Mammoth Lakes Things to Do Tips by goingsolo Top 5 Page for this destination
Mammoth Lakes Things to Do: 85 reviews and 146 photos
Rainbow Falls is a short hike from the Rainbow Falls stop on the Mammoth Shuttle or a longer 5 mile hike from the Devils Postpile stop on the Mammoth Shuttle. Since we never take the easy route, we hiked the longer 5 mile trip. This was also due to the fact that neither of us read the shuttle guide and did not know that there was a separate Rainbow Falls trailhead stop. But it was a beautiful late August day in Mammoth and we didn't mind the extra few miles.
The walk is not overly strenuous and passes some areas nearly barren after fires which swept through several years back, in 1992 and dubbed the Rainbow Fire, or so I read, and, as we all know, everything you read on the internet is completely accurate. You'll find plenty of people hiking the labrynth of interconnected trails in the area.
The falls are hardly impressive in stature, in a state where nearby Yosemite's falls tower plenty higher. But you don't have the Yosemite Valley crowds here either and that is a definite plus. On a clearer day, which you'll usually find in Mammoth, you'll see the rainbow prism reflecting off the 100 foot falls. We didn't have such a clear day so we just enjoyed the spray of mist from the falls before heading back.
Address: Hwy 203, 9 miles down the hill from Minaret Vista
Directions: Go the the Main Lodge in Mammoth for Information.
Mammoth has a small pedestrian friendly area which passes for its downtown. The streets are lined with coffeeshops, restaurants and arts and crafts stores. It is a nice place to have coffee and people watch or to browse the local stores. There are also numerous gear shops for anyone who needs equipment for their outdoor pursuits. Free parking is offered in the summertime as well.
The area reminded me of the pedestrian friendly streets of Vail, without the crowds and the affluence. There are plans to develop Mammoth Lakes into a world class ski resort, or at least an attempt to do so. Hopefully, the large resort and spa and other developments will not detract from the laid back environment that is Mammoth Lakes in the summertime.
The Mammoth Mountain ski area becomes a summer recreation paradise with a host of activities. From here, you can catch the shuttle bus to Devils Postpile National Monument and other dayhiking and backpacking destinations. The gondola will take you to the top of the mountain for great views of the Sierra. Bikes are available for rent and there's a rockwall for those who want to practice their skills.
During Labor Day weekend, the area was a frenzy of activity with people partaking in the various activities while enjoying the perfect weather. Although the eastern Sierra region is brutally hot in the summer with temps near or over 100 degrees, Mammoth's elevation means cooler summer temperatures, which make it easier to take advantage of all of the activities.
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devil's Postpile is one of the most unusual National Monuments. It is a short distance from Mammoth Lakes, by car and then shuttle bus. The monument is worth a visit to see its unusual structure. If you have more time, and a day or more would be highly recommended in this area, hike some of the nearby trails to some great views of the surrounding area. A farther journey will take you into the Ansel Adams Wilderness and the pristine hidden lakes and other sites hidden from the beaten path.
For more information, feel free to browse my Devil's Postpile National Monument page.
Address: Devils Postpile National Monument
Directions: About 14 miles west of Mammoth Lakes by car or shuttle bus
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