Mammoth Mountain Bike Park – Something for Everyone


“These trails are great because kids and beginners can do them over and over again without ever having to pedal uphill, an added convenience when coming up to 8,000 feet from sea level,” said Hendrickson.

Not only are these new additions to the bike park great for families to all learn mountain biking together, but they’re also fast, fun and flowing enough for advanced riders. And for even the smallest shredders, Pioneer Practice Loop circles around the lawn adjacent to the gondola complete with pavers and banked corners.

Just because there has been a focus on beginner riders doesn’t mean that Hendrickson and his crew have forgotten about advanced riders. There are several new trails since last year including an upper Twilight Zone section loaded with huge, paver-lined banked corners that build speed as you descend, new jumps, wall rides and ramps on Chain Smoke and the popular jump trail Recoil has been reworked since last year, adding a completely new lower section and changing the jump profiles of the upper section.

If you’re a hardtail rider and are looking for a real downhill skills challenge, take Follow Me, a technical black diamond trail loaded with loose, sandy drops, big rocks and exposed roots. Just make sure you don’t miss the entrance like we did and accidentally ride the Bullet Downhill, a double black diamond. While not complete suicide, you have to have at least a couple screws loose or be a knobby tire diety to ride a double black diamond trail with a hardtail. I attempted and failed in one section, thankfully without injury.

Looking for a serious workout with a ton of downhill mixed in? Take the gondola to the top of the mountain and start with Off the Top to Gravy Train, Brake Through, Lincoln Express, Skid Marks, Paper Route and then finish off with a personal favorite, Juniper. This is Hendrickson’s Super D course. At nearly an hour-and-a-half in duration with some extended climbing above 9,500 feet in elevation, it’s more like a SuperDuper D course.

And if you happen to be in Mammoth on a Friday and want to get your competitive juices flowing, the bike park holds weekly Friday evening downhill races. Signups start at 4PM at the Adventure Center, and all racing is free with a bike park pass. The course changes weekly, but it always features a trail that everyone can ride. Typically between 40 and 60 people show up every week, and a free raffle is held afterward.

Thanks to Mark Hendrickson’s all-inclusive trail building strategy and his hard working crew that makes it all happen, the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is quickly becoming one of the top bike park destinations in North America. Not only does the mountain offer trails for all ages and skill levels, but its breathtaking vistas and unique volcanic soil make Mammoth a must-ride. August is quickly coming to a close, so make a trip to Mammoth with your friends or family before the snow starts to fall!

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • brian t says:

    I love Mammoth, spent last weekend there grinning ear to ear. My only complaint is their new RF card system for lift/shuttle access. It’s a great idea, just poorly executed; a loose card is too easy to lose. If you have it secured in your bag, the reader won’t find it so you have to dig it out, and if you don’t have zippered pockets in your shorts, good chance of it falling out. It’s not a deal breaker, just needs some refining. They need to have a hole punched for a zip tie or some other method of fastening it to yourself/bike.

  • Scott says:

    I live less than an hour from Mammoth but I refuse to pay $15 a day to ride cross country trails ($30 for both my wife and I). Instead I spend the $30 towards gas and ride in Tahoe, I’m not sure how the trails compare between the two, but I’ll continue giving my incidental money to Tahoe (food, lodging, bike parts, etc!). Mammoth needs to learn from Bend, Park City, Tahoe, Brian Head and almost every other mountain bike mecca, and allow XC riders to ride for free. I do realize that this is California and ALMOST EVERYTHING costs around here, but I’ll NEVER pay to ride XC trails.

    • Shawn says:

      Scott, in a way, I do agree with you. I ride at Northstar (love the Thursday Night XC MTB Series), and appreciate the free trail use. Makes the downhill parts earned and so much more fun. I was just in Mammoth, and agree that it would be great if they didn’t charge for non-lift riding. My thoughts are that the trail system at Mammoth is more extensive than Northstar (sorry, I don’t ride many of the other trails to give a fair comparison), and requires more upkeep, for now. Northstar is gaining on the techy aspects, and that upkeep may require non-lift charges in the near future to keep the trails in good shape. I’ll still ride both, charge or no charge…..

  • Eunerd says:

    Scott, I believe that the forest service allows the ski area to operate by permit and, as such (you might want to check with a lawyer), is Inyo National Forest Land. So, they can charge you to use their lift, but I don’t think they can tell you to get off of your very own dirt, even if it is a groomed trail.

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