Mammoth Lakes Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by HELEN
  • Mammoth Lakes Basin
    Mammoth Lakes Basin
    by chewy3326
  • Paintbrush, Thousand Island Lake
    Paintbrush, Thousand Island Lake
    by chewy3326

Mammoth Lakes Highlights

  • Pro
    goingsolo profile photo

    goingsolo says…

     Skiing and hiking and plenty of mountains 

  • Con
    gordonye profile photo

    gordonye says…

     No direct highway from the west side, difficult road access especially in winter. 

  • In a nutshell
    malianrob profile photo

    malianrob says…

     The best snowboarding in California 

Mammoth Lakes Things to Do

  • Thousand Island Lake

    The trail ends at the shimmering blue lake, which, from the outlet, doesn't seem to merit its name (very few islands are visible). The scene is absolutely amazing, with Banner Peak, Mt. Ritter, the glaciers on Banner Peak, Mt. Davis, and Mt. Lyell rising above the lake. And the lake is so unbelievably, unbelievably blue. Walk southwest along the...

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  • Hot Creek

    Although Tom Harrison Maps marks the road to Hot Creek Geothermal Area as a 4WD road, it is actually easily accessible to most vehicles. Hot Creek Geothermal Area is one of the most amazing examples of the region's turbulent volcanic history. The entire area, from Mammoth Mountain to Crowley Lake, forms the 20 mile long and 10 mile wide Long...

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  • Devil's Postpile

    In the summer, you take the bus shuttle from Mammoth Mountain Inn to Devil Post Pile Monument. It's a short hike to this unusual natural formation, about 3 miles r/t. Easy hike. Continue onwards after viewing Post Pile to Rainbow Falls and Lower Rainbow Falls.

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Mammoth Lakes Hotels

Mammoth Lakes Restaurants

  • The Yodler

    The Yolder is located at the Main Lodge (but separate) and is a great place to grab a hot drink (or a cold one) to warm up after a day on the mountain! Get the hot libation with the chocolate in it (can't remember the name)!

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  • Mill Cafe

    The PERFECT place to hang out for apres-ski cocktails! They have a great sundeck where you can bathe in the sunlight while sipping back some Sam Adams (or whatever your drink of choice is). Everyone stops by the Mill for some grub and socializin'! On a cold. blizzardy day though, it is hard to find a table inside since no one wants to be outside so...

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  • Robertos

    This place is ALWAYS super crowded so expect at least a 30 mins. wait, if not more. Roberto's isn't very big and everyone is kind of crammed in here. But, it's good food at great prices and just a fun place to eat! :) Awesome Mexican food and margaritas! :)

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Mammoth Lakes Nightlife

  • Whiskey Creek

    Surprisingly, for a small resort town there's plenty to choose from. The village has the most in the same place. It is a new shooping area with restaurants, shops and bars, that's at the base for the gondola to the Canyon Lodge. Whiskey Creek is a restaurant that turns into a dance club. According to the locals, the best DJs in town play here. If...

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  • Hawaiian-themed bar with an Aloha...

    It's your usual bar that turns into a dance club at night. There is a small dance foor and girls are allowed to jump up on the sturdy wood tables. The crowd is early 20s sprinkled with other age groups. They have a coat check area with is key when you're in the snow and it's cold outside and warm inside. No dress code

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  • Drinking and Dancing

    Surprisingly, for a small resort town there's plenty to choose from. The village has the most in the same place. It is a new shooping area with restaurants, shops and bars, that's at the base for the gondola to the Canyon Lodge. Whiskey Creek is a restaurant that turns into a dance club. According to the locals, the best DJs in town play here. If...

    more

Mammoth Lakes Transportation

  • Bus / Shuttle

    Regardless of where in town you choose to stay, it's pretty easy to get around town. City shuttles run daily around town and to and from Main, Eagle and Canyon lodges. The Village is a central hub for all lines, green, red and blue. If you choose to go out at night, the shuttle run until about 1 am.

