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“There’s no small adventure in Mammoth Lakes,” the saying goes, and that should come as no surprise for a town ideally situated in the centre of California’s majestic eastern High Sierra region. Surrounded by dramatic high alpine landscapes, some of the tallest peaks in the western U.S., crystal-clear lakes, and within touching distance of sightseeing wonders like Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks, Devils Postpile national monument, Mount Whitney – the highest point in the lower 48 states, Mono Lake, and must-see historic sites like Bodie – “the official ghost town of California” – Mammoth is the perfect gateway to discovering the unparalleled natural beauty and lively culture of this remarkable area.
And there’s no better time to do it than in summer and fall, when not only do accommodations prices drop from the height of ski season in one of the U.S.’s top winter resorts, but the snows recede, leaving unfettered access to a rare place that “you have to see to still not totally believe.”
Summer & fall
In the summertime, the weather is fine in the eastern Sierras with temperatures peaking at an average of 22 degrees Celsius in July in Mammoth Lakes and surrounding Mono County, making for ideal conditions to enjoy the great outdoors, but also a host of festivals that serve up food, live music, and sports. Visitors can enjoy hearty American fare, craft beers and local wine, with something guaranteed to be going on every weekend. Better still, admission to the ticketless events is almost always free. And culture season wouldn’t be complete without checking out a host of theatres, galleries, or one of the 65 great places to eat in town, including restaurants featuring international cuisine
Of course, some contend that fall is even better, since the season has everything that summer has, and more: a backdrop of spectacular autumn colour!
The great outdoors
With so much to see and do, there is no shortage of activities in the Mammoth Lakes region. Whether simply revelling in nature’s bounty from a car window, walking in the woods, bird watching, lounging in a hot spring, waiting for fish to bite, or leisurely ascending the 215-metre gondola ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain for a spectacular panorama of the Sierra Mountains ticks your boxes, or you prefer to perk up the heart rate a little on a hike, bike or horseback ride, by climbing a mountain or golfing, or getting out onto – or into – one of the many lakes or rivers to swim or for a boating, canoeing or kayaking adventure, activities can be as easy or strenuous as one wants. But the bottom line is: there is simply something for everyone, and for all ages!
Gateway to greatness
Visitors could probably spend a lifetime in Mammoth/Mono County, but for those who have duties elsewhere, two to four days are recommended to explore and enjoy the region. But don’t leave just yet. There is plenty nearby, including some destinations best done in a day trip, that make Mammoth the perfect base for sightseeing in the region and ensuring that you only have to unpack once. While in Mammoth, don’t miss:
- Yosemite National Park (45-minute drive)
- Death Valley National Park (3 hours)
- Mono Lake (30 minutes)
- Bode Ghost Town (1 hour)
Located in the centre of the eastern Sierra region of the Sierra Mountain Nevada range, which stretches from north to south along the Nevada border, Mammoth Lakes is accessible by plane (less than hour’s flight from San Francisco or Los Angeles), bus, or automobile, the latter in about five hours from Las Vegas, L.A., and San Francisco.
Once in town, hop on the town’s terrific trolley system, which services all areas of Mammoth Lake – for free.
Where to stay
From campsites to luxury lodges, and everything in between, visitors will find a variety of lodging to fit every budget in Mammoth Lakes.
For more information, go to www.visitmammoth.com.
This article was brought to you by our friends at Mammoth Lakes Tourism.
Start planning your visit: www.visitmammoth.com.