Image via: www.explore.visitmammoth.com
If you visited the Mammoth Lakes area back in the late 1800s, you would find a sleepy mining town with a saloon, a mining company, and a few hundred cowboys trying to make it rich after the discovery of gold in the surrounding mountain range. Fast forward to present-day and you would be shocked to see the listless mining town transformed into an upscale ski destination. Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mammoth Lakes provides eager travelers with a unique landscape and an abundance of adventure, regardless of the season. The word “mammoth” actually describes the area pretty accurately – the size of the surrounding mountains, the vast number of lakes in the area, and the expanse of its valleys are proof enough of the boundless opportunities the area offers to visitors from around the globe. And today, we are going to convince you to join the thousands of travelers that flock to the area for the perfect mountain getaway.
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Activities in Mammoth Lakes
The fact that Mammoth Lakes sits on the edge of the Long Valley Caldera, a 20-mile wide extinct supervolcano that erupted 750,000 years ago is reason enough to go explore the unique landscape of the area. But here’s a few more reasons Mammoth Lakes should be your next adventure destination:
Number one: the absolutely amazing sightseeing. From the glacier-carved Mammoth Lakes Basin made up of the Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Lake George, and Horseshoe Lake to the Hot Creek Geological Site where you can see (and swim in if you’re brave) hot springs and fumaroles (gas vents), Mammoth Lakes provides visitors with unparalleled scenery.
Number two: the boundless amount of activities to choose from. Bike enthusiasts can cycle along the gentle dirt trails or scenic paved routes to the Mammoth Lakes Basin or to the Minaret Vista for the best sunset in town. And for all you hikers out there, Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by 2 million acres of Inyo National Forest brimming with hiking trails. Popular hikes include the 3-mile Rainbow Falls hike that leads to the 101-foot waterfall, the easy Sotcher Lake hike (though it’s more of a stroll), and the more strenuous Duck Lake hike. Although, we do have to warn you that a lot of these paths may be closed for the season so just make sure to check online before you drive all the way there at 20 mph. below the speed limit with your bike hitched onto the back.
Image via: www.explore.visitmammoth.com
But don’t worry, even if a few of the trails are blocked off, that means that the winter season is in full effect at Mammoth Lakes and there is tons of snow around for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snowtubing, and whatever other “snow-word” you can think of! With 28 lifts, 150 trails, and an average of 400 inches of snow per year, ski and snow enthusiasts always come and leave happy.
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Lodging in Mammoth Lakes
As one of the most popular ski destinations in the United States, Mammoth Lakes offers travelers with bountiful accommodations to kick your feet up at after a long day on the slopes. From quaint motels to five-star resorts, Mammoth Lakes has accommodations for every type of traveler. For a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, we recommend staying at The Village Lodge. With direct ski trail and gondola access, this resort is especially popular among skiers and snowboarders. However, it keeps adventurers of all kinds in mind with convenient door-to-door shuttle service to all local points of interest, making getting around the park quick and easy. Located within walking distance of shopping and dining, The Village Lodge also boasts a heated outdoor pool, hot tubs, fitness centers, and an arcade.
Another popular resort in the area is the Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa. Conveniently located in downtown Mammoth Lakes, this hotel is just steps away from fine dining, shopping, the alpine lakes, and just a short drive to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. With a variety of delicious dining options on-site, this warm and cozy retreat is perfect for those looking to get a taste of the true Mammoth spirit!
Dining in Mammoth Lakes
A day full of snow-play, hiking, and sightseeing warrants a generous glass of bourbon and a warm, hearty meal. Luckily, Mammoth Lakes knows just what weary travelers crave after a day of adventure and have adjusted their dining options accordingly. Offering mostly American-fare, Mammoth Lakes restaurants range from expensive 5-star restaurants to the delicious holes-in-the-wall that the locals struggle to keep under wraps.
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The latest hotspot among locals and visitors alike is called 53 Kitchen and Cocktails. Featuring a variety of craft cocktails and new American eats, 53 Kitchen and Cocktails is the perfect place to go for some good old fashioned comfort food with a modern twist. Open from breakfast until dinner, this establishment keeps people coming back with their diverse drink menu, weekend entertainment, and excellent cuisine. Anybody’s stomach growling yet?
Speaking of popular hole-in-the-walls, Slocums Grill and Bar may be just that. With a warm, friendly atmosphere, locals and visitors alike blend together in this “Cheers”-like bar to eat, drink, and mingle. Chalkboards cover the walls with long lists of craft beers, wines by the glass, appetizers, snacks, artisanal cheese boards, and Happy Hour Specials scribbled upon them. Grab a seat at the bar or cozy up next to the fireplace and enjoy some local fare and awesome drinks.
Mammoth Lakes oftentimes gets the cold shoulder from tourists looking for a mountain getaway, with most opting for Tahoe or Yosemite, but we encourage you to try something new on your next excursion and visit one of California’s first gold-rush towns with a helluva landscape. Pack up your ski clothes, your flask, and a few bottles of Lost Republic (to stay warm) and prepare to meet your new favorite winter destination.