White Mountain Peak MTB — Silver Canyon to Patriarch Grove
Related: hard core, Inyo National Forest, mountain biking, Patriarch Grove, peak bagging, Rides, Silver Canyon, White Mountain Peak, White Mountains
The nine miles from the summit of Silver Canyon to the Patriarch Grove turnoff entails both up and down, with one big dip and a number of small ones, for a vertical gain of ~1300 vertical feet.
None of the grades in this section are particularly steep, except for the brief paved section just prior to the Patriarch Grove turnoff, where one is reminded just how much easier it is to ride on pavement than on a a rocky dirt road.
This up and down section follows the gorgeous ridgeline of the White Mountains with ancient bristlecone pines lining a good portion of the roadside along the way, with flowers also if the season is right.
Note: a few pictures taken on days other than that of the ride.
Just past Silver Canyon summit
As shown below, the road dips briefly then climbs several broad switchbacks to a nice summit which affords views of the Sierra to the west and the valleys to the east.
Riding here is pleasant, with moderate grades. Temperatures are usually moderate and very comfortable while active, usually 20° or so cooler than the valley floor.
Don’t forget to photograph yourself while riding, and try to catch your lagging buddy behind you in the same shot so that at the campfire he can’t make stuff up.
Summitting the high point seen in the background, one descends about 760 feet to a low point, then a few up/down grades begin to offer wide-open vistas. This whole section from the peak in the distance to Patriarch Grove is stunning.
Moving along one enjoys open rolling terrain, then the road begins to steepen for a minor summit, followed by a dip just before the steep paved section before Patriarch Grove.
In a storm the following day, this comfortable and nicely graded road acquired unpleasant 5"-deep ruts in about 30 minutes from a deluge of rain and hail which was truly awesome to watch (from a car).
Be aware of cloud formations. These clouds appeared rapidly over the course of an hour, and then turned into a lightning storm within an hour, which as luck would have it, moved along the eastern summit while still allowing us to ascend safely (barely).
Peeking above the ride is the summit just past the Patriarch Grove turnoff.
Approaching Patriarch Grove, there is a brief stretch of pavement, perhaps 3/8 mile, quite a reminder of just how much easier it is to ride on pavement, even if it’s quite steep.
The brief pavement section begins at far right, at a low point in the road about 0.9 mile before the Patriarch Grove turnoff. The visible road in the distance is all dirt until that point.
Still feeling frisky enough to shoot a self portrait while riding.
Elevation upon reaching the Patriarch Grove turnoff is just over 11,000 feet.
Whether this sign is accurate or not is unclear, with the GPS reading 11160 consistently on different days with 11 satellites. The Garmin Edge 500 read 11,000 exactly here on one ride, but just a moment later after climbing another 30', it suddenly dropped to 10,600, so go figure.
This picture taken two days prior to the ride in gentler weather.
This kind of lighting is wonderful, but if you plan on staying this late near Patriarch Grove, be sure to bring a powerful bike light, preferably one for the handlebar and one for the helmet.
I offer guided and instructional photography tours in this area.