Appendix G: Mono County Trails Plan

Table of Contents

I. Purpose of Plan.

II. Existing Trails Systems and Policies.

III. Community Trails.

IV. Issues, Opportunities, and Constraints by Planning Area.

V. Policies.

VI. Regional and Community Routes.


I. Purpose of Plan

The overall purpose of the Mono County Trails Plan is to establish trail systems that facilitate multi-modal travel and recreation within, around and between unincorporated communities in the county. The Plan addresses regional routes that provide access to communities throughout the county and to major recreational areas and existing trail systems, and community routes that provide access throughout communities and to surrounding recreational areas.

The Trails Plan is intended to expand upon and implement policies in the Mono County General Plan, associated Area Plans, the Mono County Regional Transportation Plan, and to coordinate with the applicable plans of federal land management agencies. The Plan focuses primarily on the development of facilities for recreational users, both residents and visitors.

Specific purposes of the Plan are to inventory existing trail systems in the county and to provide a concise summary of those systems, to evaluate the needs of the County’s communities for new local community routes and the possibility of linking existing routes, to designate routes and prioritize their development, and to delineate policies for the future development of trails systems in the county.

II. Existing Trails Systems and Policies

Inventory of Existing Trails Systems
  1. A track made by passage, especially through a wilderness.
  2. A marked path through a forest or mountainous region.
  3. A course followed or to be followed.
                                                -- Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

The term “trail” can encompass a wide variety of uses when it is defined as a course to be followed. Trails in Mono County, with its many recreational resources, include wilderness trails used by hikers and equestrian users, dirt roads used by off-highway vehicles and equestrian users, signed trails for Nordic skiing and snowmobile use, scenic byways used as sightseeing trails, hiking trails at developed recreation sites, and roadways used by both mountain bikers and touring bicyclists. Trails serve two purposes – recreational experience for those who travel along them and as link between different areas of the county.

Since so much of the land in the county is publicly owned (approximately 94%), most of the existing trail systems in the county are on public lands and are managed by either the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The California State Park units in the county, Bodie State Historic Park and Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, contain internal trails systems used by visitors to the parks. The highway system in Mono County also functions as a trail system, primarily for motorists and bicyclists.

USFS/Inyo National Forest and USFS/Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Trails

Lands administered by the USFS in Mono County contain extensive trails systems ranging from backcountry wilderness trails to paved recreational trails in concentrated recreation areas. The Land and Resource Management Plans for both the Inyo National Forest and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest contain policy direction for trails and roadways for each of the land management areas in the forests. In addition, the Forests have developed specific plans and resources for different types of uses, such as the Humboldt-Toiyabe Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area Plan and the Interagency Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Maps by the Inyo National Forest and the BLM.

Public lands administered by the USFS run the entire length of the county on its western border, running east to US Highway 395 and in some cases, farther. These are the most heavily used and developed Forest lands, with more concentrated recreational areas and facilities adjacent to communities or major recreation areas such as June Mountain Ski Area and the June Lake Loop. Other Forest lands in the eastern part of the county are less developed and have fewer users.

The corridor from Mammoth Lakes to June Lake is one of the most heavily used in the southern portion of the county, while the Twin Lakes and Sonora Pass areas are popular in the northern portion of the county. National Forests have many developed recreational facilities, including campgrounds, picnic areas, trail heads, and signed trails for hiking, biking, equestrian, snowmobile, and Nordic ski use.

Maps of trail systems on the forests are available from district ranger stations and visitor centers.  In addition, a number of specialized maps have been developed showing cross country ski trails, snowmobile routes, and mountain bike routes, particularly for the heavily used area between Mammoth Lakes and June Lake. The Interagency OHV maps provide detailed mapping of roads for the Inyo National Forest.

Bureau of Land Management Trails

Public lands administered by the BLM in Mono County do not generally contain developed trails systems. They do contain an extensive system of dirt roads used by hunters, anglers, equestrians, OHV users, and others wishing to explore the more arid sagebrush scrub and pinyon-juniper communities found on BLM lands in the county. Generally, marked roads are major routes between various areas in the county, such as the roads leading from US Highway 6 in the Tri-Valley area to the Crowley Lake area.

The BLM Resource Management Plan contains policy direction for trails and roadways. The BLM has also developed the North of Bishop Vehicle Access Strategy Plan for the Bodie Hills and for the lands it manages in the Bridgeport Valley and Antelope Valley areas. The overall intent of the BLM is to maintain semi-primitive conditions on the lands it manages and not to develop facilities on those lands.

