Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Mammoth
Mountain towns can sometimes get pigeonholed into one-season destinations. It seems like while people love the idea of snow-covered mountains, they can’t quite imagine what the area is like once all that snow melts. But let me be the first (and not the last) to tell you, Mammoth Lakes is equally as impressive in the summer as it is in the wintertime. And, thanks to a crazy amount of snowfall in the 2016-2017 season, you can actually ski in the summer too.
Mammoth Lakes is nestled in the Eastern Sierras and is the perfect home base for exploring Mammoth Mountain, Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park. Here’s how to one-up your winter trip and get the most out of those long, sunshine-filled summer days.
If you skied this winter, try mountain biking this summer…
With terrain for all levels — beginners to advanced, aged 6 and up — Mammoth Mountain Bike Park has world-class bike tracks and is the perfect spot to start your Mammoth Lakes summer adventure. If you’ve never tried mountain biking before, don’t worry. You can schedule a tour with a guide who will teach you all the basics plus follow you down the mountain so you can learn while exploring the tracks. Currently there are 21 singletracks open (that's more than 80 miles to explore!), and shuttles are available from around the Village to take you back up to the main lodge.
If you snowshoed this winter, try hiking this summer
One of the most popular snowshoeing trails takes off from Tamarack Lodge, up around Lake Mary, and peaks with a gorgeous valley view from the top of the waterfall. For summer, we suggest recreating this same route. Instead of frozen lakes and trees dusted with snow, expect to find lakes full of people (and fish!) splashing away in the water. Oh, and that waterfall? It’s still flowing like crazy and the valley view looks a bit different without all that snow, too. This is a great opportunity to take a photo and compare the two seasons.
If you snowmobiled this winter, try kayaking this summer
Mammoth Lakes has dozens of lakes (“Lakes” is in the name, after all). Some of these lakes are super easy to get to, while some require a bit of an adventurous spirit (14-mile hike, anyone?). We suggest renting a kayak from Mono Lake or Convict Lake, both of which have easy-to-find parking with epic views of the lake and mountains. There are a few differences in their appearances though. Convict Lake has the green mountain water and snowcapped mountains as its backdrop. Meantime, Mono Lake has that otherworldly, sand castle dripped rocks, creating an altogether ethereal feel. Either one is bound to be an epic adventure.
If you spent nights by the fire this winter, enjoy an outdoor movie this summer
Every Thursday and Sunday night you can pull up an Adirondack chair, grab a meal from one of the food stalls in the Village and watch a movie on the outdoor screen. It’s the perfect date night or family outing. Movie screenings run through September 7th. Click here for the full list.
If you snowboarded this winter, try SUP this summer
Now that cars can head up to the Lakes Basin, it’s the perfect time to plan some summer adventures on the lakes. We suggest renting a paddleboard at Lake Mary and paddling around the entire perimeter to see the full beauty that is this gorgeous spot. Make sure to bring a waterproof case for your smart phone or camera so you can snap photos in the middle of the lake. Dogs are allowed in the lake, so bring your four-legged friend along for the ride, too.
If you ice climbed this winter, try rock climbing this summer
Sierra Mountain Guides is your go-to for both of these heart-pumping adventures. These trips can accommodate kids as young as five, which means the whole family can get in on the action, too. The guides are excellent at providing a safe and comfortable environment for anyone to learn how to climb, and with so many rock climbing spots in the Eastern Sierras, you really could plan multiple climbs throughout your visit and never climb the same spot twice.
If you took a snow-covered scenic drive in winter, road trip up to Yosemite this summer to see all the waterfalls
The drive from Mammoth Lakes to the East entrance of Yosemite National Park is only 45 minutes by car, and it’s one incredibly gorgeous drive. With lots of spots to pull over for a quick photo or two along the way, you’ll also find that the journey to get there is just as beautiful as the destination. Tioga Pass is one route that closes in the winter, so this is a summertime delight to be able to get into the park via Mammoth Lakes. To get the most out of your trip, stay in Mammoth Lakes and head out early one morning into the park. Even if you spend all day in the park, you can still come back to Mammoth Lakes in time for a hearty meal and a comfortable lodge. Note: YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transit System) are also available to take you to and from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite. They run every day in July and August and weekend trips are available in June and September.
If you went sledding this winter, try fishing this summer
Fishing is one of the most popular summer and fall activities in Mammoth Lakes. With the clear water and multiple ways to enjoy the sport via boat, kayak, paddleboard, shore or dock, it’s no wonder why everyone loves fishing in Mammoth. If you’re looking for the best place to cast, consider the June Lake Loop, Crowley Lake or the Red Meadows area of the San Joaquin River. If you’ve never been before, consider hiring a guide to show you the ropes (or lines!) and how to catch and release your first trout. Bring a camera so you can prove how big the catch actually was.
If you’ve never stayed at The Westin, located
right across from the Village at Mammoth, it’s definitely a step or two up from your
typical hotel and an excellent way to elevate your summer vacation. The suites
offer a place to relax after a long day in the sun and with the location you’ll
have easy access to movie nights and all the restaurants in the Village at Mammoth.