Mammoth Dog Teams provide authentic dogsled rides for families and people of all ages. Mammoth Dog Teams trains Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Huskies. You'll learn their names and personalities along your ride. These are working dogs that are well trained and love what they do. It's all about the dogs.
Mammoth Dogsled rides depart from two places: Smoky Bear Flats (on Hwy. 395 a few miles north of Mammoth Lakes) or Mammoth Mountain Inn (next to Main Lodge). There are also Dog Sled Dinner Rides where you "Mush" along under a star-filled sky to the spectacular Minaret Vista and watch the Sierra sunset followed by a delicious dinner.
In the summer months there are kennel tours where you can meet and pet the dogs. You can even learn about the history of dog sledding. Kids will have a new appreciation for man's best friend. Don't forget your camera! Call ahead at 760-914-1019. Or visit the website at: Mammoth Dog Teams
Scenic Gondola Rides and the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center: Ride Mammoth's Gondola to 11,053-feet and enjoy sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains! You do not have to be a skier/rider to take the gondola to the top. The "Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center" is located on the summit of Mammoth Mountain and is complete with food and beverages at the Top of the Sierra Cafe. Hours are 8:30am to 4:00 pm daily. For tickets and more information, please visit MammothMountain.com.
Come enjoy traditional family fun and gorgeous mountain scenery at the Mammoth Lakes outdoor ice rink. Located behind the Mammoth Lakes public library, at 416 Sierra Park Road, and nestled against a beautiful alpine meadow, the ice rink offers spectacular 360 degree views of the Sherwin's and the great White Mountains. Sunsets can be especially spectacular here. Weather permitting, the Mammoth Ice Rink is open daily from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm until the end of February. Go to: VisitMammothIceRink.com for details and updates.
Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center: Only here can you experience the grandeur of Mammoth's picturesque crags, waterfalls and high alpine lakes when they're covered in snow. Tamarack offers lessons and ski and snowshoe rentals. Groomed tracks, ski skating lanes and snowshoe path. Insider's Tip: During winter full moons Tamarack offers Full Moon Tours on skis and snowshoes. Visit TamarackLodge.com for more information.
The Mammoth Lakes Nordic Trail System: The Inyo National Forest has a wide winter trail system integrated into the surrounding mountains, forests and meadows. Ideal terrain for cross-country skiing, skate skiing, snowshoeing or walking your dogs. Destinations include Inyo Craters, Obsidian Dome, Shady Rest, Minaret Vista and many more. All trails aere groomed on a weather-permitting basis and are completely free to use! Need more info? Mammoth Trails has a great website highlighting nordic trails (and much more too). Visit MammothTrails.org to view maps and route descriptions. Additionally, The California Welcome Center, located at the entrance to Mammoth Lakes on State Highway 203, offers free winter trail maps and information on trails, guide services, special events, current conditions and regulations. You can also visit VisitMammoth.com for more information.
Mono Lake: This State Park Reserve was established to preserve the spectacular "tufa towers," calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. It also protects the lake surface itself as well as the wetlands and other sensitive habitat for the 1 – 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake each year. Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet. Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty as the ocean and very alkaline. Location/Directions: Highway 395, about 30 miles north of Mammoth Lakes, near the town of Lee Vining, California. Winter is a particularly beautiful time at Mono Lake. The crowds are gone, a quiet stillness prevails, and snow crystals sparkle on the tufa towers. The road to South Tufa (take Highway 120 West off of 395) is kept plowed, when staffing permits, allowing year round access except immediately after large storms. South Tufa, Navy Beach, and the Old Marina area are all wonderful places to cross-country ski when snow conditions permit. Click here for more information: Visit Mono Lake.
Twin Lakes in Mammoth: These lakes, located in Mammoth at an elevation of 8,540 feet, remain open to visit year-round and are only a few miles from Town. The historic Tamarack Lodge and fantastic 5-star restaurant, Lakefront, sit along Twin Lakes. Take a snowy stroll across the bridge over the lakes, sit in the lodge's lobby and sip on Apple Cider or marvel at the backcountry skiers coming through "Hall in the Wall" located right above the lakes. At the far end of the lake, Twin Falls tumbles 300 feet into Upper Twin Lake (sometimes frozen in the winter). Just drive up Lake Mary Road and follow the signs to Twin Lakes or click here for a map.