California Department of Parks and Recreation Trails

The California Department of Parks and Recreation updated Recreational Trails Plan in 2002. The Plan focuses on….: Bicycling; Boating; Off-Road Vehicle Use; and Hiking and Equestrian Use. Each element describes existing conditions, states goals and objectives, and identifies recommended projects. Projects are recommended in areas of high demand, generally near urban areas. The Plan contains useful information concerning trail system development, including design standards and guidelines. There are no proposed state trail systems in Mono County, although each of the county’s State Park units, Bodie State Historic Park, and Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, contains internal trail systems. Trails within the Bodie State Historic Park are addressed within the Bodie State Historic Park Resource Management Plan.

Town of Mammoth Lakes: “Mammoth Lakes Trail System”

The “Mammoth Lakes Trail System” is a partnered effort of the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the US Forest Service to implement the Town’s 2011 “Trail System Master Plan.” The Town and the US Forest Service have executed several agreements to facilitate the effort, and the citizens of Mammoth Lakes have approved funding resources for implementation through Measures “R” and “U”.  The Town has contracted with Mammoth Lakes Recreation, a community benefit non-profit corporation established by the Town,  to provide oversight for the Mammoth Lakes Trail System program and the Town has hired a full time Trails Coordinator. The primary uses of the proposed multi-use trail system are described on the “Activities” section of the Mammoth Lakes Trail System website at Trails identified in the Plan as “Future/Alternative Trails” would connect trails and bikeways within the more-developed area of the town to trails in the adjacent unincorporated area. Please contact the Town’s Trails Coordinator for more information on the Town’s “Trail System Master Plan” and the Mammoth Lakes Trail System.

Sightseeing Trails – Scenic Byways

Sightseeing is a major recreational activity in Mono County that occurs primarily along the highways. US Highway 395 (US 395) through the county, State Route 120 (SR 120) in Lee Vining Canyon, State Route 158 (SR 158) in the June Lake Loop, and State Route 270 (SR 270) to Bodie are heavily used for sightseeing and touring.

A major portion of US 395 is a state-designated scenic highway. SR 120 in Lee Vining Canyon is a National Forest Scenic Byway, and the Forest Plans and BLM Plan recommend scenic byway designations for several other roadways in the county. The Coalition for Unified Recreation in the Eastern Sierra (CURES) has made interpretive improvements along the scenic highway/byway 395 corridor in Mono County, including development of kiosks and informational materials along US 395 and SR 120 (Lee Vining Canyon) to enhance the sightseeing experience.

Visitors to the county would benefit from similar facilities along other local roadways, particularly along SR 158 (June Lake Loop), and SR 270 to Bodie, both of which are heavily used for sightseeing.

Off-Highway Vehicle Trails

An extensive system of off-highway vehicle trails exists in the county, as discussed in the previous section on BLM trails. The BLM and USFS management goals for these routes are to maintain the existing semi-primitive recreational experience by providing a predominantly natural environment. The roads will remain dirt; there will be no developed facilities except for road signs on major routes and a few informational kiosks. The BLM and USFS have developed a “Tread Lightly” educational program for OHV users, similar to the program for wilderness users.

Outside the highway system, the County’s dirt-road system may be the most heavily used existing trail system. Not only are the roads used to provide access to recreational areas, they are also used as recreational experiences themselves, to provide access to resources such as firewood and as alternate access routes between different parts of the county.

Pedestrian Trails

Pedestrian hiking trails are largely limited to backcountry trails on forest lands. In communities, pedestrian activities occur along streets and in some communities on limited sidewalk systems. Outside communities, hiking occurs on the extensive dirt road system and on public lands. The interest for additional pedestrian facilities outside community areas is growing and several communities are pursuing additional pedestrian facilities and related streetscape improvements.

Nordic Ski Trails

There are marked Nordic ski trails at Smokey Bear Flat, near Mammoth, in the Deadman Summit area, and within June Lake. Nordic skiing also occurs on public lands in unmarked areas. Existing trails generally are not adjacent to communities in the county; there is some potential for additional trails near communities.

Snowmobile Trails

There are marked snowmobile trails at Smokey Bear Flat, near Mammoth, in the Deadman Summit area, and near June Lake. Snowmobile use also occurs on public lands in unmarked areas. Marked trails are often the result of cooperative efforts among the USFS, snowmobile enthusiast groups, and local snowmobile rental operators. Snowmobile use does occur on a limited basis immediately adjacent to community areas.

Equestrian Trails

Equestrian use occurs along existing roads and trails or along trails on public lands that are also used by hikers and bicyclists. Presently, there is concern from equestrian users over the sharing of trails with bicyclists. This issue needs to be resolved by all trail users. Equestrian users often trailer their horses to trail heads, or parking areas outside their communities. Visitors may use the services of an outfitter or a pack station.

