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Off Roading in Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Mountain - Off Roading The Mammoth Lakes area is the best place to explore the great outdoors. To drive off the road and on a four wheeling adventure across the Sierra is best all out day you could have. Discover the High Sierras of California with Hundreds of miles of unpaved roads that are waiting for you in the Inyo National Forest. There are high mountain lakes, canyons, giant boulders, snow melt streams, forests of tall pines and, high desert plateaus. Stop in at the Mammoth Visitor Center that is located at the entrance to town. The center has free off highway vehicle maps and topo maps that are needed to have a wonderful time off road. There are 14 different trips that one can take. The trips offer ghost towns, gold mines and geologic sites, like the Hot Creek, Inyo Craters and the Obsidian Dome.

Off Road Vehicle Regulations

For people to drive on public lands your 4WD must be street legal or display a California Green Sticker. The sticker you can get at the Department of Vehicles. You must have a Forest Service approved spark arrester. The local Ranger Station can also help with the legal areas to ride off road. If you are an out of state 4WD driver you must carry an out of state identification and you may not need a California green sticker.

Rules of the out doors

  • What ever you take into the out doors you take out.
  • Stay on the path or road so to control the erosion and to preserve the land so we can all come back again.
  • Keep the noise levels down to increase the possibility of seeing wildlife.

Motorcycle

There are many opportunities for riding your motocross dirt bike. The forest is a great place for the scenery, challenging terrain and interesting rocks and streams. Mammoth and Bishop have motocross tracks and summer races.

Some of the motocross bikes that may be seen ripping up the dirt in Mammoth are, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki.

Accessories

There are great accessories for off road bikes and of course they are a must to have.

  • Helmets:  Fox V2, bell Moto 8, Thor Force Tedesco, Titan and Troy Lee SE.
  • Goggles: Oakley Crowbar mx, Smith piston, Scott Dragon MDX.

 

Mammoth Mountain - Off Roading Off road trips

Laurel Canyon Road.

Take Sherwin Creek Road from Old Mammoth Road. Laurel Canyon is challenging, rough and is not always maintained so make sure that you drive with caution. It has Fishing, Camping and the views are fantastic that are all around you. The trip ends 5 miles into the canyon with the Laurel Lakes.

Creek Road.

Just out of town is Sherwin Creek Campground. The right fork is open for 4WD use. Easy, nicely forested, and ideal for the families to venture out. This area has a loop along this road, just be careful of cars and bicycles and maybe hikers.

Mammoth Creek Road.

Old Mammoth Road, It is five miles of easy riding close to the Mammoth Creek. The road loops back to the Creek Road.   

San Joaquin Ridge.

The Scenic ridge top route is 2.6 miles. The first dirt road to the right heading for Minaret Vista. This road requires 4x4 high clearance trucks and the road is not always maintained for the best drive. The soil is very fragile in this area and you must stay on the road.

Lookout Mountain

Go North on Hwy. 395 to the Lookout Mountain turnoff across from the Mammoth Scenic Route. 3.1 miles to a scenic 360° overlook of the Sierra Mountains. This is of Glass Mountains, and Owens Valley. Easy to moderate riding and it has many connecting roads east of the Hwy. 395. Be careful and aware of other vehicles out having a great time as you are.

Ball Park Vista.

This is a five mile loop from Sawmill Road and then it is a steep upward grade to the Vista Point. This overlooks Shady Rest and the town of Mammoth Lakes.

Dry Creek Loop.

The 2.5 miles up Minaret Road. This is a 15-mile loop that will take you to Dead man Road. Varied terrain.

East Craters Loop.

Mammoth Mountain - Off Roading This is 24 miles round trip. The vehicles should be high clearance 4WD only.
 North on Hwy. 395.Turn right on the dirt road 200 yards past the June Lake Junction. 1/4 mile down the dirt road is a kiosk. Going south East Craters Loop begins there. The road turns into a split after ½ mile. This is the beginning and end of the loop. The sights you see are Mono Craters, Sand Flats and Devil's Punchbowl. This loop is bumpy and dusty with fantastic views.

Bald Mountain Road.

 This is 23 miles. From 395 to the top of Dead man Summit at Logging Camp Road. This goes to the Bald Mountain fire lookout station. Follow the direction signs to Bald Mountain Lookout. The trip has great views and the road is well maintained. At the top there is a log cabin warming hut and should be open to the public.

Sawmill-Alpers Canyon Trail.

