Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Mammoth
We've said it once and we'll say it again: Mammoth Lakes is an absolutely perfect summer getaway for explorers of any age. The five-hour drive from Los Angeles is relatively quick and painless, the mountain peaks gorgeous, and the alpine lakes cool and inviting. Thanks to a record-breaking snowfall this past winter, the waterfalls are flowing and skiers and snowboarder are still enjoying the slopes even in July. With 11 lakes in the immediate vicinity as well as an entire mountain full of activities, it's easy to begin each day with a fresh adventure.
With that in mind, we sent Eric of Travel Babbo to Mammoth Lakes for an easy three-day getaway with his son. They scoured every inch of Mammoth Lakes in search of the best adventures the area had to offer — and came home victorious. Eric shared a few of their favorite adventures with us:
Hiking from Lake George to Lake Barrett
This is a gorgeous hike that's very doable and easy for shorter legs. If you walk around the left side of Lake George (from the parking lot) and then follow the trail over a couple of streams, you can easily reach Lake Barrett. While we could have continued walking to TJ Lake, my son opted to relax in our hammock instead. No complaints – when I travel with my kids, the activities are all about them. Total time: An hour and a half, but that included hammock time and a lot of jumping off rocks and logs. Be sure not to miss the Twin Falls Overlook nearby.
The Village at Mammoth Movie Series
There’s an outdoor movie night twice a week right in the middle of Village. We picked up chocolate from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, grabbed two chairs next to the fire pit, got out our blanket and enjoyed Ghostbusters. Note: Movies run mid-June through the end of August. Start times change throughout the summer based on sunset. You can find the full schedule here.
Bird's Eye View from Mammoth Mountain
You can’t go to Mammoth Lakes and not go to the top of Mammoth Mountain, right? While I've had friends who have hiked it, my son and decided to ride up with the skiers, snowboarders, and mountain bikers on the scenic gondola. That's right, even in the middle of July there was still skiing to be had in Mammoth Lakes. Once at the top, take in the views, jump off rocks (a theme for this trip), then eat lunch at Eleven53 before heading back down the mountain.
Kayak to Hidden Waterfalls
Tamarack Lodge has kayaks and paddleboard for rent for any overnight guests. In no time at all, we took a short walk across the lodge's driveway, hopped in our two-person kayak and headed straight for Upper Twin Lake and Twin Lake Falls for an easy father and son paddle. We made it to the falls, turned around and coasted back to the lodge. Keep the camera handy if you do this activity! As we neared the lodge a black bear came right to the edge of the lake, no more than 30 feet from us. Remembering to be respectful of any wildlife in the Mammoth Lakes area and keeping safety in mind, we waited for him to wander up the path before docking.
Discover Horseshoe Lake
There's no such thing as too much hiking in Mammoth Lakes, and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring as many trails and lakes as we could. Once at Horseshoe Lake (just past Lake George), we headed counterclockwise around the lake, pulled out the hammock again, jumped off a lot more rocks and logs, and thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon by a gorgeous mountain lake with towering trees.This hike came highly recommended and we determined it's very kid-friendly. Total time: One hour, but we could have made the hike as short or long as we wanted.
Rock Climbing Clark Canyon
Our final morning we met up with Clay from Ground Up Climbing Guides and drove maybe 40 minutes northeast to Clark Canyon. After walking a short distance to our rock climbing spot, we put on climbing shoes (provided by Clay), learned the ropes (no pun intended), and headed up. My son and I both did two climbs, getting close to the top each time. (OK, maybe not close to the top, but more than halfway!) It was physically exhausting but a lot of fun, and I love that my son got higher than I did on both of his climbs. If your kids are adventurous, this is definitely a unique activity worth trying.