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  • By Car

    If you're driving, no matter where you're coming from you'll have to take US 395. This is probably one of the most scenic highways in America: it stretches from up near Oregon (maybe even further) down the Eastern Sierra, eventually heading into the California desert. It is the only road that leads to Mammoth. Around Mammoth, US 395 has...

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  • Chair Lift / Cable Car

    There is now a gondola from the Village that takes you up to Canyonlodge where you can start skiing. You no longer have to take the shuttle or drive and park all the way in to one of the ski areas. Plus if the lunch lines are too long at Canyonlodge you can head down to the Village for a meal.

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Mammoth Lakes Shopping

  • Fine Arts and Crafts

    Pacific Fine Arts Festivals organizes a series of arts and crafts fairs/shows throughout northern California including one in Mammoth Lakes each summer. This year the Mammoth Lakes Fine Arts Festival was held August 4, 5, and 6th adjacent to Kittredge Sports at 3218 Main Street. We were fortunate enough to be in town this weekend and caught the...

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  • Alpine Outlet Shopping

    For that shopping traveler, the Mammoth Luxury Outlets provides a scaled-down shopping in the alpine setting of this Sierra town. There are only a few stores here but some are heavy hitters such as Coach, G.H. Bass, and Polo Ralph Lauren. We did some early Christmas shopping at Coach and the staff were very friendly and helpful. A nice way to break...

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  • Mammoth Lakes Hotels

    69 Hotels in Mammoth Lakes

    441 Reviews and Opinions

Mammoth Lakes Local Customs

  • 2011-2012: the nearly snowless winter

    Mammoth is known for receiving several feet of snow at a time with every passing storm, but in the winter of 2011-2012, not a single snowflake fell during a period of two months, beginning on 20 November. During this time, the resort's conditions slowly deteriorated and most of the runs eventually closed. Fortunately, the resort was equipped with...

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  • The mountain life is very different....

    There's something about being inside a warm, cozy cabin or condo while it's freezing outside that adds a whole different dimension to spending wintery days by a ski resort. Maybe it's the hot toddies or the steaming jacuzzis...maybe it's the fact that you're miles away from everyone else except for some close friends....whatever it is, everyone...

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Mammoth Lakes Warnings and Dangers

  • CO2 Dangers

    Mammoth Lakes looks like the prettiest little place ever, but there is to some extent, a quite major danger here (not likely to occur while most visitors are here). The town of Mammoth Lakes sits on the enormous Long Valley caldera (a geological feature somewhat like Yellowstone), which could possibly erupt in the near future. In the 1980's, a...

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  • Other Natural Dangers

    It snows alot at Mammoth, and much of the winter snow lingers into summer. Many roads in the area are plowed and open year round (including the road to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area), but some are not, and don't open until sometime in summer. On a typical year, the road to Devils Postpile (which we had planned to visit) opens in late May/early June....

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  • Don't sped through the small towns

    If you are driving north to Mammoth, you will be taking highway 395. Before reaching Mammoth lakes, you'll be going through several small towns, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Independence and Bishop . The speed limit will drop from 75 to 35, and you should make sure to follow the sighs. The cops in these towns are just waiting to bust people. Trust me, it's...

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Mammoth Lakes Tourist Traps

  • Places to Avoid

    'Speed of Light' Photo developing at the bottom of Old Mammoth Road - they ruined half the pictures of the 6 films I put in there. When I complained they first said 'Sorry, but what do you want us to do about it', then told me that they 'just wished that I had never come in to the shop' when I told them that I wanted some form of refund. They...

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  • Speeding through Small Towns

    The small towns along highway 395 have to justify having a police department. Not much else happens in these towns so the police give traffic citations to support their existence. The speed limit on highway 395 is generally 65 miles per hour. It will reduce down to 55 mph, 45 mph, 35 mph and finally through the town to 25 mph.

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  • Don't Eat There!!!

    I won't put any place down, but make sure you get a recommendation on where to eat. There are many restaurants that are expensive that aren't very good.

