Sand Canyon - TRAIL

Sand Canyon - Trail, Mammoth Lakes, California

This is a very fast downhill with changable conditions. The first mile or 2 consists of carrying your bike uphill, and considering the trail starts at 9,700 feet, this can be very difficult on the heart and lungs. Once the trail levels out, it widens and becomes sandy. A hikers' trail to Dorothy Lake forks east...stay going north. A sign signifying the start of the ride is close to this trail junction. Beyond the sign, the trail packs down and becomes singletrack for a mile or so, passes through a meadow, makes 2 creek crossings, then joins an old fireroad. A nice pond is located less than 1/4 mile south of this junction. It's a GREAT place to rest before starting the REAL ride. From this point on, the ride is all jeep road...one or 2 more small uphills, then very fast and technical in spots. The ride has very changable terrain, including packed dirt, deep sand, rock, and roots. More creek crossings are present on the lower portion of the ride. The trail decends well over 3,000 vertical feet, so expect a change in temperature. The website has more detailed information, including photos and a map of the ride. A shuttle is mandatory!

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
LMCDK59   Downhiller [Apr 21, 2009]

super fast trail after all the climbing and a few miles of xc riding. Get a DH bike and unleash on this trail. Carry your GPS cause you'll wanna see your top speed on this bad boy. after a huge descent trail gets into some trees, still a fireroad, get a lil more techy if your moching. this trial really isn't techy at all unless your fly'n

Customer Service

two ways to do this, drop a car at paradise resort or end of wagon wheel trail. Drive up rock creek rd. to rock creek resort. hike bike up hill to single tracks and pedal single track until down hill.
2nd way, downhillers route, the trail is a jeep trail so get a 4 wheel drive and just drive right up that sucker. I like to do this early in the AM that way i don't risk running into anyone coming down.

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OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
bpressnall   Cross Country Rider [Oct 14, 2006]

Nice long fast cruiser jeep trail. A little hiking. A short nice singletrack. A bit sandy in places. Overall not very technical. Excellent scenery at the upper end. The Wheeler crest jeep trail provides even more downhill thrills. My ratings are just for the Sand Canyon portion of the ride.

Customer Service

I'm an old guy (51) so you youngsters might want to do something a little more energetic, but I parked at Paradise Camp at the bottom of lower Rock Creek trail (elevation 5000') and rode up the old highway to Toms Place and on up about a mile past Rock lake where I found an unmarked horse trail heading east. I had to ford Rock Ccreek (waist deep in June) and continued to where the main trail came up from the lake. The trail tops out at 10200' before starting its descent. After 2-3 miles I turned right on the Wheeler Crest jeep trail. This provides an extra 1200' of steep climbing to the crest at 11000'. You youngsters might whant to go further out, but I figured that was enough for me. OK, now for the downhill! Wheeler trail was a gas with lots of granite. When I hit the old highway 395, I turned left, climbed for a half mile then down to the top of the Lower Rock Creek trail and finishd the ride with four miles of technical singletrack. Doing the ride this way provided a 6000' elevation drop.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Corn   [Jun 05, 2002]

A shuttle is not a must. A ride up the road is a must. If you can't haul your butt up a scenic as all hell paved road to get to the trail then forget it, because the trail will cream you. It's intense high alpine action so stay away... Unless you're ready for an insane 25 mile kick ass, then, come with your best stuff (money is no object) and plenty of tubes, and water, and parts, and food, and friends, and first-aid, and pasta the night before, and forget the cell ph., it wont work.

Customer Service

As the description says, but park at Tom's Place and ride up the road 9 miles as a warmup. It's a loop.

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OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
  [Jun 07, 2002]

one of the best downhill with some spice I know

Customer Service

past the pond about two or three look for alternates off to the left one goes all the way to the top of wheller ridge' Hey, when you get down to Swall meadows why not ride up one maybe two and head on down the lower part of rock creek take swim and do some techie stuff down to round valley By the time you do all this it at least a mile drop and probably more depending on the wheller excursion. MISS the sierras MILL

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OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
cob   [Jul 26, 2002]

You tell em' Corn....

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Sierra T Mack   [Jul 31, 2002]

The loop would end up with about 8,000 feet of vertical ascent and decent if you park at Tom's Place(7,000 feet elevation), ride up the canyon, haul your bike up from the lake to where the trail starts (over 10,000 feet), ride down to Swall Meadows (6,000+ feet), then ride back up Lower Rock Creek Road to Tom's Place. You'll ride through the Birch Creek Fire burn area if you ride back up to Tom's from Swall Meadows.

Customer Service

Use the route suggested in the write up by Creek Dude if you have a shuttle, but listen to Corn. He's right. If you're up to it turn it into a loop. It would be one of the toughest rides you'll ever do, but hey, strap on your ball sling and give it a shot! The loop is only for expert riders. STRONGLY consider a shuttle if 13 miles of gnarly downhill will knock you out...or try something else.

Similar Products Used: Lower Rock Creek
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Tiki   [Aug 16, 2002]

Awesome down hill awaits you if you are willing to endure the three thousand foot climb with an unrideable section at the very top of the climb after Rock Creek Lake. Recommend bringing a compass and at least a 70 oz. camelback of water along with another large bottle of water. Once you get to the soft part of San Canyon (on the Jeep road), deflating tires to about 20 PSI helps IMMENSELY for controllability since it is so soft and so steep. Be advised the trail along the telephone lines back to Uncle Tom's Cabin is to miserable as it too soft to ride (uphill) and it goes through a large burned out area, which is pretty much how your body feels anyway by the time you get to that point. This route is about as much Eastern Sierra backcountry you will find anywhere for MTB. Take a partner if you can and watch out for pop up thunderstorms.

Customer Service

Park at Uncle Tom's Cabin, pedal up the road eight miles to Rock Creek Lake, carry bike up trail to the Sand Canyone Mountain bike Trail, descend down the ridge and canyon all the way to the telephone lines. Shuttling up to Rock Creek denies "the aerobic benefits" of the ride.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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