Mammoth Lakes boasts some of the most majestic and awe-inspiring arrays of land-forms in North America. From the stately basalt pillars of the Devils Postpile National Monument to the bubbling hydrothermal springs of Hot Creek Gorge and the dizzying heights of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, visitors are deeply immersed into an exciting record of Earth’s most awesome process.
Escaping the Australian winter for some summer fun in California? After visiting the bright lights of Tinsel Town and all the rooftop pool parties that LA has to offer, head to the ‘hidden gem’ destination of Mammoth Lakes to enjoy its natural beauty and some serious down time with mother nature.
A short one hour flight or a scenic five hour drive from Los Angeles, Mammoth Lakes is located in the heart of the breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. Not many Aussies know it exists, and if they do, it’s thought of as a winter snow vacation (boasting one of the longest snow season across the globe).
Summer is the ideal time to venture into the wild and get back in touch with nature in Mammoth Lakes – from adrenalin-pumping mountain bike rides to hiking to spectacular lakes and waterfalls.
Activities for everyone
Mammoth Bike Park has some of the most radical terrain in the US. There is over 130 kilometres of single track which have an array of jumps, berms and drops for riders. Purchase single or season passes, and you can hire bikes to gear up to attend MTB lessons and clinics from beginner to advance.
If wheels aren’t your thing, perhaps Mammoth Lakes’ access to an array of boating activities on pristine lakes will spike your interest. If you’d rather keep both feet on the ground; fishing, golfing and hiking are not short of excellent for an excuse to get outdoors. Tee off at California’s highest golf course with views of emerald fairways, mountain scape and crystal lakes or hike around 32 Kilometres of extinct super volcano that erupted around 750,000 years ago.
With expansive scenic views of the Mountain, book a Gondola Ride. The ride provides a 360 degree view of Sierra Nevada and is the best way to see all 3368 meters of the summit.
Where to stay
Campers who seek the solitude of backcountry camping or a convenient place for you and your family to pitch a tent or park an RV, will be spolit for choice with plenty of places to camp. After a massive day of outdoor activities potentially camping isn’t your cup of tea, Mammoth offers accommodation suitable for every budget from the Mammoth Mountain Inn to the Village Lodge which resides close to shopping, dining and has regularly scheduled activities.
Food & Drink
With a range of dining, craft beer to a hearty all American meal, Mammoth Lakes will satisfy your taste buds after a long day of adventure. Discover a culinary gem as you feast on 2 hours’ worth of Norwegian delicacies at Skadi’s fine alpine dining or enjoy the big, bold and beer-centric menu on offer at Mammoth Brewing Company who has been brewing award-winning craft beers since 1995.
The 101-foot waterfall is part of the Devils Postpile National Monument. It is known for the colorful rainbow that the mist creates. The best time to experience the rainbows is midday, when the sun is highest.
Devils Postpile National Monument
The monument features thousands of hexagonal basalt columns formed about 100,000 years ago when a lava flow slowed and then cooled and cracked.
This sizeable fissure is not an earthquake fault caused by a single quake, as the name implies. Geologists now believe it is a system of fractures formed during a series of strong quakes when the Inyo Craters and Inyo erupted centuries ago.
Hot Creek Geological Site
Take the self-guided interpretive tour to see Hot Creek’s phenomenon of live hot springs and fumaroles (gas vents). Swimming not allowed due to scalding hot water.
Six hundred years ago, a massive explosion heated rock and ground water, causing a large blast zone. Three craters were formed. Today, snow melt and rainwater create emerald green pools in the craters.
Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine
In 1877, miners discovered silver and gold deposits on the northern slope of Red Mountain in Mammoth Lakes. Ruins of the Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine, operated circa 1927-1933, include mining offices, assay office, a cabin, mill, bunkhouses, a schoolhouse, mining equipment and mine shafts. Follow an easy dirt trail for a self-guided tour or see the site by horseback with Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit.
Mammoth Lakes Basin
Glacier-carved lakes form the Mammoth Lakes Basin. Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Lake George and Horseshoe Lake are nestled below jagged peaks and pine forests. Easily accessible by public transportation, the basin provides hiking, biking, fishing, boating, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, camping, picnicking and sightseeing.
What are your favourite outdoor activities in California?