|Length||2.8 miles round trip|
|+400, -400 round trip|
|Season||Mid-November through May|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Mammoth Mountain|
|Start||Minaret Road where it is no longer plowed. This point is located about 100 yards west of Mammoth Mountain Ski Lodge and near the base of chairlift 11.|
In the Mammoth area, the signature view is that from Minaret Vista of the Ritter Range. The sharp, jutting spires of the Minarets are just a part of the range. The highest peak is Mount Ritter at 13,157 feet and the second highest is Banner Peak at 12,945 feet. And 1500 feet below the vista lies the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.
Despite the sea of choking humanity at the downhill ski area that you must endure to reach this vista, everyone should witness the spectacular views at least once. After enjoying the splendor of the Minarets, you can explore the vicinity's excellent ski touring terrain like the San Joaquin Ridge to the north.
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 1.1
Elevation change: +250, -50
From the trailhead (1), ski west on Minaret Summit Road for 1.1 miles until you reach a road junction and crest of the road at Minaret Summit (2). At 0.2 mile you will pass a road to the south (left) that is used by downhill skiers. Ski along the edge of the road in this first section to avoid the downhill skiers returning to the lodge.
Beyond the road junction and crest, Minaret Summit Road descends to the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. That road is described in the Reds Meadow Via Minaret Summit tour.
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 1.1 - 1.4
Elevation change: +100
Turn northwest (right) and follow the indistinct road for 0.3 mile to a high point and Minaret Vista (3).
Return to trailhead
Miles: 1.4 - 2.8
Elevation change: +50, -350
Retrace the route for 1.4 miles back to the trailhead (1).