for a high-speed crossover of Stump Alley. It then heads through Mammoth’s unbound park, over the Broadway ski run, and off into the woods.
This part is all mellow XC country action. The final part of this ride sends you flying through some downhill sections with deep pumice in a couple of sports.
The very end winds through the lower part of Broadway. This is an excellent trail for intermediates who are not ready for the more techie downhill trails. The paver turns up top is a ton of fun and worth doing several laps on.
You can link this trail up for the best ride with the bottom part of Velocity and the Twilight Zone.
#8 Lincoln Express – Stats: 1 mile, 2 Way, 9,410-9,220′ elevation, 100% single track, Easy technicality, Moderate effort
#9 Bearing Straights This is a long XC downhill-type ride. The Trails starts right near MC Coy Station and wraps around the Gravy Chute head chutes and then out to about Scotties run, where it links up with
#10 Skid Marks
#12 Bullet Downhill
#13 Follow Me Downhill
#14 Twilight Zone
#15 Shot Gun
#16 Break Through