So you're wondering what's the best way to get to Mammoth Lakes for High Sierra Fall Century Bike Ride? First, let us say, making the effort is worth it! The High Sierra Fall Century was chosen as a "Top Ten Century Bike Ride" by Bicycling Magazine in their June, 2012 issue. The route, support, and after-ride party and BBQ feast are great and the scenery is amazing! If you've been here, you know. If not, you'll be glad you came - if possible, plan to come early and stay a day or two after. This place is an outdoor recreation wonderland......
Anyway...., you want to know the best way to get here. Here you go:
First, Mammoth Lakes has daily air service provided by Alaska Airlines which connects through LAX. Alaska Airlines is a sponsor and strong supporter of road cycling in Mammoth Lakes. If you're interested in flying to the High Sierra Fall Century Bike Ride, check out Alaska's webpage here:
GETTING HERE BY CAR:
FROM LOS ANGELES, ORANGE COUNTY AND SAN DIEGO: Ultimately, you want to get to Highway 395 N. as it comes all the way to Mammoth Lakes. From LA, either take Interstate 15 N. to HWY 395 N. towards Bishop just after the top of Cajon Pass (if you see the In-in-Out Burger on the right, you've gone too far!) Alternatively, take Interstate 5 N. to Hwy 14 N. through Palmdale and Lancaster to Mojave. At the north end of Mojave, take the HWY 395 turn to the north towards Bishop. For Orange County and San Diego, use your best knowledge of the So. Cal. freeway systems to get close to LA and follow the LA instructions above.
FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, coming through Yosemite National park can be the fastest route if you can avoid holiday and weekend tourist traffic. Fortunately, in September after Labor Day, tourist traffic in Yosemite is a lot less that during the summer. The drive through Yosemite is fantastic, but you should verify ahead of time that the roads are open and if you have time, detour down to the Valley floor. If Yosemite isn't an option, consider HWY 50 E. and connect to HWY 89 S. (below Lake Tahoe) through Luther Pass, Carson Pass and Monitor pass. HWY 89 S. connects to HWY 395 S. Take HWY 395 S. on down to Mammoth Lakes. This is another beautiful drive through mountain passes and great cycling roads!
FROM LAS VEGAS: Take HWY 95 N. to HWY 266 W. at Lida Junction (there's nothing there except a few old, condemned buildings). Take HWY 266 W. to HWY 168 W. (bear to the left and don't miss this turn). HWY 168 W. will take you to Big Pine, CA. At Big Pine, head north on HWY 395 to Mammoth Lakes. This is the fastest route to Mammoth from Las Vegas. The stretch on HWY's 266 and 168 are desolate, but beautiful and include some great, twisty up and down grades! Cyclists frequently ride HWY 168 from Big Pine to the east as it is one of the many challenging climbs in the area and a leg of the Everest Challenge (http://www.everestchallenge.com/) so be careful if you are feeling like Mario Andretti on Westgard Pass!