Surrounded by towering peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, Mammoth Lakes is a destination for outdoor adventurers. In the summer, hiking and biking trails come in the handfuls and clear mountain streams provide a great test to fly fishing skills. Nearby Yosemite National Park is just up the road, featuring intimidating granite rock walls, breathtaking waterfalls, and camping amidst huge sequoias. Mono Lake is one of the most unusual natural features around. This salt water lake is great for exploring via sea kayak. Other must sees are the basalt columns of nearby Devils Postpile and the 100 foot Rainbow Falls, just up the road from Mammoth Mountain. Or discover your very own natural hot spring to heal the joints and take in the views all at the same time. In the winter months, skiers and boarders head to Mammoth Mountain, as well as the smaller family friendly June Mountain.
Located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mammoth Lakes is actually easily accessible from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. The Mammoth Yosemite Airport offers year-round flights from LA and seasonal flights from SFO and San Diego. Alternatively, the Reno airport is a 3 hour drive north. Once you are in town, free public buses are available to get you around and a regional Yosemite area bus offers transportation to the park. Summer and winter seasons are equally busy, winter for the skier crowd and summer for the Yosemite visitors. Fall is a beautiful time to visit with fewer crowds and ski season goes well into spring. Summers are warm and dry, with highs near 80 degrees, while winters are long and snowy, with an average snowfall of 206 inches and temps often under 32 degrees.
Things to Do
Yosemite National Park: Access Yosemite via Tioga Pass, a less visited portion of this popular park.
Mammoth Mountain: The largest ski resort around and the tallest in California, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area draws in visitors from all over California. In the summer it features an epic mountain bike park, scenic gondola, and campground.
Mono Lake: This large shallow salt water lake is habitat for 2 million migratory birds and home to the unusual tufas, limestone rock formations that jut out of the water. You can experience the lake from the shore, hiking trail, or better yet from a sea kayak.
Devils Postpile National Monument: Located near Mammoth Mountain, Devils Postpile is an unusual structure of basalt columns roughly 60 feet high. In the heart of summer, you'll have to take a town shuttle to access the park.
Rainbow Falls: At 101 feet, Rainbow Falls is the highest waterfall along the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. It is located just past Devils Postpile and can be accessed by a short easy trail.
Convict Lake: One of the most stunning lakes around, Convict Lake offers great fishing, camping, and dramatic views of surrounding mountains.
June Lake Loop: This 14 mile scenic drive highlights many of the local lakes including June Lake, Grand Lake, and Silver Lake and stunning views of mountain peaks. Stop by June Lake to go SUPing.
Hot Springs: Sitting on the edge of an ancient volcano, Mammoth Lakes is encompassed by geothermal activity. Check out Benton, Travertine, and Keough Hot Springs.
Twin Lakes: These connected lakes sit just southeast of Mammoth Mountain. Find hiking trails, picnic areas, campsites, and great fishing opportunities.
Bodie State Historic Park: A former gold mining town from the late 1800s, Bodie is now a State Historic Park featuring historic houses, hotels, and artifacts, and a museum.