Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes, California is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts in the Eastern Sierra, where you can find hiking, ski resorts and easy proximity to Yosemite National Park. From Lone Pine north to Lake Tahoe on the Nevada border, you’ll find some of the most incredible views in the United States.
What is there to do in Mammoth Lakes?
Built on Mammoth Mountain, the town of Mammoth Lakes is a hub for downhill skiers, cross-country skiers and snowboarders in the winter. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing and sledding are also popular in the region. Gondola rides will take you to the peak of Mammoth Mountain, over 11,000 feet above sea level.
In the summer months, mountain biking, horseback riding, trout fishing and golf are all popular activities, not to mention camping, climbing, kayaking and backpacking.
Mammoth Lakes sits on the Long Valley Caldera, a now-extinct super volcano believed to have last erupted about 750,000 years ago, leaving behind massive craters in its wake. More recently, about 100,000 years ago, more volcanic activity formed the Mono and Inyo craters, as well as the basalt pillars of Devil’s Postpile National Monument.
Lake Crowley, Hot Creek Geological Site and Convict Lake are among the top attractions in the Mammoth Lakes and Inyo National Forest area. For a particularly picturesque view of Hot Creek Geological Site, stop by Brees Lookout and bring a telephoto lens!Brees Lookout at Hot Creek in Mammoth Lakes, CA on February 23, 2020. Photo by Peter Stringer
And if you’d like to experience thermal waters up close, you’ll also find a few small hot springs in the area as well.
What else is nearby to Mammoth Lakes?
In the immediate perimeter of Mammoth Lakes, you’ll find more outdoor magic due south in the John Muir Wilderness, which offers hiking and horseback riding. To the west, Ansel Adams Wilderness is tucked between Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park, and features glacial lakes, deep gorges and trails worth exploring and photographing.
You’ll need a permit for overnight visits in the Ansel Adams wilderness, and be sure to be bear-prepared, especially where it pertains to storing food. Our furry friends have strong senses of smell and even stronger appetites, and they will not hesitate to commandeer any food that’s not properly secured. The USDA has a comprehensive guide to traveling in Bear Country.
Further north up 395, Mono Lake and Lundy Canyon in Lee Vining offer breathtaking views, while south down 395, Lone Pine, California has plenty of attractions of its own, including the iconic Alabama Hills and legendary hiking spot, Mount Whitney.