This is 17 miles one way with a high clearance 4WD for the best trip.
Go to Shady Rest Campground across from Mc Donald's. This road goes north to Hwy 395. All other vehicles cross Hwy. 395 to Owens River Road. Turn left go for a short distance, turn right on to 2S04 west to 1S05, and head south to join Hwy. 395. This offers good views and lots of variety of the terrain.

Owens River- Hot Creek Road.

This is17 mile trip. From Hwy. 395 go north of Mammoth Lakes at Owens River Road. This is a paved road that follows the Owens River until the road turns to dirt. Turn right at 3S44 go to Hot Creek Geological Site, that has bubbling hot springs. The road ends back on Hwy. 395 after you drive past the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery. If you would like to stop there it is open for you and your kids to look at all of the fish that many will be in the lakes and streams of Mammoth lakes.

Lookout Mountain Loop.

This trip is 10 miles round trip. It starts north of Mammoth Lakes off of Hwy. 395 and heads north. The road navigates around Lookout Mountain. There are fantastic 360° views of Long Valley Caldera, Obsidian Dome and Mono Craters.

Deadman Creek Trail.

This is a 6 mile one way trip. West from Hwy. 395 past Crestview Rest Area and Owens River Road. The road follows Deadman Creek toward its headwaters. Great fall colors in late September that must not be missed.

Inyo Craters Road.

Mammoth Mountain - Off Roading This trip is 3 miles long one way and is for high clearance 4X4s. This drive takes off from Mammoth Scenic Loop Road and goes along the base of the Inyo Craters. This is a great place to view ancient volcanic activity.

Crater Flat Loop.

 This is a 5 mile drive from the Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop. If you take Inyo Craters Road. The Crater Flat Loop starts 500 yards down Inyo Craters Road and goes through Crater Flats and the Jeffrey Pine forest. This has views of Mammoth Mountain. If you were to go on to Deadman Creek Road then go east to Hwy. 395 or to Deadman Creek to reach the campground where Inyo Craters Road goes back to the Scenic Loop.

San Joaquin Ridge Trail.

This is a 3 mile one way trip for 4WD high clearance SUVs and trucks only. This road starts near Minaret Vista after turning right off Hwy. 203. The road goes up a ridge to Deadman Pass. Views of the Minarets, Mammoth Mountain, Long Valley Caldera and White Mountains from a 360° point of view. Please check the Ranger Station for if the road is closed or not.

Knolls Trail.

The road goes for 8 miles one way and a high clearance 4x4 is the best way to travel this road. From Shady Rest Campground travel for a few miles. This road goes up Knob Hill and across the top of the Mammoth Knolls. There is an overlook of the Town of Mammoth Lakes. This meets Mammoth Scenic Loop north to the Inyo Craters Road. Views of the Sierras and Mammoth Mountain can be seen.

Little Antelope Valley.

This round trip is 15 miles. It begins at the end of Hwy. 203 east of Hwy. 395. Trun left at Little Antelope Valley Road. Road turns east up the hill. The road takes you through mountain and meadow terrain with great views. This route goes past Hot Creek and back to Hwy. 395.

Sherwin Creek Road.

This is a 5 mile one way trip. It starts at Old Mammoth Road and Sierra Meadows Ranch. There are fantastic meadows and lots of beautiful aspen trees next to the creek. Great views of Laurel Mountain and lots of wildlife to photograph or just kick back and view.  This ends back on Hwy. 395. The road has been and is maintained.

Laurel lakes Road.

Mammoth Mountain - Off Roading This is 4 miles one way with your 4WD high clearance truck that is set up for adventure. This road starts at Sherwin Creek Road goes up a glacial moraine to Laurel Lakes. This has many beautiful aspen trees, and the viewing of deer in spring and fall. The road is rough, steep and narrow. This road is for the advanced 4WD drivers only.

Springs / Laurel Ponds Road.

This is a 3 mile trip one way from Sherwin Creek Road past the Laurel Settling Ponds. The journey is past Meadows, wild flowers and lots of bird watching. Deer can also be seen in spring and fall. The colors are fantastic so a camera would be great to have during late September. Aspen trees are at the bottom of Laurel Mountain that indicates the location of springs with a narrow creek to the ponds.

 

MAPS

The Forest Services publishes great maps and topo maps with Off Highway Vehicle trails. We highly recommended that you get maps of any of the areas mentioned here. The Ranger Station or the Visitor Center can help you plan the trips that are mentioned.  Please follow the rules, and do not leave trace that you have been in the Forest. Have a wonderful time.