Convict Lake: Here rugged mountain scenery with sheer cliffs of highly colored and folded rock meet a natural lake formed behind debris left by receding glaciers. The oldest rocks in the Sierra Nevada range were discovered here. The scenery at this lake is SPECTACULAR! Convict Lake is located 10 miles south of the Mammoth Junction on US 395, then two miles west. A very easy and quick drive to get there (unless it's snowing heavily, of course). For more information, visit ConvictLakeResort.com.
Mammoth Mountain is one of the world’s top ski destinations (click here for Mammoth Trail Maps). Lifts open early in Nov. and run until Memorial Day and sometimes even until the 4th of July! This is one of the longest seasons in the world thanks to snowfall averages over 400 inches each season and an 11,053-foot elevation. And all of this is complete with 300 days of California sunshine each year! Mammoth Mountain Statistics: Elevation: Summit is 11,053 feet, Base is 7,953 feet, Vertical Rise: 3,100+ feet, Number of Lifts: 28 (9 high speed quads, 2 high speed six-packs, 3 gondolas), Skiable Acres: 3,500+ acres (150 Named Trails, 3 Pipes, 3 Terrain Parks), Longest Run: 3 miles (15% Expert/20% Advanced/40% Intermediate/25% Beginner), Hours of Operation: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm daily (reduced hours in late Spring). June Mountain is only a 15-minute drive north of Mammoth and offers a great alternative for skiing and boarding: www.JuneMountain.com
Take the family out for sledding at Woolly's Adventure Summit, located on Minaret Road, on your way up to the Main Lodge Ski Area on the right side. Snow activities abound for little ones and thrill seekers alike at Woolly's Tube Park and Snow Play. With six groomed tubing lanes, outdoor heaters, hot cocoa, and lifts to whisk you to the top, the whole family will enjoy this modern twist on a classic adventure. Take the ride of your life on a specially designed snow tube and be back to the top within minutes for another run! Families with small children can sculpt a snowman, ride sleds, or enjoy Woolly's Tube Rotondo (Merry-Go-Round) in the snow play area. Click here for more information on Woolly's Adventure Summit.
Other Sledding Ideas: Bundle up and make sure everybody's cozy warm and comfortable, that way your day of fun will be more enjoyable. Find a good hill, make sure it is not too steep for sledding and that there are no large rocks, tree roots or debris hidden under the snow. You can buy sleds at Do-it-Center, Rite Aid, Vons and a few sporting good stores in town. Some suggestions on where to go:
Rock Creek Road is approximately 15 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes and is plowed all the way to East Fork Snopark where there is a variety of areas where you can snow play and sled.
There is also a large hill approximately 15 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes on Hwy 395 on the southbound side where the divided highway ends, just before Deadman Summit and anywhere on the Scenic Loop Road as long as you are not parked on or sledding on the road. What would playing in the snow be without building a snowman? You'll need at least a few inches of snow on the ground and make sure you wear gloves or mittens. Then let your imagination take over. Snow angels are another classic pastime on snowy days. They are also really fun to create. Don't forget to take a picture! Another classic, a good old fashion snowball fight! There are so many fun things to do in the snow.
Snowmobiling is one of the most exciting ways to experience the great outdoors in winter. Snowmobiling can be a fun and exciting recreation for people of all ages. With access to the 80 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and 75,000 acres of open expanse, the Eastern Sierra delivers some of the best snowmobiling in the West. With an average annual snowfall of nearly 30+ feet, it's no wonder that people from all over come to experience snowmobiling at its best, with varying terrain that makes for exciting riding and spectacular scenery. Vast wooded forest, beautiful meadows, frozen rivers and lakes and rugged mountain peaks all provide an endless horizon of untracked powder making for an outstanding adventure! The Eastern Sierra vistas afford breathtaking views not found in other places. Some of the most popular places to ride are Lookout Mountain, Inyo Craters and Bald Mountain. You're free to explore on your own, in a group, or with a friendly experienced guide. Don't forget to bring your camera. Gas, food and lodging are available in the town of Mammoth Lakes and in the town June Lake. Snowmobile Rentals and Operators (click to visit operator's website):
Take a ride in a real snowcat for one of the most unique excursions in the Eastern Sierra. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area introduces an unparalleled culinary and wilderness adventure in the Eastern Sierra! "Mammoth Snowcat Tours" will whisk guests away in a luxury snowcat and embark on an unforgettable journey to Minaret Vista. En route, guests will experience the beauty and peacefulness of the Eastern Sierra backcountry during winter while listening to a narrated audio CD highlighting historical, ecological, and geological facts. Upon arrival, guests will be invited to take in the breathtaking views of the Sierra skyline including the Minarets, the Ansel Adams Wilderness, and the Inyo National Forest. The guide will take a professional photo of the group and then picnic style lunch/hors d'oeuvres will be served. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the vista and take pictures at their leisure before departing back to the Mammoth Mountain Inn. Alternatively, you can choose a different trip with Parallax snowcat dinners offers a dining adventure at 9,600 feet. Start the evening with a champagne reception followed by a luxury snowcat ride high on Mammoth Mountain to Parallax. Sophisticated American cuisine is highlighted by the high-altitude atmosphere and impeccable service. The experience is completed with a snowcat ride back down the mountain for the most unique apres-ski adventure on, or off, the slopes. Seatings available Fridays, Saturdays and through the holidays.Tours are weekends and holidays. Reservations required for all Snowcat Tours. For reservations, schedule and more information visit Mammoth Mountain Ski Area or call 800-626-6684 preferably at least one day in advance to purchase.