Mono County General Plan Policies

The Mono County General Plan, updated in 2015, contains policies relating to trails and recreation in both the Circulation Element and the Conservation/Open Space Element. The General Plan Circulation element also includes trail systems maps and route descriptions for a trail system in the county.

Mono County Regional Transportation Plan Policies

The 2015 update of the Mono County Regional Transportation Plan contains the same policies and the same trail maps as the 2015 update of the county General Plan Circulation Element.

III. Community Trails 

Issues, Opportunities, and Constraints

The following section addresses pertinent issues, opportunities, and constraints, including those identified in the Circulation Element of the General Plan and in the Regional Transportation Plan. Bikeways are discussed in the Bicycle Transportation Plan.

Demand for Trails

As the previous chapter noted, Mono County has numerous trails and roadways that provide various recreational experiences for visitors and residents. Regional routes, which are mostly roadways, provide accessibility to most areas of the county and to recreational areas. The system is fairly well established and consists of the highway system and dirt roads on public lands.

Community routes are less well established. Opportunities exist to develop new trails and to expand existing informal trails in community areas, and to provide trails that link community and recreational areas and facilities. Many community routes remain undeveloped.

In community areas, the primary need is for pedestrian and bike trails. Demand for other types of trail is limited and is often provided by facilities on public lands outside community areas. There is a potential, however, to create multiple-use trails. The seasonal nature of recreation in Mono County creates a need for different types of trails at different times of year. Trails providing pedestrian, biking, and equestrian opportunities in the summer work equally well as Nordic ski facilities in the winter.

Trails are in greater demand in certain communities than in others. Communities with concentrated recreational use and heavy visitation have a greater need for facilities than communities that are primarily residential in nature and that receive little recreational use.

Scenic Byways and Trails

Sightseeing along roadways is a major recreational activity with a number of scenic routes in Mono County. Scenic route designations include State Scenic Highways 395 and 89, Scenic Byways along SR 120 and US 395, and a number of other roads designated as County scenic highways. The Mono County Master Environmental Assessment provides a comprehensive overview of designated scenic routes within the region.

Off-Highway Vehicle Trails

Off-highway vehicle facilities include the existing system of roads and trails on public lands. The BLM’s and USFS’s management plans for those lands adequately address management needs, primarily the signing of major routes and public education concerning the need to tread lightly.

Because the road system is so extensive, it is easily accessible from points throughout the county, including community areas. Major access points are signed, and maps are available from the BLM and USFS showing those routes.

Pedestrian Trails

Two types of pedestrian trails exist in or adjacent to Mono County communities, sidewalks and walking/hiking trails or paths. Some communities have sidewalks, but no community has extensive pedestrian facilities. The County has no active program for striping or marking pedestrian facilities, nor has it been a major concern of Caltrans in the past. With increased recreational use, particularly in community areas during peak season, the need for markings and traffic direction for pedestrians is increasing in some communities.

Additional pedestrian improvements are needed in most communities. There is also a need to improve existing routes used by pedestrians, such as widening the shoulder on roadways or providing an alternate pedestrian route. Pedestrian improvements would benefit communities in several ways; i.e., facilitating links between transportation modes, economic development benefits resulting from more-active commercial areas, increased livability of communities and increased safety resulting from elimination of the pedestrian/vehicle conflict in winter.

Trail-side Facilities

Trail-side facilities can improve the user’s enjoyment and understanding of the land and resources adjacent to and visible from a trail. Such facilities may include restrooms, drinking water, benches, picnic areas, parking areas for larger vehicles with horse trailers, and interpretive and way-finding signs. Trail-side facilities are most appropriate for developed trail systems, such as scenic byways and nature/interpretive trails, or at entrance points to less-developed trail systems, such as trail heads or major access roads to off-highway vehicle roads.

Public lands in Mono County contain a variety of trail-side facilities, including campgrounds, trail heads, picnic areas, and information kiosks. Trail-side facilities in community areas may include restrooms, benches, picnic areas, way-finding and interpretive signs, all typically concentrated in a rest area or park. Pedestrian amenities may also include improved lighting, landscaping paving, street furnishings (benches, drinking fountains, trash receptacles), improved street crossing, and improved access to parking areas.

Design Standards

Since Mono County has numerous trails and roads that range from somewhat rugged to extremely difficult, community trails should focus on providing accessibility for everyone. Trail-side facilities developed in conjunction with new or existing trails should be designed to be accessible to persons with disabilities.

Since the focus of many trails and roads in Mono County is the scenic beauty of the surrounding environment, trails and associated facilities need to blend into that environment to the greatest extent possible. Similarly, in community areas trails and facilities need to be designed and constructed to complement the existing setting.