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Mammoth Lakes What to Pack

  • Don't forget your bathing suit

    f you are going to Mammoth during the winter, you will definitely be needing some warm clothes, and snow shoes. But also, don't forget your bathing suit, as most of condos/hotels will have a hot tub/sauna. There's nothing better than a good day on the slopes followed by a relaxing hot tub session with a cold beer in hand.

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  • Ski Trip

    You never know what the weather will be like. Pack light and heavy jackets for skiing. I also pack several types of gloves - mittens and glove liners. One day, sunglasses were fine. The next windy day, ski goggles were a necessity. I also needed my alligator (neck warmer) that I can pull up to cover my mouth and nose but a face mask would have...

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  • Travel light!

    * Map and guidebook;* Crackers;* 2 Liter of water;* Fruit / power bars. * Hiking boots;* 1 extra t-shirt;* Shorts with many pockets;* Sunglasses;* Fleece type jacket;* Hat / cap;* Raincoat. * Lip balm;* (Neck) sunblock;* Band-aids. * Camera and lots of films!* Filter;* Extra batteries;* Lens 210 mm. * Binocular;* Compass.

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Mammoth Lakes Off The Beaten Path

  • Hiking / Trails

    From the South of town off of Old Mammoth Road, take the road past the equestrian center and turn left for approximately 1/2 a mile. Follow the signs to the Sherwin Lakes TrailHead. The trail to the Sherwin Lakes (roughly 2.8 miles) starts off over a pastoral bridge over the little Sherwin Creek and meanders gently upward through pine trees. After...

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  • Day Trip

    Tom's Place is located in an area known as Crowley Lake, south of Mammoth Lakes. Since VT does not have a Crowley Lake page, I'm putting the tip here. Tom's "resort" is a popular stopping place for hikers, climbers and fisherman visiting the Rock Creek and Sierra Nevada area. Tom's has an interesting history dating back to the early 1900's, which...

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  • Information / Sources

    Off of the main highway that leads into Mammoth proper, there is a little side road by the Fish Hatchery. This little side road takes you to a hidden valley where a hot spring has evolved over the years. There are patches of really hot water and then, there are patches of really cold water that streams down from the Sierra Nevadas. The hot springs...

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Mammoth Lakes Sports & Outdoors

  • Winter Sports

    Mammoth Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in the country, it has more than 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, serviced by 28 lifts, including 3 gondolas. The area has 3,100 ft of vertical, rising to an elevation of 11,053 ft. There are several terrain parks throughout the mountain, and plenty of challenging chutes and open mogul runs. The resort...

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  • In town bicycle/walking paths

    The Town of Mammoth Lakes has established a series of pathways for bicycles, runners and walkers that can take you from the golf courses and horse riding areas on the SE side of town, through town and then on to Twin Lakes and the Tamarack Lodge.

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  • Sledding

    You can find a place to sled almost anywhere in mammoth. Just go outside, find a hill and start making your sled path down. Just make sure to avoid the trees. If that seems like too much work for you, you should drive along Minaret Rd (the main road to Mammoth Mountain Main ski lodge) and a few minutes out of town you'll see a place called SLEDZ on...

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Mammoth Lakes Favorites

  • Winter Activities

    The weather is fantastic. It gets lots of snow, but warms up during the day and you get plenty of sunshine as well. We were caught in a snowstorm right before Christmas and had to walk in a raging Blizzard to get food. Pulled it back to the Condo on a sled!

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  • Summer Activities

    you must visit the local hot spings of the area.. stop at any gas station and ask the attendant what his or her favorite hotspring of the area is and go there!,,, you wont be disapointed .. one word of caution.. most locals go clothing optional.,, so no staring. :) we actully camped at a campground near devels postpile.. this is a really neat...

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  • Information / Sources

    About 200 million years ago the Pacific Plateau slided under the North American Plateau. Because of the enormous preasure at the earth's crust the sea-bottom was pushed upwards. The land which appeared out of the ocean is California as we know it today. Especially the Sierra Nevada mountains carries the signs of this enormous disruption. This...

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