The California Department of Fish and Game opened up year round, catch-and-release fishing in Mono County on three excellent fisheries. Hot Creek and the Upper Owens River are 3 miles and 7 miles, respectively, from Mammoth Lakes and the East Walker River is approximately 45 minutes north near Bridgeport and all are usually accessible even in moderate snowfall years.
South of Mammoth, approximately half way to Bishop, you pass into Inyo County, which also has year round fishing in the "gorge", Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Lower Owens River, which offer both catch-and-release and catch-and-keep fishing depending on which sections you fish. Being at lower elevations these areas are always accessible throughout the winter season.
It can be below freezing with snow and high winds in town and only a short drive away you'll find anglers enjoying a great day of fishing. So, don't forget to throw your rod and reel in the car along with the skis and snowboards before you head up the hill.
Review the latest Fishing Report, schedule a guided trip, talk to fishing experts or rent some gear!
Guided Ski Trips and Courses: Have you always wanted to explore the backcountry? Well now you can with Sierra Mountain Guides! They offer several guided ski trips out of both Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain Ski Areas. Tours are available for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders. Each tour is custom made for you and your group. Some trips include lift tickets, gear and safety equipment. Check out information by clicking here: Sierra Mountain Guides. or June Mountain Backcountry Tours.
Ice-Climbing: The Eastern Sierra has several world-class ice climbing spots when conditions are right! Where to start? Try ice-climbing with the Sierra Rock Climbing School's master guides. Check our their website by clicking here!
Bowling: Mammoth Rock ‘n’ Bowl is putting a new spin on an old pastime. This isn’t your grandparent’s Bowling Alley. This is a state-of-the-art indoor entertainment hub, with breathtaking views, casual and upscale dining options, a full bar, cool lounge, live music, contemporary event spaces and the best drinks in town! Mammoth Rock 'n' Bowl features 12 state-of-the-art USBC certified bowling lanes, a pro shop, foosball, darts, ping-pong and 3 indoor golf simulators where players can hit real golf balls on world famous courses, rain (snow) or shine! Visit Mammoth Rock 'n' Bowl's website or give them a call at 760-934-4200.
Color Me Mine: The Art of Having Fun! Everyone can be an artist here. Pick out your favorite pottery item, paint it, fire it and take it home. Visit Color Me Mine's Website or give them a call at 760-934-8911
Mammoth Lakes Library: Our library is so much more than computers and books! Enjoy Friday movie nights, Saturday game day, events and so much more! Check out Mammoth Lakes Library's Website for all of the current happenings.
Minaret Cinemas: Mammoth's only movie theater located in the Minaret Mall next to the Von's Shopping Center. Movies showling daily. Visit Minaret Cinema's Website for movie times and information.
Snowcreek Athletic Club: This facility offers many fun activities for the entire family or group! Enjoy fitness classes, dine in the Bistro, sign the kids up for classes and swimming lessons or just lounge in the spas or pools. Visit Snowcreek Athletic Club's Website for more information.
Summer Activities in Mammoth
There is so much to do in the Mammoth Lakes area... No matter the season! Please just expand a box below to find out more about each activity. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any additional information.
