"Nature has Favorites" Top 5 Page for this destination Mammoth Lakes by chewy3326

Mammoth Lakes Travel Guide: 252 reviews and 499 photos

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes offers some of the easiest access to some of the best scenery in the Sierra Nevada, if not the world. High elevation trailheads are the starting points for paths to deep blue lakes and lush meadows nestled beneath the sharp, snow-capped peaks of the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Lupine and paintbrush dot the trails and the streamsides under an everblue sky.

Mammoth would be my favorite place in the world now, were it not for its somewhat overcommercialized town, and the crowds that pour through the area (in this aspect, it's not any better than Lake Tahoe or Yosemite Valley).

Our ability this year to access the backcountry in June was mainly because of an abnormally small snowpack, with the Sierra Nevada only recieving 30% of its average snow, after two consecutive years where the snowpack was around 150%.

Our first visit to Mammoth Lakes was a disappointment, not because the scenery there wasn't amazing but because we weren't able to do much of what we originally planned. In the beginning, we planned a two-night stay in Mammoth Lakes with hikes to TJ Lake, Devils Postpile, and Ediza Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. As it happened, 2006 became a year of record snowfall for the Eastern Sierra. Our plans had already been changed before we arrived at Mammoth (from two nights down to one day), but as we later found, even by June 24 much of the area was completely inaccessible. The road to Devils Postpile was still closed (meaning the trailhead to Ediza Lake and the Ansel Adams Wilderness was, too), and we heard in Mammoth that there was still at least 3 feet of snow around Lake George. The Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort was still open, lifts were still running, and there were still hundreds of skiers who packed the parking lots to ski on 8-feet deep snow, in 95-degree Fahrenheit weather three days after the beginning of summer. Crazy.

Still, the area is quite beautiful; we ended up driving the June Lakes Loop instead of hiking, and although that road didn't live up to our expectations, the scenery was still outstanding.

I've visited the city twice now, but there is still much I haven't seen. I haven't hiked up the canyon above Convict Lake, or up past Crystal Lake to the Mammoth Crest; haven't visited McGee Creek, Devil's Postpile, or Rainbow Falls; have yet to hike the John Muir Trail past Shadow Lake and Garnet Lake and see Ediza Lake, or Island Pass. I haven't been up to Duck Pass or Mammoth Pass, although both are easily accessible by trail (or so I'm told). The region offers endless hiking and exploring, and hopefully I can one day return to discover more of it.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Hiking in magnificent scenery
  • Cons:Commercialized and crowded
  • Last visit to Mammoth Lakes: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Jul 1, 2007
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  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2007 at 8:04 AM

    I hope you got beyond the fish hatchery and revelled in Hot Creek itself. Ediza and Thousand Island Lakes are wonderful hiking destinations as are the lakes beyond Convict Lake.

chewy3326

“Climb the Mountains and get their good tidings -John Muir”

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