Environmental concerns regarding the construction of trails are addressed by the USFS Standard Trail Plans and Specifications. Design considerations for accessibility are addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Building Code.

A primary consideration in the design and construction of trails and facilities is the ongoing maintenance of those facilities. Facilities should be designed to be low maintenance and long-lasting. Cooperative maintenance should include all user organizations; i.e., hikers, bikers, and equestrians.

IV. Issues, Opportunities, and Constraints by Planning Area

Antelope Valley
  1. Recreation destinations in the area include Topaz Lake and the West Walker River. At Topaz Lake there is the potential to provide increased recreational opportunities, including hiking trails, rest areas, picnic areas, etc. The Walker River Irrigation District (WRID) manages the lake and owns much of the property surrounding the lake.
  2. There is also the potential to develop public access trails to the West Walker River throughout the Valley. This would require cooperating with the WRID and private landowners who own most of the land in the valley adjacent to the river.
  3. Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use in the Antelope Valley occurs primarily on surrounding public lands.
  4. There is an opportunity to enhance sightseeing in the Antelope Valley and to promote Walker as a gateway community to the Scenic Byway south of Walker.         
Sonora Junction/Devil’s Gate/Swauger Creek
  1. The Devil’s Gate to the Swauger Creek area is an isolated residential area with limited year-round occupancy. Private parcels in the area are surrounded by public lands that provide recreational opportunities for residents.
  2. Sonora Junction area includes river access, campgrounds, a pack station and associated trails generally located on public land.           
Bridgeport Valley
  1. Major recreational destinations in the Bridgeport Valley include Bridgeport Reservoir and Twin Lakes. A bicycle route to Twin Lakes from Bridgeport, and to the state line on SR 182, is discussed in the Bicycle Transportation Plan and Regional Transportation Plan. The historic building tour included in town, staged from the Bridgeport Park next to the museum, is part of the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway.
  2. There is a need to enhance pedestrian facilities along US 395 from the Evans Tract to town, and along SR 182 from town to the residential areas along the reservoir. Residents, especially children, currently must walk along the highways.
  3. OHV use in the Bridgeport Valley occurs on surrounding public lands. The BLM’s North of Bishop Vehicle Access Strategy Plan addresses management of OHV activity on those lands.
  4. Interest is high in creating a multi-use year-round trail system in the Valley that would function as bicycling, pedestrian, and/or equestrian trails in summer and Nordic skiing trails in winter. This would be particularly feasible on Timber Harvest Road and on a route between Timber Harvest Road and town.
  1. The Bodie Bowl area is both a State Historic Park and National Historic Landmark. The remoteness of Bodie provides excellent opportunities for enjoyment of this historic ghost town and its scenic backdrop; and is a major recreational attraction for Mono County. Alternative modes of transportation are encouraged in the Bodie Bowl Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and Bodie Hills Planning Area Cooperative Management Plan.
  2. The Bodie Bowl ACEC and Bodie Hills Planning Cooperative Management Plan, Bodie State historic Park Management Plan, and supporting BLM planning documents provide direction for pedestrian, bicycle and/or equestrian trails access into Bodie. Existing trails, rather than new trails, are to access the area whenever practical.
Virginia Lakes
  1. The Virginia Lakes area is heavily used by seasonal residents and visitors. A number of trails and roads exist in the area. Pedestrian and bike facilities should be considered during any roadway improvements in the area.
Mono Basin
  1. The Mono Basin is a heavily used recreational destination. A number of existing trails and roads lie within the boundaries of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area. The Scenic Area’s Comprehensive Management Plan governs use of those facilities.
  2. The Mono Basin has two communities: Lee Vining and Mono City. Pedestrian facilities in Lee Vining could be improved by streetscape improvements along US 395 right of way and by the provision of additional parking. The Mono Yosemite Trail Plan also identifies opportunity to connect Mono City to Lee Vining with trail access.
  3. Opportunity exists to extend the Lee Vining Creek trail up Lee Vining Canyon to the campgrounds and other locations as specified in the Mono Yosemite Trail Plan.