Your choice of terrain, sensational Sierra scenery and that famous California summer sunshine make an irresistible combination for mountain or road biking. There are so many different conditions and views to discover. Mammoth Lakes also offers a number of free shuttle services throughout town... Many towing bike trailers behind them to transport you and your bike to wherever you want to start! How neat is that?
Paved Trails: The Town of Mammoth Lakes has a fantastic biking/walking trail system throughout the area! You'll see the biking trails as you cruise around town and you can stop to check out the trail signs at numerous points. However, the best place to check out the trail system for biking is the Mammoth Lakes Trail System's Website.
Road Bikers: Road bikers have plenty of asphalt routes to choose from, be it peddling around town, gearing down to puff up Minaret Road to the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge and on up to the breathtaking Minaret Vista, or cruise the scenic stretches of U.S. Highway 395. Benton Crossing Road (off Highway 395) is a great raod biking spot. So is the Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop. Again, check out the Mammoth Lakes Trail System's Website for road biking destinations.
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park: Named #1 Bike Park in USA by Outside Magazine! Mammoth Mountain Bike Park offers over 80 miles of scenic cross-country single track and heart-thumping downhills. Take the scenic Gondola with your bike to 11,050-feet and cruise back down on amazing single-track while taking in the unreal scenery! The Mountain also offers a bike park shuttle that will pick you up in town and take you back up to the top. For everything you need to know, please visit Mammoth Mountain Bike Park's Website.
Free Mountain Biking: There are so many great single-track options in the Mammoth area! A few of our favorites: Lower Rock Creek off of Highway 395, Minaret Vista to Inyo Craters, Mammoth Rock Trail, San Joaquin Ridge, Sand Canyon accessed from Rock Creek Lakes. Google any of these for details. Mammoth Lakes Trail's Website also features all of the single-track located right in Mammoth complete with maps, mileage and photos.The California Welcome Center - Mammoth Lakes located at the entrance to town on State Highway 203 offers free mountain biking trail maps and information on route descriptions, trail ethics and precautions.
The Eastern Sierra is home to a wide variety of birds year-round, while many others migrate through. The birds of the Eastern Sierra offer both the casual and the dedicated birdwatcher a large and diverse population. Nearly 300 species of birds have been identified within the area. Some are year-round residents, others migratory visitors. With a pair of binoculars and a bird identification guide, birding in the Eastern Sierra can be rewarding for a few hours or for a lifetime. The Eastern Sierra offers dramatic beauty and great birding. Mono County is blessed with an abundance of public land, most of which offers excellent birding. The soaring flight of a Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle may even be witnessed. Just to name a few of the Eastern Sierra birds you will see are the Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Hummingbirds, Mountain Bluebird, Western Tanager, American Goldfinch, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, and the ever popular Steller's Jay. For a list of the Birds in the Eastern Sierra visit the Valentine Reserve website at vesr.ucnrs.org/pages/snarlbirds.html. For up-to-date postings and sightings visit the Eastern Sierra Audubon's website at www.esaudubon.org/birds.
Mono Lake is the crown jewel when it comes to birding. Mono Lake is a salty, alkaline inland sea home to brine shrimp, alkali flies, and the millions of birds that depend on them. One of the best-known birds is the California Gull. Mono Lake is home to the second largest California Gull rookery in North America (Great Salt Lake is the largest). Approximately 50,000 California Gulls arrive in spring and will feed, mate, select a nest site and lay their eggs. By early fall, most will have migrated back to the coast. If you visit a beach in California and you see a California Gull, there's a high probability it was born at Mono Lake. Every year in the month of June, the town of Lee Vining hosts a weeklong event called the "Mono Lake Bird Chautauqua". If you would like to learn more about The Bird Chautauqua, please visit the Mono Lake Committee's website at http://www.monolake.org/ If you find an orphaned or injured bird only veterinarians or federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators can legally treat wild birds. Visit Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care's website or call the center at 760-872-1487.
Bird watching is the very best kind of fun; easy, inexpensive and satisfying and the Eastern Sierra is an immense, rugged and extraordinary landscape rich with birds.
Excellent boating, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating opportunities abound at the numerous lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and surrounding areas. During the summer months, these waters feature both recreational paddlers out for a scenic afternoon and fishermen trying to hook a trophy-size trout. Rent a canoe, kayak or boat and venture out on your own.
Learn about the fascinating history of Mono Lake with a guided kayak tour. Paddle around Crowley Lake and enjoy the mountain scenery. A sunny summer or fall day on the water in the Mammoth Lakes area is a special experience for the whole family.
