San Joaquin Ridge is a multi use trail. The trail is a double track which means that it is shared by hikers, mountain bikers and 4x4's. The trail begins at the top of Minaret Summit and is a fairly straight shot to the end of the trail. Most of the trail is above the tree line and is nothing special if you are just looking straight ahead. What makes this trail worthwhile are the views.
To the west is Devil's Postpile, the Minarets, Mount Ritter and Mount Banner. To the south are incredible views of Mammoth Mountain, Pyramid Peak, Laurel Mountain and Bloody Mountain. To the east are views of the Obsidian Domes and Bald Mountain. To the north is June Mountain.
If you're familiar with the area you are probably aware that the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area owns the June Mountain Ski Area. When Dave McCoy still owned the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area he had envisioned linking Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain with ski lifts. The distance between the tops of the two mountains is 7.8 miles. That makes for a lengthy trek, even with the aid of chairlifts to run between the two mountains. In addition, there are sections that just aren't steep enough for skiing. I won't say it was a bad idea, but if you didn't get an early start, you likely wouldn't make it back before the lifts closed. The proposal got a lot of press in Mammoth Lakes, but never became anything more than a proposal.
Knowing about the proposal makes it interesting to look over the eastern edge of the ridge and see the terrain that could have been where a lift or a ski trail might have been. One conclusion I came to is that the eastern and southeastern exposure of much to the terrain would get baked pretty quickly after a storm. Consequently, the snow would not be considered that good compared to the snow on the north facing slopes of Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain. Nevertheless, I find it interesting to contemplate what could have been.
The trail is strictly an out and back. There are no loops to connect with up here. It is worthwhile going all the way to the end of the trail as it is the highest point on the trail and offers the best views.
Check out the Official Route.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.