Photo Credit: Moonjazz

Back in its earliest days, mining was an integral part of Mammoth Lakes. The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1858 brought in swarms of prospectors who were eager to make their fortunes. Of course, most of them left empty-handed, but that didn’t spell the end of the line for Mammoth Lakes. Instead, it began enjoying a rebirth of sorts when the first ski lift was built at McGee Mountain in the 1930s. Since then, Mammoth Lakes’ popularity as a resort town has steadily grown; as the nearest ski area to Los Angeles residents, it can be expected that Mammoth Lakes will only continue to draw in huge numbers of visitors each year.

Sightseeing and Attractions: Mammoth Lakes’ Best Kept Secrets

To most residents of Los Angeles, Mammoth Lakes is just a convenient place to do some topnotch skiing. However, there’s a whole lot more to this scenic area than initially meets the eye. Consider including one of these key spots during your vacation in Mammoth Lakes:

Hot Creek

Just east of the airport, there is a creek that is a true hotbed of geothermal activity. Although it’s not heavily advertised, this geological area is a fascinating way to experience a bit of the raw power of nature when visiting Mammoth Lakes. Keep in mind, however, that it is not possible to wade, swim or soak in these springs – they are far too hot and could hurt or kill anyone who got in.

Gondola Rides

If hiking to the summit of one of the area’s lofty peaks isn’t quite what you had in mind – but you’d still like to enjoy stunning views of the region – then hop on board a local gondola instead. From the top of one of the peaks, you can take in 360 degree views of the entire area. From that vantage point, it’s easy to see why the area is so very popular.

Bodie Ghost Town

Many ghost towns in the western United States have been restored to the point where they seem fake or cartoonish. If you’d like to experience a real ghost town in its natural form, you should hightail it over to Bodie Ghost Town. This unforgettable place will hold your attention for hours on end; as the largest unrestored ghost town in the west, it is more than worth a visit.

Visit Mammoth Mountain

In the winter, you can enjoy topnotch skiing at Mammoth Mountain. In the summer, you can hike around its many nature trails in order to take in a bit of the natural wonder and beauty of the area. No matter when you visit, make Mammoth Mountain a part of your “must see” list – you will not be disappointed!

Best Kept Secrets For Families & Couples

Families that enjoy doing outdoor activities together will be in seventh heaven when in the Mammoth Lakes region. However, there are also many other neat things that couples and families alike will get a real kick out of. Think about including one of the following attractions during your visit:

Mountain Biking

The concept of mountain biking takes on a whole new meaning in Mammoth Lakes. That’s because local ski resorts tow cyclists to the top of nearby peaks during the summer, allowing them to enjoy wonderful coasts down to the bottom without all of the strenuous uphill effort. This makes mountain biking a prime family activity to enjoy in Mammoth Lakes.

Mono Lake

Birding is a very popular pastime in the Mammoth Lakes region, but if you want to enjoy some serious bird action then you definitely need to include stop at Mono Lake on your tour. Mono Lake is a wonderful place for couples to explore; this salty inland sea is home to the California Gull, a majestic and unforgettable bird.

Hayden Cabin

Down near the banks of Mammoth Creek sits the Hayden Cabin, an historic log cabin that allows visitors to see what life was like back in the earliest days of the settlement of the Mammoth Lakes area. A wide selection of mining implements are on site, highlighting the importance of mining to the history of this ruggedly beautiful area.

Eating - Sample the Local Cuisine

Since it primarily exists as a tourist town, Mammoth Lakes doesn’t really have any special kind of food that it can call its own. The prevailing type of food is American, though, but you can find all sorts of international cuisine there as well. Regardless of where your tastes – or the tastes of those in your traveling party – may lie, you should be able to find something to make everyone happy.

When To Go & How to Get There

Los Angeles International Airport is the primary gateway for visitors to the Mammoth Lakes area. From L.A., it’s just a short drive along US 395 to get to the Mammoth Lakes region. There is a small regional airport just north of Mammoth Lakes, but commercial planes do not fly in or out of it.

As a general rule, it is best to arrive in Mammoth Lakes between November and April if you want to do some serious skiing. Other outdoor activities, like hiking, biking and camping, are best reserved for the summer months. There is always plenty to see and do in and around Mammoth Lakes, regardless of what time of year you choose to visit.