The bike trail descends from the summit of Mammoth Mountain and winds along a slope scattered with pumice. The air is thin and cool, but it is the view that really takes my breath away.

From the 11,053-foot summit, I can see the jagged ridgeline of the Minarets, the rounded granite domes dotting the San Joaquin River Valley and the tall peaks of Yosemite National Park’s high country. As I pedal my mountain bike down the trail, I admire purple and yellow wildflowers scattered on the hillside, and raise my eyes to the cloudless sky, its color the bright blue Mammoth is known for.

I’m riding the Off the Top Trail on the west slope of the mountain. It’s an intermediate trail from which I’ll link to some additional routes to descend 3,000 feet over 12 miles of groomed single track to The Village at Mammoth. I get into a rhythm with the terrain. Gaining speed as the trail drop, I shift my weight back and side to side, rolling over rocks and around corners banked with concrete pavers.


Read the full story in Alaska Beyond on Alaska Airlines Horizon flights this June, or download the digital edition.


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