  4. Access for pedestrians and equestrians along the west side of Mono Lake is limited to the shoulder of US 395 or to trails on the steep hillside to the west. Residents have expressed concern that access be improved along this portion of the highway.
June Lake Loop
  1. The June Lake Loop is a heavily visited recreational destination that experiences occasional traffic congestion. The Village area, in particular, lacks adequate parking and pedestrian facilities.
  2. The June Lake Area Plan, part of the county General Plan, contains policies that stress the need to develop a trail system linking commercial, residential, recreational, and parking nodes. This trail system should be designed and implemented to provide year-round recreational and commuting opportunities consistent with the June Lake Loop Trail Plan/Map.
  3. The June Lake Loop Trail Plan/Map recognizes potential exists to develop trails to the Village and to surrounding recreational areas within the June Lake Loop.
  4. Northshore Drive and the Rodeo Grounds/West Village area provide opportunity for trails to access the June Lake ball field, the June Mountain Ski Area, and Gull and June lakes.
  5. The June Lake Trail Committee meets regularly, conducts fundraising, sponsors an annual Trails Day, and oversees implementation and updates of the Trail Plan.
Mammoth Vicinity/Upper Owens
  1. Recreation is the principal use of this area; much of it occurs on the extensive road system in the area and on marked Nordic ski trails and snowmobile trails. The USFS and BLM resource management plans and other planning documents address management of these facilities.
  2. Pedestrian use of Substation Road is extensive and occurs on a year-round basis. On much of the road, shoulders are not adequate to allow pedestrians to get off the roadway. People walking on the road, or in the surrounding hills, park off the road in several areas. There is potential to develop a parking area, picnic area, visitor kiosk, and interpretive site in the vicinity. Interpretive facilities/trail related to the Casa Diablo resource area is anticipated and would contribute to the Highway 395 Scenic Byway corridor.
  3. The Town of Mammoth Lakes has a planned trail system within the town’s boundaries. Connecting this trail system to trails in the surrounding unincorporated area would create additional opportunities for users of the Town’s system. The Whitmore Track area is used as a staging and training area for high- altitude long-distance running.
Long Valley
  1. Crowley Lake Drive provides access to several recreational areas in nearby Sierra Nevada canyons and is also a popular recreational route itself. Pedestrians and bicyclists use it for local rides or as a portion of longer tours. Pedestrian safety is a concern of local residents, particularly along Crowley Lake Drive and South Landing Road.
  2. Benton Crossing Road is popular for pedestrian use as well as bicycling. Shoulders on the road have been improved for bicycling and running use.
  3. Concepts have been discussed to develop a hiking, cycling, and equestrian trail around Crowley Lake if demand warranted such a trail. Various roads and trails, which could be linked to provide access, now exist most of the way around the lake. Since the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power owns much of the land around the lake, a trail system would require its cooperation.
  4. Opportunities exist for other regional trails in the long valley area, including a trail connecting the Mammoth area with Long Valley via use of existing roads. Better signage and completion of a small portion of trail near Tobacco Flat would be necessary. Currently, an unofficial parking area exists at the northern end of Crowley Lake Drive and US 395. This area could be improved to provide better access for all trail users.
  5. Additional trails between Long Valley and Tri-Valley provide access along Benton Crossing Road to the glass Mountains, Casa Diablo hills, volcanic tablelands, and the Owens Gorge.
Wheeler Crest/Paradise
  1. Wheeler Crest/Paradise is a residential area with limited demand for pedestrian or equestrian trails. Residents currently use the existing road system and surrounding public lands for a variety of trail and recreational activities. Lower Rock Creek Trail and Lower Rock Creek Road are a recreational destination for visitors and bicyclists.
  1. The Tri-Valley area includes three residential communities with limited commercial facilities that receive limited recreational use. Demand for pedestrian or equestrian facilities is growing.
  2. US Highway 6 (US 6) through the region lacks turnouts or rest-area facilities for sightseers. Paved turnouts with interpretive signing would enhance travelers’ enjoyment of the road.
  1. Oasis is an isolated agricultural area with little recreational use and limited demand for trails.

