If you are ever driving on the 395, up to Mammoth, Tahoe, or Bishop – I’m going to let you in on a secret. You may have passed it several times, not knowing you were a stones throw away from "The Best Run in the World." That is what my friend and I dubbed Lower Rock Creek, an appropriate name that stuck.
What makes Lower Rock Creek “The Best Run in the World?” Scenery so beautiful you forget you are running and a gradual decline that makes an eight mile run seem like three. Imagine a trail run that starts out in an aspen forest that changes into a pine forest, then into chaparral and bare rock cliffs, then back into pine again, all the while following the namesake creek. The water meanders, slows, rushes, plunges off boulders, settles into still ponds only to rush again.
The scenery can take your breathe away, and so can the altitude. This run starts at 7,000 feet and descends to 5,000. The decline makes the run deceptively easy, but can result in crippling soreness if you are not used to running downhill. Of course you can always run up the trail, something I’ve never attempted. My friends and I do this run as a shuttle, starting just south of Tom’s Place and ending in a tiny settlement appropriately named "Paradise." The trail intersects the road twice in the first 3-4 miles, then you are committed for the last 4-5.
This is a popular mountain biking trail, so remember to step aside if you hear them coming. They come down quickly, so ipods are definitely taboo, but you won't miss it. This trail really is spectacular.Many times my husband and his friends have passed us on their bikes during this run, always teasing us “Get off the trail, runners” and attempting to kick us in the butts. One rider who was closely behind and did not realize we knew the group was appalled and said “I can’t believe what that guy said to you girls.” I laughed and said “Oh, I can. That was my husband.”