Motor Boating and Jet Skiing: Both Crowley Lake and Grant Lake allow waterskiing and jet skiing, however, no rentals are available so please bring your own watercraft. Grant Lake is also great for windsurfing. Boats can be rented at a number of locations throughout Mammoth and June Lakes. Please click on a business below to view their website with boat rental details:
Stand Up Paddle Boarding: What's not to love about stand up paddle boarding in the Eastern Sierra? Beautiful scenery, calm waters, many lakes to explore and... no sharks! In and around Mammoth Lakes, opportunities for high altitude SUP adventure are abundant. The Mammoth Lakes Basin and the June Lake Loop alone offer 7 seven paddle-accessible lakes.
Bring your suntan lotion, beach chair, picnic and board and get ready to kick-it at the beach, Eastern Sierra style. Don't have a board? No problem - there are several places to rent a board and other water sports gear, saving you the trouble of having to lug all that extra gear around. Please click on a business below to view their website with boat rental details:
From the challenging, short climbs of the Owens River Gorge to the big walls of Yosemite National Park and towering Sierra peaks, sport climbers rave about the exhilarating options in the Mammoth Lakes area. Whether you've ever tried climbing outside, in a gym or just thought about it, you'll have an exhilarating experience. If you're experienced and have a great belay partner, buy or borrow a guide book for the area you'd like to check out. The Mammoth area has loads of granite and volcanic rocks for sports climbs, bouldering, mountain climbing with multiple pitches and more. Our favorites include: The Gorge, Clark's Canyon, the Warming Wall, the Happy and Sad Boulders, Buttermilks and Benton Crags. Check out RockClimbing.com's website by clicking here for route information and descriptions.
If you are new to climbing and would like some lessons, check out Sierra Rock Climbing School! Get individual attention from their school! Be guided up a multi-pitch route, go top-roping, and/or get instruction on techniques, gear placement or anything else you may be interested in. The day or days are yours, and Sierra Rock Climbing School is focused on you, and only you. Beginner through advanced, individuals, groups, families and kids are welcome. Sierra Rock Climbing School is available year round, click here for their website.
Climbing for the Kid's at Mammoth Mountain's Adventure Center: Kids can scale new heights on the 35-foot vertical climbing rock at Mammoth Mountain. The friendly staff is always helpful in giving assistance with belay and basic climbing tips. There is a "Little Kids" climbing wall, as well.
Like a bird in flight, kids can sail over a small creek and through the trees on the 100-foot zip line. The zip line is a safe way for young daredevils ages 13 and under to fly. Visit the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center's Website.
Mammoth is known as being one of the most challenging and rewarding fishing destinations in the west. The wonder and beauty of the Eastern Sierra with crystal clear lakes and streams will hold you spell bound. Fishing can be done in many ways - from shore or a boat, from a dock, in lakes and rivers and streams. There are a variety of fishing techniques, in addition to gear, baits and lures. Mammoth Lakes has dozens of sporting good stores and guides that can help you with your fishing needs. With all the different possibilities, there's something for everyone. What are you waiting for?
Mono County fishing season starts the last Saturday in April and ends on November 15th of every year, however, the catch and release fisheries of the Upper Owens River above the Benton Bridge to Big Springs, the East Walker River below Bridgeport Reservoir, and Hot Creek, will remain open year-round. Find out the best time to fish and where the fish are biting with the fishing reports and forecasts for the lakes and streams in the area (click on a report below for current information):
Join in the fun of one of the numerous fishing derbies, held throughout the season. Opening Weekend Fishmas Festival, "50" Days of Fishmas, Convict Lake Fishing Derbies, Children's Fishing Festival, Crowley Lake Stillwater Classic, Free fishing days and more. For a full list of events see our Events Calendar.
Mammoth Lake's two golf courses are located at the highest elevation in California. These sky-high courses will entice seasoned and novice players alike. Test the effects of elevation on your game.