V. Policies

The following section contains new policies as well as pertinent policies from the Circulation Element of the General Plan and the Regional Transportation Plan.

  1. Develop a cohesive regional and community trail system that provides access to all communities and to major recreational areas.
  2. Work with communities in order to gain consensus on current and future trail improvements and priorities.
General Development Standards

Policy 1. Where possible, utilize existing roads and trails to develop the trail system in Mono County.                      

Policy 2. Work with appropriate agencies to develop trails and associated facilities that connect to existing trail systems.

Policy 3. When possible, plan and develop trails as multi-use year-round facilities.

Policy 4. Concentrate developed trails and facilities in the most heavily used areas such as in and around communities.

Policy 5. Development of trails on County roads and private property should be consistent with goals and policies for trails development and recreational use on adjacent public lands.

Policy 5a. Encourage agencies to manage OHV use on public lands to minimize user conflicts.

Policy 6. Provide input to federal and state agencies on the development of trail systems on public lands, particularly in areas adjacent to communities.

Policy 7. Design trails to limit impacts to sensitive plant communities including wetland and riparian corridors.

Policy 8. Incorporate signage into trail design to encourage compliance with trails rules and etiquette.

Community Trails

Policy 9. Utilize community trails to connect commercial, employment centers, community facilities, recreational, and residential areas in communities, and to link communities to surrounding trail systems and recreational areas.

Policy 10. Community trails should include way-finding and informational signage to facilitate their use.

Policy 11. Where feasible, and where demand warrants, design and construct community trails as multi-use facilities and as year-round trails.

Policy 12. Seek funding for the development and maintenance of community trails.

Policy 13. Work with subdividers to provide connecting paths to existing local and/or community, educational, and recreational facilities.

Policy 14. Work with community groups to refine and implement the conceptual trail schemes presented in this Plan and supporting documents.

Policy 15. Promote healthy lifestyles by integrating trails into communities. At the community level, connect neighborhoods, community facilities, and main streets via trail systems. At the regional level, connect communities to scenic resources, appropriate historical/cultural places, and recreation opportunities, as well as to other communities.

Policy 16. Reference and update existing community trail documents in establishing trail priorities.

Policy 17. Investigate the feasibility of improving connections of the regional OHV network with supportive communities, such as combined use designations for County roads in northern Mono County.

Design Standards

Policy 18. Trails shall be developed and maintained in conformance with the USFS’s Standard Trails Plans and Specifications.

Policy 19. Trails shall be designed for accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Building Code.

Policy 20. Work with communities, Caltrans, USFS, BLM, and other agencies to develop and implement a standardized way-finding program.                                                      

Policy 21. Pursue common standards for the region, particularly in the design of signage and wayfinding, marketing, and information systems such as data sets and maps.

Policy 22. Trailside facilities shall be designed and constructed to blend with the surrounding natural environment and be designed for low maintenance.

Policy 23. Parking facilities shall be sited, designed and constructed to minimize potential visual and water quality/drainage impacts.

Trail-Side Facilities

Policy 24. Trail-side facilities should be developed in the most-heavily-used areas, particularly on community trails.

Policy 25. Trail-side facilities should provide the following amenities, as appropriate and financially feasible:

  • Rest areas, including restrooms and drinking water;
  • Picnic areas;
  • Parking areas and where appropriate, adequate facilities for horseback riders; and
  • Interpretive signs/kiosks.

Policy 26. When planning trail-side facilities, particularly in community areas, consideration should be given to what other facilities are available in the area in order to avoid duplication of services and to provide the most-complete array of facilities.

Policy 27. In accordance with applicable laws, trail-side facilities shall be designed for persons with disabilities.

Policy 28. The need for pedestrian amenities along sidewalks, such as improved lighting, landscaping, paving, street furnishings (benches, drinking fountains, trash receptacles), winter maintenance requirements, improved street crossings, and improved access to parking areas should be evaluated when designing improvements to sidewalk systems.

Policy 29. Seek funding to develop additional trail-side facilities and amenities (such as information kiosks) along regional and community trails.

Policy 30. Work with community groups, special districts, and businesses to sponsor development             and maintenance of trail-side facilities in community areas.

Trails Funding

Policy 31. Fiscal analyses for proposed trails development projects should consider both construction and maintenance costs.

Policy 32. Funding efforts should focus on developing community trails and associated facilities. Within communities, focus funding efforts on proposed trails where demand is highest.

Policy 33. Countywide priorities for trails development should be established in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Mono County.

Policy 34. Develop a strategic plan in consultation with federal, state, and local agencies for coordinating and applying for trails funding.

Policy 35. The County shall include applicable trails development projects identified in this Plan in its CIP once funding has been secured.

Policy 36. Revise funding priorities periodically to reflect changes in funding availability and local and regional needs.

Policy 37. Consider developing and implementing a sponsorship program where local businesses and community groups contribute to the construction and maintenance of trail-side facilities with community areas (e.g., similar to Caltrans Adopt-a-Highway or TOML Adopt-a-Trail).

Policy 38. Format and adjust planning documents/processes to qualify for new funding opportunities, such as the Active Transportation Program (ATP).

Policy 39. Pursue sustainable financial resources for trails development and maintenance. Support citizen stewardship and partnerships, and leverage the capacities of non-profits to assist in all aspects.

Cooperative Trails Development

Policy 40.  Use partnerships in the planning, design, development, construction and maintenance of sustainable regional and community trail systems for all users.

Policy 41. Utilize established community-based and interagency planning forums/systems, such as RPACs, JLCAC, and the CPT to secure citizen and agency/entity involvement throughout the trail planning and development process.

Policy 42. Work with community groups and/or non-profits on the development and maintenance of trails and associated facilities.

Policy 43. Work with appropriate agencies and organizations to obtain funding for trails development.

