Mammoth Lakes In Mono County, California, is one of the most-loved vacation spots on the West Coast. California is known for its beachy lifestyle and year-round sunny weather, but Mammoth Mountain offers something for those who wish to have some fun in the snow. Mammoth Mountain got its name from its size. It’s a vast expanse of mountain ranges (Mammoth Mountain and Sherwin Range) and national parks. About 30 miles away is the east entrance of Yosemite National Park.
The whole town of Mammoth Lakes is tourism-driven. It has a few ski resorts and facilities for different types of outdoor sports and extreme sports. Visitors can come at any time during the year. However, it is most popular during winter as it is the best time to do snow sports like skiing and snowboarding.
Nature lovers will get a kick out of exploring Mammoth Lakes.
Here are also some of the most popular attractions in the area:
- Convict Lake
- Lake Mary
- Horseshoe Lake
- Hot Creek
- Rainbow Falls
- Crystal Lake Trail
- Mammoth Mountain
- Obsidian Dome
Mammoth Lakes has a Mediterranean climate—it has long winters and dry summers. The town experiences snowfall from December to March and lies in a geologically active area. There are a lot of hot springs in the area. It’s a popular post-ski and snowboarding relaxation activity for tourists.
Here’s a breakdown of the climate throughout the entire year:
- Spring: 6 to 19 degrees Celsius (42.8 to 66.2 F)
- Summer: 10 to 27 degrees Celsius (50 to 80.6 F)
- Fall: -2 to 12 degrees Celsius (28.4 to 53.6 F)
- Winter: -5 to 7 degrees Celsius (23 to 44.6 F)
Best Time to Go
The peak season for tourists is during wintertime. Because of the various winter activities and sports, Californians take the opportunity to experience something different from their year-round sunny and beachy weather.
Summers attract the least amount of tourists. However, some still go there anyway to go hiking and mountain biking. Even without the snow, the high altitude, terrain, and trails provide the perfect venue for mountain biking, hiking, and camping.
Mammoth Lakes offers activities for everyone. Those who are into watersports can try out fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. Those who would like to stay on dry land can go mountain climbing, camping, hiking, and biking. Due to the high altitudes, it is also a popular training place for long-distance running and biking. The availability of the activities will depend on the climate.
When the days are warm and the nights are cool, people enjoy horseback riding, biking, and hiking during the fall season. The fall background of orange skies and falling leaves makes the scenery more romantic. Winter is the best time to go skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snowmobile adventures. Do not be surprised if, during springtime, there is still snow in the area. The winters are long and sometimes bleed into the summer months. It is best to go fishing or biking during this time. Summertime is the best season for fly fishing and camping.
Aside from nature and outdoor-related activities, Mammoth has indoor activities too. For example, visitors can go to Mammoth Brewing Company and Distant Brewing. It’s perfect for those who want to try local gastronomic offerings.
Mammoth Lakes Basin is 5.3 miles long with paved paths. Here, hikers can enjoy views of Twin Lakes Vista, Lake Mamie, and Horseshoe Lake. This trail is maintained most months of the year but not during wintertime.
Mammoth Mountain is a challenging 8.3-mile trail. The challenge becomes worth it as visitors are taken to the summit of the mountain. Visitors can enjoy the views of the mountain range while being surrounded by pretty wildflowers. Visitors should hike this trail from March until October.
Rainbow Falls Trail is a 5.4 mile round trip trail. It is moderately difficult but can get challenging since the trail is not paved. Certain sections of the trail have rocky terrain. If you’re looking for an adventure, go a little further to the Devil's Postpile Monument to see the Rainbow Falls from a different angle.
- Airports: Mammoth Yosemite Airport and Eastern Sierra Regional Airport
- Local Transport: Mammoth Transit System
Drive From California
Taking a flight to Mammoth is the fastest way to get to the town. However, many still prefer to make a trip out of driving up to Mammoth Lakes to enjoy the scenic views and pitstops. Visitors can drive to Mammoth Lakes from different points: Southern California, Northern California, and Nevada.
- Southern California Routes: Los Angeles: 5-6 hours | San Diego: 7 hours | Santa Barbara: 6 ½ hours | Palm Springs: 5 ½ hours
Scenic Views and Pitstops: Mt. Whitney, Death Valley National Park, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Manzanar Historic Site.
- Northern California Routes: Highway 120 | Highway 108
Scenic Views and Pitstops: Yosemite National Park, Bodie State Historic Park
Where to Stay
- The Mammoth Creek Inn: From $149 per night
- Emporia High Sierra Hotel: From $148.50 per night
- Sierra Lodge: From $99 per night
- Mammoth Mountain Inn: From $119.20 per night
- Austria Hof Lodge: From $148 per night
Mammoth Lakes has campgrounds in the following areas: Mammoth Lakes Basin and Town of Mammoth Lakes. Reservations are highly recommended for each site. Reservations for Camp High Sierra can be made through the Mammoth Mountain website, while the rest can be done through recreation.gov.
- Coldwater Campground
- Lake Mary Campground
- Twin Lakes Campground
- Lake George Campground
- Pine City Campground
- Camp High Sierra Campground
- New Shady Rest Campground
- Old Shady Rest Campground
- Mammoth Mountain RV Park