Sierra Star: At 8,000 feet above sea level, Sierra Star Golf Course is the highest golf course in California. With snow-capped peaks in every direction, winding mountain streams, lush wildflowers, fairways lined with Jeffrey pines and towering red firs and the occasional family of deer, you won't find a more stunning golf course anywhere. Sierra Star is one of the most challenging alpine courses anywhere. Golf Course Statistics:
18-hole Championship Course: Par 70
Design: Cal Olson
Topography: gentle rolling hills, tree-lined fairways
Elevation: Highest hole 8,050; Lowest hole 7,897
Length: Black tees play to 6,708 yards; Blue tees 5,980 yards; White tees 5,430 yards; Red tees 4,912/4,802 yards
Course rating and slope: 65.6/116 white 71/133 black
Greens: Bent grass; average size 5,500 sq. feet
Tees and fairways: Rye and Bluegrass
Practice: Putting and chipping green, warm up and swing nets
Snowcreek Golf Course: Snowcreek Resort Golf Course opened in 1991 as Mammoth's first and finest golf course. Ted Robinson of Laguna Niguel, CA who has designed over 140 courses worldwide and is one of America's most imaginative and innovative golf course architects, designed Snowcreek Resort Golf Course. The course is located in Old Mammoth, nestled between the Sherwin Mountain Range and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. You can only imagine the beautiful 360-degree vistas enjoyed from every hole on our course. Snowcreek is a public resort nine-hole golf course, par 35, which plays 3,306 yards from the back tees. This alpine beauty features some of the fastest and truest bent greens that the Eastern Sierra has to offer. A series of streams and water hazards on seven of the nine holes and well-bunkered greens make playing at an elevation of 8,000 feet quite a scoring challenge. For more information visit Snowcreek Golf Course's Website.
Where to begin? The Eastern Sierra is surrounded by wilderness abounding with hundreds of pristene lakes, streams, meadows, forests and more! You can be at a trailhead within minutes from anywhere in Mammoth and you can do anything from a quick 15-minute stroll to a week-long backpacking trip.
Day Hiking: In the summer there is no better way to really experience Mammoth Lakes natural beauty than at an eye-level hiking pace. You may find yourself adjusting your tempo to that of the trail. Stop a moment to watch a cunning little lizard cool itself with millimeter-high push-ups. Notice the hawks swooping, the grouse scuttling, the way the aroma of sage is released when you lightly brush against it. John Muir and Ansel Adams wilderness areas - lush alpine meadows and crystal-clear high-country lakes - are an easy day hike. Discover the natural beauty of this area on one of our popular day hikes. Hiking around Mammoth Lakes in the fall is an experience not to be missed. This beautiful, though uncrowded, season brings crisp mountain mornings, warm days and the opportunity to experience the colors that comprise the palette of autumn. Aspen, willow and cottonwood trees light up the slopes during this very special time of year.A few of our favorite day hikes include: McLeod Lake out of Horseshoe Lake, Barrett and TJ Lakes out of Lake George, Emerald Lake out of Coldwater Campground, Arrowhead, Skelton and Barney Lakes also out of Coldwater Camground, the Mammoth Rock Trail, Crystal Lake out of Lake George and the Inyo Craters off of the Scenic Loop.
Backcountry Backpacking: The backcountry is beautiful, but also primitive, and you'll be on your own. Inquire about weather forecasts and trail conditions when planning what equipment and clothing to take. In all seasons, always be prepared for severe weather. Wilderness permits are required for overnight camping. For more information on backcountry backpacking in the Inyo National Forest please call the California Welcome Center - Mammoth Lakes at 760-924-5500 or go to their website at www.fs.usda.gov
The formation of Devils Postpile began when basalt lava erupted in the valley of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. As lava flowed from the vent, it filled the valley near the Postpile to a depth of 400 feet. Recent radiometric dating of rocks thought to correlate with basalt of Devils Postpile suggest an age of less than 100,000 years.
Approximately 10,000 years ago, glaciers flowed down the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. This moving ice easily overrode the fractured mass of lava and quarried away one side of the Postpile, exposing a sheer wall of columns 60 feet high.
Many fallen columns now lie fragmented on the talus slope below. A hike to the top of the Postpile reveals not only a cross section of the posts, but the most interesting effect of the ice - polished tops on the basalt columns. Here, the column ends are exposed like a tiled floor and exhibit parallel striations where the glacier dragged rocks across them.
Another great way to see Mammoth Lake's backcountry is by horseback. Local pack outfitters offer hour-long, half and full-day rides as well as week-long excursions into the Ansel Adams and John Muir wilderness areas. A 2-hour ride, perfect for families, takes you to Heart Lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, passing by a historic gold mine and mining camp. Other favorites include the guided rides along Convict Lake, McGee Canyon, Rock Creek and Red's Meadow. Relax and enjoy the Sierra scenery while the horses do what they love. For a real old west experience you can be a working cowboy on a horse drive during the spring & fall seasons. No experience necessary - they'll show you the ropes.