Policy 44. Establish common standards for the region, particularly in the design of signage and wayfinding, marketing, and information systems such as data sets and maps.

Policy 45. Facilitate collaboration with agencies/entities in the funding, environmental review, planning and development of trails in communities and throughout the region. Collaborating entities should include Mono County, Mono County LTC, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, USFS (Humboldt-Toiyabe and Inyo), BLM, National Park Service, State Parks, Caltrans, LADWP, Walker River Irrigation District, Cal Fire, local fire protection districts, tribal entities, non-profits such as Friends of the Inyo, Mammoth Lakes Recreation, Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access, and Eastern Sierra Land Trust, and willing private partners, including ranchers.

Policy 46. Integrate trail opportunities into regional initiatives, such as watershed assessments, scenic byway programs, and corridor planning.

Community Priorities for Trail Development

Community priorities focus on those projects with the highest need.

Antelope Valley

Priority 1. Enhance pedestrian facilities along US 395 in Walker consistent with the Design Guidelines and Character Inventory study.

Priority 2. Work with the Walker River Irrigation District (WRID) to provide recreational facilities at Topaz Lake, including a hiking trail around the lake and interpretive facilities.

Priority 3. Work with WRID and local landowners to develop public access trails to the West Walker River, along with parking facilities, and informational signing.

Bridgeport Valley

Priority 1. Increase pedestrian safety from Evans Tract to town and along SR 182 from the reservoir to town.

Priority 2. Work with public land managers to create a multi-use, year-round trails system for pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians in the summer, and nordic activities in the winter. Explore a potential trail connection between Timber Harvest Road and town.

Priority 3. Explore Off-Highway Vehicle recreation opportunities, such as combined use roads, while remaining sensitive to resource impacts and public concerns.


Priority 1. Provide alternate access into Bodie with trails. Promote the use of unique and historical compatible modes of travel to Bodie, such as rail, horse-drawn wagons and carriages, and equestrian.

Priority 2. Support preservation of the old railroad grade from Mono Mills to Bodie. Highlight and interpret the old railroad grade as a trail route to Bodie.

Priority 3. Provide for wagons and similar historically compatible travel modes to Bodie through concession agreements and designation of routes.

Priority 4. Inventory existing trails in the Bodie Hills. Request State Parks to inventory trails with the Historic Park.

Priority 5. Prioritize trail development / improvement projects in this plan to expedite applications for grant funding.

Priority 6. Coordinate trail development with other modes of travel: provide trail linkages to the visitor center, parking areas, transit hubs and recreation nodes.

Priority 7. Consider winter use for appropriate trails. Designate applicable trails available for Nordic ski, snowshoe and snowmobile use.

Virginia Lakes

Priority 1. Any roadway improvements should include shoulder improvements for pedestrian use.

Priority 2. Encourage and work with appropriate agencies to maintain Sno-Park site just west of US 395 on Virginia Lakes Road.

Mono Basin

Priority 1. Work with community groups to improve the sidewalk system along Main Street (US 395) in Lee Vining.

Priority 2. Work with the USFS, community groups, and landowners to implement an extension of the community trail up Lee Vining Canyon and to provide interpretive signage along the trail per the Mono Yosemite Trail Plan.

Priority 3. Work with Caltrans to improve safety for sightseers, pedestrians, and bicyclists on US 395 along the west side of Mono Lake.

Priority 4. Investigate potential alignments for trail connections between Mono City and Lee Vining.

June Lake Loop

Priority 1. Continue to work with the June Lake Trails committee to implement the objectives of the June Lake Loop Trail Plan/Map.

Priority 2. Work with the USFS and private landowners to develop a trail connection between the June Lake Village and the Down Canyon area.

Priority 3. Work with Caltrans to enhance public safety by optimizing conditions for road bike and pedestrian users on SR 158. Identify areas for potential crossings/traffic calming solutions.

Priority 4. Maximize trail connections between existing establishments such as Gull Lake - June Lake, campgrounds – village, commercial areas and future developments (see Design Guideline and Character Inventory Study).

Priority 5. Identify missing links between existing trails for continued connectivity throughout the loop.

Priority 6. Implement a signage and way-finding program to better identify existing trails.

Mammoth Vicinity/Upper Owens

Priority 1.  Improve Substation Road area for pedestrian use.

Priority 2.  Link the Town’s trail system to the surrounding unincorporated area, particularly on Sherwin Creek Road and the Scenic Loop Road.

Priority 3. Pursue an interpretive site and supporting facilities in the Substation Road vicinity such as a Geothermal Interpretive Trail.

