"Secret of the Sierras" Top 5 Page for this destination Mammoth Lakes by goingsolo

Mammoth Lakes Travel Guide: 255 reviews and 499 photos

The mountains are calling
And I must go

John Muir

Nestled among some of the mighty giants of the Sierras is California's spectacular Mammoth Lakes region. The area is bordered by both the John Muir and Ansel Adams wilderness area and is a haven for skiing, hiking, biking and other outdoor pursuits. The tiny town of Mammoth Lakes, population approximately 7,000, reminded me of Vail, but on a far less grand scale.

Mammoth Lakes is the gateway to the Sierras. Well,some of the less popular areas of the Sierras- the ones that captivated John Muir. Where the scenery is grand and the crowds nonexistent. This is some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in a state that has a great deal of it. Less than an hours drive from Mammoth Lakes or Yosemite and a fraction of the crowds

Tiny town in the wilderness

At the base of the mountain, you'll find the ski area.
In the winter months, the area averages over 300 inches of snowfall, providing plenty of fresh powder and excellent conditions for winter pastimes. Mammoth Mountain is just over 11,000 feet, which makes it higher than Squaw and Heavenly in Tahoe to the north. In the summertime, Mammoth is quieter, the temperatures perfectly pleasant at this higher elevation and hiking opportunities abound.

Another perk for Mammoth Lakes is its proximity to other California natural wonders. Yosemite National Park's eastern entrance, Tioga Pass, is located about 45 minutes from the town of Mammoth Lakes. Mono Lake, Mount Whitney and the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway are all short daytrips away. Just south of town, the area of Rock Creek is the gateway to some of the Sierra's most fabulous hikes. Less than an hour away, you'll find the ghost town of Bodie. What's left of it, anyway

Just south of Mammoth Lakes, you'll find an area known as Crowley Lake. Crowley is actually a small town in Inyo County which is part of the Mammoth Lakes region. VT doesn't have a separate page for it, so the information for this area is being placed on this page. From Crowley Lake, you can drive 9 miles up to an elevation of about 10,000 feet to an area known as Mosquito Flats. From here, the choices are practically limitless and the scenery is spellbinding. Best of all, there are no crowds. In fact, you may find yourself alone at the top of a peak. There is remote wilderness out here a mere 3 or 4 miles from the trailhead

I passed through Mammoth during Labor Day weekend 2006, after a trip up Mount Whitney. My brief visit was very enjoyable and I wanted to spend more time exploring some of the hidden areas of the Sierras. The following summer, I got a chance to do just that

Mosquito Flats and Rock Creek

2007 brought me back to this region several times. We took an excursion into the John Muir Wilderness in June, 2007 and again in July. In August, we stayed in Mammoth and bypassed the high altitude highs for some more sedate exploring. I was supposed to return in '08, but things did not work out as planned. Not sure when I'll get back to this area, but I imagine it will be quite some time.

Look inside and take a virtual walk through some of California's most beautiful wilderness.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Skiing and hiking and plenty of mountains
  • Cons:A long drive from populated areas and airports
  • In a nutshell:One of the hidden gems of the Sierras
  • Last visit to Mammoth Lakes: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (22)

Comments (5)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2007 at 4:09 AM

    Mammoth Lakes sounds like a nice little base for enjoying some outdoor activities. Great shot of what appear to be basalt rock formations at the Devil's Posthole!!

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2006 at 1:08 PM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the most spectacular women and friends alive. Goin' to SW Va. Cumb. Gap, Tn. Smokies and NC & Va. Blue Ridge Mtns this week for a 4 day weekend and home site scouting trip! Isn't it time for Tony Luke's?

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2006 at 3:36 PM

    Thanks for sharing the secret of the Sierras. Your accomodation tip reminds me of some of the reasons I enjoy camping.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2006 at 9:24 PM

    Alas, you missed the brewpub, which is, as you alude, a much better place to eat at;-]

  • Hopkid's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2006 at 9:17 AM

    Nice tips on your trip out west. Very fast in getting those tips up!


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