Local Pack Outfits (please click one below to view packer's website):
Off-highway adventure in Mammoth Lakes is enough to rev up any self-respecting SUV, ATV and Motorcycle - or its owners. You can discover a California panorama beyond the imagination of those who stick to the asphalt. Hundreds of miles of unpaved roads are just waiting for you on the Inyo National Forest. Backroad travel leads to a full menu of Sierra locations and this-must-be-the-movies scenery. There are high mountain lakes, shadowed canyons, giant boulders guarding ice-cold streams, dense forests of tall timber and austere, high-desert plateaus. Take the Owens River - Hot Creek Road, The Lookout Loop or the Deadman Creek Trail. There's something for everyone and roads for all levels from beginning to the most challenging. SUV's with four-wheel drive may be required for some roads. Know your vehicle's limits and use wise judgment when entering unfamiliar territory. A great place to view some of the off-roading available in the area is to visit the Mammoth Lakes Trail Systems's Website. The California Welcome Center - Mammoth Lakes also offers a free off-highway vehicle map.
If you don't want to go out on your own and want some camaraderi check out The Eastern Sierra 4WD Club's Website. They go out once a month and all are welcome to join them. Besides your 4WD, all you need to bring is lunch, water, camera and a sense of adventure.
Sierra Engine/Bishop Motosports - Offers all new rentals of ATVs, Side x Sides, Mountain Bikes and Snowmobiles. Maps, helmets and trailers (off road vehicles) included with every rental. Affordable packages to make your outdoor dream come true. Guided and unguided adventures available. They have an office in Mammoth too!
Motorcycle Riding: Mammoth is famous for being in the center of over 4,000 miles of local dirt routes strewn out throughout the largest Jefferey Pine forest in the world. Trails are open weather permitting for green sticker, red sticker, and street legal (dual-sported) motor cycles. Ability levels for all, technical singletrack to wide open forest roads and one can expect all trail types: rocky, sandy, whooped, groomed, etc. Being centrally located in the eastern sierra Mammoth Lakes is a great jumping off point to several area destinations like Bodie State Park, Owens Valley, White Mountains, Hawthorne NV, Fish Lake Valley NV, Death Valley National Park not to mention the easier day trips connecting our various towns and communities. Free GPS tracks, info of being prepared, and lots of route info are available at the Mammoth Motorcycle Club's website.
Two miles downstream from Devil's Postpile, the San Joaquin River tumbles over an abrupt 101-foot drop, sending rainbows of color into the mist. After the easy, 1.5 mile walk to Rainbow Falls from the Red's Meadow area, the roar of the falls and the refreshing mists invite you to stay awhile and enjoy a picnic lunch. Be sure to bring your camera-midday, when the sun is highest, is the best time capture rainbows in the mist.
Red's Meadow is near the trailhead to Rainbow Falls. There is a nice resort there which is a great place to grab lunch or an ice cream. Picnic tables are also available. There are other great things to stop and see as you head down to the Red's Meadow Area. Besides Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls, there is a beautiful meadow named Agnew Meadows. Many stop at numerous spots to fish the San Joaquin River. Several major trailheads are in this area including access to 1000-Island Lake, Shadow Lake, Ediza Lake, Minaret Lake and more. The Devil's Postpile, Rainbow Falls and the Red's Meadow area are located 10 miles past Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's Main Lodge, on Hwy. 203. A mandatory shuttle bus is required during the busy summer months and departs from the Mammoth Adventure Center and The Village at Mammoth. Closed in the winter. Click here for more information about the mandatory shuttle bus to visit these areas.
Running: It's no coincidence that so many top-ranked elite runners have chosen Mammoth Lakes as home base. Training at altitude gives athletes alike a proven advantage, but the real draw is the extent and variety of trails and terrain--for all seasons. In summer and fall the trail-running options from town into the surrounding front country of the Inyo National Forest (and beyond) are world-class and nearly limitless. For those who prefer smooth, paved surfaces, try the Town Loop and Lakes Basin Path. Even in winter there are groomed or snow-free roadways to the east toward Hot Creek and Benton Crossing roads. For running locations, maps, pictures and descriptions, please visit the Mammoth Lakes Trail System's Website.