Long Valley

Priority 1.  Identify, formalize and utilize existing trails and pathways for connectivity within and between communities.

Priority 2. Support efforts to connect Lower Rock Creek Road so that it does not intersect with US 395 south of Tom's Place but terminates at Crowley Lake Drive south of Tom's Place.

Priority 3. Complete segment of regional trail (at Tobacco Flat) from the Mammoth Vicinity to Long Valley.

Priority 4. Study the feasibility of developing hiking, biking, and equestrian trails around Crowley Lake.

Policy 5. Explore inexpensive and low-maintenance traffic-calming strategies such as driver feedback signs and striping for bike/pedestrian lanes on County roads.

Wheeler Crest/Paradise

Priority 1. Continue current efforts to provide additional pedestrian facilities along Lower Creek Road.


Priority 1. Work with Caltrans to provide improved crossing safety on US 6 between West Chalfant and the community center.

VI. Regional and Community Routes

Route selection was based on the policies in this chapter, on information in the Issues, Opportunities, and Constraints section of this chapter, as well as maps and data contained in the county General Plan and the Regional Transportation Plan, and the planning documents of other resource management agencies.

Regional routes link communities, provide region-wide recreation opportunities, showcase the history and scenic beauty of the Eastern Sierra, promote tourism and economic development, and enrich quality of life. Regional routes are conceptual and explained further in the Eastern Sierra Regional Trails Plan.

Community routes are generally appropriate for pedestrian use, and in some cases, biking. Community routes are not depicted on maps, nor do they have route numbers, since these routes are primarily conceptual.

Eastern Sierra Regional Trail (ESRT)

The concept of an ESRT would establish a trans-county trail that begins at Topaz Lake in the north and runs to Round Valley in the south, providing nearly 350 miles of trail. For more information contact the Community Development Department.

Community Routes
Antelope Valley
  • Topaz Lake recreational facilities: Hiking trail around the lake. Recreational facilities accessible from US 395 along the south or west shore of the lake. Interpretive facilities along the trail and the recreational site. Depends on negotiations with Walker River Irrigation District (WRID), the BLM, and private landowners.
  • Pedestrian path along US 395 in Walker: From Eastside Lane to west end of town. Linked to bike routes planned on US 395 and Larson Lane.
  • Public access trails to the West Walker River: Seek public input on any possible locations of trails and parking facilities. Feasibility will depend on negotiations and input with landowners and the WRID. Work with the community and adjacent landowners to determine appropriate uses on the County FEMA parcels within the Valley.
Bridgeport Valley
  • Pedestrian paths to town: State Route 182 from reservoir to town and US 395 from Evans Tract to town.
  • Signed Nordic ski trail on Timber Harvest Road: Linked to development of Timber Harvest Road as a pedestrian, bike, and/or equestrian route.
Mono Basin
  • Sidewalk and streetscape improvements in Lee Vining: Pursue grant funding for a community Main Street planning effort to address detailed plans for sidewalk and streetscape improvements.
  • Lee Vining Trail extensions: From the south end of the Lee Vining Creek community trail up Lee Vining Creek to the campgrounds in Lee Vining Canyon.
  • Trail from Mono City to Lee Vining: Investigate alignments.
June Lake Loop
  • Streetscape improvements in the June Lake Village: Along SR 158 starting at the June Lake campground to Gull Lake Road.
  • Gull Lake Trail extensions: Extension of the fisherman trail on the southwest side of Gull Lake around the north and south shores of the lake to connect with the June Lake Village and Gull Lake Park (nearly completed). Spur trail along the north shore of Gull Lake connecting Gull Lake Park and the June Lake ball field.
  • June Lake Trail extensions: Trail segments consistent with the June Lake Trails Plan.
  • June Lake Village paths: Use of existing vehicular travel ways for pedestrian paths consistent with the Design Guidelines and Character Inventory study.
Mammoth Vicinity/Upper Owens
  • Sherwin Creek and Scenic Loop linkages to Town trails: Extension of these trail designations from the Town boundaries to US 395.
  • Substation Road pedestrian access: Geothermal interpretive trail and supporting facilities.
Long Valley
  • South Landing Road pedestrian access: Safe routes to school pedestrian crossing at community center.
  • Crowley Lake Drive pedestrian access: Shoulder improvements from Tom’s Place to the northern junction of US 395.
  • Mammoth Vicinity to Long Valley: Complete segments (at Tobacco Flat) from Mammoth Vicinity to Long Valley.
  • Crowley Lake Trail: Multi-use trail circumnavigating Crowley Lake. Access points at South Landing, Layton Springs, and North Landing. Depends on negotiations with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
  • School Trail: From South Landing Road and Crowley Lake Drive to school site.