A few months ago I had the idea of connecting two local breweries via the San Joaquin Ridge. No surprise that every runner this was mentioned to salivated with the idea of an excuse to drink beer and spend countless hours in the mountains.
Unfortunately, many of my local running friends also think it’s cool to run 100 milers and were either running, recovering from, or tapering for said events.
But there was one guy. Despite a personal best and near sub 20 hour finish 2 weeks ago at Western States, Jeff Kozak, needed a proper excuse to binge drink prior to a dinner party later in the evening with his Mrs.
We left Mammoth Saturday morning at 6:20am on the YARTS bus to June Lake. This trip cost us a steep $4 for the one way trip (30 miles) and we were dropped off at June Mountain Ski Area. It is about 1 mile back to June Lake Brewery and the trail head from that point.
With Jeff’s dinner plans later that evening our start was a bit early for a usual pub run. Since JLB was closed, this precluded us from starting with a few brewskis. This was also a beta collecting mission to refine the route for easier success for future group runs.
The air was brisk as we hit the trailhead a little after 7am so we both decided to start with light wind shells. The initial 4 miles switchback up about 1700ft as we crossed over June Mountain Ski Area and approached Yost Meadow beneath the Negatives.
From Yost Meadow/Trail there is no trail, as far as I know, to the top of the Negatives and the San Joaquin Ridge. Jeff and I decided to just pick a line and start to climb (our route was up the next couloir right of the picture shown)
After a 1300ft scramble up 1/2 mile to the top of the ridge we paused for a few minutes to take in the picturesque views and pick our line to San Joaquin Mountain.
From initial contact with the ridge, only about 1.5 miles and 1,000ft of climbing were between us and San Joaquin Mountain. Although no real trail, route finding is incredibly easy and we traversed a mixture of pumice, talus, and scree. After the summit it was difficult to leave. Those views. Unreal.
After we left San Joaquin Summit, all that lay between us and amazing beer and eats was 14 miles of singletrack trail.
The single track of San Joaquin Ridge eventually gave way to a jeep road for the final few miles to Minaret Summit. There, we picked up Mountain View Trail on the left and dropped for several miles through heavy forest to the Earthquake Fault. We stepped foot on pavement for the first time in 18 miles as we crossed the road and picked up Uptown Trail. The final two miles are pristine singletrack and terminate at The Village. Just 1/4 mile lay between us and a 3 hour beer garden hangout.
With the exception of the 2 mile cross country exploration between Yost Meadow and San Joaquin Mountain, this run has 20 miles of sweet singletrack, 5000ft ascent, 4500ft descent, one mountain summit of 11,555ft, and endless views of the Eastern Sierra. It could possibly be the greatest Pub Run in the country.
Logistically it can also be done during operational hours of both breweries as YARTS runs later in the day each way. Next round it’ll be required to have a round on each end.
Strava Data (actual run is 20 miles, I doubled back several times for Jeff)