Skateboarding: We have a few skateparks in Mammoth! The world-class, 40,000-square-foot Volcom Brothers Skatepark is a testament to the depth and extent of Southern California skate culture—even here, 300 miles from the drained swimming pools of Los Angeles and Orange County, where, as it happens, the skateboard is a natural dry-season complement to the snowboard. Locals and visitors regularly commute downhill along Main Street or Forest Trail, or along sections of the Town Multi-use Paths. The Shady Rest "street scene" skatepark is a good place for kids and novices to get their tricks on. Helmets and pads are strongly recommended for all skaters. For more information about Mammoth Skate Parks and other Skateboarding options, please visit the Mammoth Lakes Trail System's Website.
The summit of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 feet is perhaps the most stunning view you'll find in California. Enjoy 360 degree views of over 400 miles of high altitude peaks. But don't be fooled by the remote elevation – once you reach the top you'll discover there's plenty to do up there. You'll be amazed at what you find above 11,000 feet with breathtaking views, lunch, and learning!
The typical summer season for the scenic gondola runs from about June to October (weather permitting). Summer hours are 9:00am-4:30pm daily. At the summit of Mammoth Mountain you will find the Top of the Sierra Cafe, an Interpretive Center and miles of hiking trails. For all the latest information on the Summer Scenic Gondola, please visit Mammoth Mountain's Website.
Throughout the Mammoth Lakes area and along popular trails, you'll find turnouts, parking areas, and resting places from which to appreciate the broad extent of the landscape. From the Twin Lakes Bridge on the Lakes Basin Path, look out across the Sherwin Meadow and the Long Valley Caldera to the Glass and White Mountains. From Minaret Vista take in the whole jagged Ritter Range all the way to the edge of Yosemite National Park. Hike to high-points like Panorama Dome, the Mammoth Crest, or the summit of Mammoth Mountain, where you can see from Mono Lake to Kings Canyon National Park, and as far west as the Coastal Range. For more ideas on Vista Viewing, visit the Mammoth Lakes Trail System's Website.
Yosemite National Park is one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders. Many have said that Yosemite's natural beauty has the power to take one's breath away. It is breathtaking! The eastern gate into Yosemite National Park (Tioga Pass Hwy 120) is just 45 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes.This entrance is closed in the winter. Spend a day in Toulumne Meadows and then come on down to the Whoa Nelli Deli (website here) at the Mobil Mart for fine dining and live music all summer long. For more information about Yosemite, visit Yosemite National Park's Website.
Another great way to see Yosemite National Park while visiting Mammoth is to take a trip on the YARTS bus. YARTS provides regularly scheduled public transit service into Yosemite National Park and the gateway communities along its routes in buses that are air-conditioned and equipped for rider comfort. YARTS likes to say, "You Could Drive, But Why?", but it is so much more than just that. Get out from behind the wheel and you will see Yosemite in a whole new way. Check out the current bus schedules departing Mammoth Lakes by visiting the YARTS Website.
Mono Lake State Park: Mono Lake is only about 30 miles North of Mammoth Lakes and no Eastern Sierra visit would be complete without stopping by this ancient sea! Just head North on Highway 395 and you will see Mono Lake on nthe East side of the highway ear the town of Lee Vining, California. The Mono Lake Reserve was established to preserve the spectacular "tufa towers," calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. It also protects the lake surface itself as well as the wetlands and other sensitive habitat for the 1 – 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake each year. Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet. Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty as the ocean and very alkaline. Our suggestions are to turn onto Highway 120 East and stop by the Panum Crater, the South Tufa Reserve and/or Navy Beach. There is a wonderful Forest Service Visitor's Center for Mono Lake just North of the town of Lee Vining. This is a great place to start your visit and get your bearings before heading out to explore! For more information, visit either the Forest Service's website for Mono Lake or the California State Park's website on Mono Lake's South Tufa Reserve.
Bodie State Historic Park: Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy 270), seven miles south of Bridgeport. From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on a dirt road to Bodie. For more information about this amazing ghost town named Bodie, please visit the California State Park's website.
Natural Hot Springs: Mono County and the Mammoth Lakes area are legendary for our natural outdoor hot springs. Where else can you take in panoramic views of the Sierra Nevadas while soaking in a free, natural, outdoor hot spring? There are some guidebooks sold in our area (check out the Booky Joint in the Von's shopping center) that detail all of the hot spring's locations. You can also visit Mono County's Hot Springs website.