This information is for general purpose and not to be used for exact information, Make sure you contact the forest stations for maps before heading out. A cell phone or a GPS is also advised to carry with you. Also make sure that you have first-aid, shovel, tools, water along with food, gas for the truck, rope and anything that may help you out of being stuck for any length of time.

Adventure Medical First Aid Kits (Hunter) by Red Cross

You should never go out unless you have a good first aid kit. This kit offers just about everything you might need to cover any situation that may come up.

 

4X4 TRUCKS TO CONSIDER FOR GREAT OFF ROADING

 

TOYOTA

The Toyota F J Cruiser has a 4.0L engine that puts out 239-HP V6, The water resistant seats, and rubber floor and rear deck, along with underbody skid plates. This is a great car with the looks of the past.

CHEVY

The Chevy Tahoe Z71 Off-Road 18 inch aluminum wheels, Automatic locking rear differential, high pressure shocks, fog lamps, skid plate package, leather seats, this truck is a beautiful SUV that can go any place you wish. This is an all time favorite truck that I have had in a full spin on ice with out a scratch on the truck. I would love to try this easy driver comfort plus out on some ruff going roads but the wife says no way. Get your own truck.

JEEP

The Jeep Wrangler 3.8-liter V6 with six-speed manual transmission, 17- inch cast- aluminum wheels with 32- inch mud tires, balanced Dana 44 heavy duty solid front and rear axles, and removable full framed doors. The Jeep Cherokee is a truck that I owned it was the best 4X4 that never let me down. I pulled a stuck full sized Ford truck with a 16 foot trailer attached to it out of deep loose soft dry dirt. This same 4X4 pulled its way threw a deep boulder ridden creek bed full of 2 and ½ water with no trouble. The great thing was that this Jeep had only stock equipment with street type tires and wheels.

Mammoth Mountain - Off Roading LAND ROVER

The 217 horse power V8 Discovery manual transmission, 17inch aluminum wheels, and two sunroofs. This truck has lug nuts three times the size of other trucks and is built like a tank. I owned one of these power house trucks that made me feel as if I could drive threw and over anything in my way. I have had many fond memories with my Discovery.

FORD

The Ford Explorer 4.6 V8 6 speed transmission, control trac 4WD. This is a solid truck offering leather seats, skid plates and much more for a reliable truck.

 

Accessories for your 4X4

The winch is the only way to go into areas that there is no help when you are out on the trails of the back country. So mount that winch to the front bumper and save your truck, expensive towing charges and most of all the trip of wonderful memories in the great outdoors of the High Sierras. This is a list of a few Winches that can serve you well.

 

WINCHES:

  • Super winch EP12.5 Viking
  • Electric Winch SE12000C: MILE MARKER
  • Gorilla winch

 

4X4 TIRES

  • DUNLOP MUD ROVER - This is a great tire although one really needs to explore the kind of driving you wish to do and how much real time spent off road.
  • BF Goodrich - Makes a great tire one is called the ALL TERRAIN. The MUD TERRAIN KM-BF or the MUD TERRAIN
  • KRAWLER.
  • Goodyear - The off road tire made by Good year is MTR-Goodyear
  • The Mickey Thompson ATZ - The ATZ is a great tire for someone who spends most of the time on the road, but still wants good off-road traction.

Have fun Off Roading!

 

During your off road adventures you will need reservations for your accommodations or lodging. Camping can be a lot of fun but if you are seeking a condo or cabin Mammoth Rental by Owner can link you up with owners of cabins and condos for rent. These properties for rent have all the comforts of home at a fraction of the price you would pay for a hotel room. The owners of these vacation rental properties offer accommodations that range from luxury to budget from studios to 4 bedroom condos. There is a condo or cabin  and a price that will fit any budget. MammothRentalbyOwner.com features properties in California, Mammoth Lakes, Big Bear, San Francisco, Hawaii and Europe. In addition to Vacation rentals locations MRBO.com also lists properties for sale in California locations such as Mammoth Lakes, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Santa Monica, Malibu, San Diego, South Bay, La Canada, and Pasadena.

Whether you are looking for a vacation rental or a property to sell or buy go direct. Mammothrentalbyowner.com offers you direct links to the owners of cabins, condos, homes and houses for rent or for sale. Cut out the middleman.

Visit Mammoth and stay in Mammoth during your California visit!


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