mammoth header Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Renowned for its picturesque snow-capped mountains, Mammoth Lakes is a popular destination for those seeking winter recreation. During the winter, the resort town is bustling with would-be skiers and snowboarders. But during the summer the town, which is situated in the middle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, attracts those who love the outdoors.
stream Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

How to Get There

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center
Located on Hwy 203 at the entrance to the Town of Mammoth Lakes, 3 miles west of Hwy 395
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Mammoth Lakes is approximately 5 hours by car from Los Angeles. You can also opt for a daily flight from LAX which will get you to Mammoth in about an hour for less than $200. Beginning August 29th, you’ll save 20% on any available fare operated by Alaska Airlines. Be sure to check the site for specifics.

If you have time, stop by the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center located on Highway 203 at the entrance to town for maps, permits, information, and customized experiences.

Where to Stay

westin mammoth Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth

50 Hillside Drive, PO Box 388
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 934-0400
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Three years ago, the Westin made its debut in Mammoth, setting the standard for service and excellence in the resort mountain town. Each room is a suite, making the resort an ideal option for families. You can select a deluxe, one-bedroom or two-bedroom suite layout, all of which include either a kitchenette or full-sized kitchen. Even the most economic suite option includes a King Size Heavenly Bed, a pull-out sofa, a gas-burning fireplace, an LCD TV, and high speed internet access. It only gets better as you move up to a one or two bedroom suite. The suites are roomy and comfortable and the resort has every amenity you can dream of.

Were it not for the beauty of the mountain town, one could spend an entire vacation swimming, sunning, and relaxing at the resort. If you have yet to plan your itinerary, stop by the concierge’s desk. Buck will spend one-on-one time helping you plan your activities based on your preferences. While you are within walking distance of the Village, the resort offers a complimentary year-round shuttle service that will take you anywhere you want to go within the town’s limits.

If you’re traveling with children, take note of the Westin Kids Club, which offers arts, crafts, games, and videos for children ages 4-12. For a nominal fee, your children can spend some time enjoying the supervised activities offered at the club while you enjoy dinner at the resort’s Whitebark restaurant or a swim in the pool.

Of note, the entire resort is pet-friendly, although you’d never know it. A specialized cleaning service is used after each guest. If you should require a pet-free room, be sure to ask at the front desk.

At present, you’ll find a variety of hotel offers including their Sunsational Savings package which includes the 4th night free, a room upgrade, and a $50 food and beverage credit.

camping Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)


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Once the snow has melted, Mammoth is encased in lush greenery. Even if you’re not adept at roughing it, it would be a shame not to spend at least one night experiencing the beauty of the forests and meadows that encompass this space. You can find more than 800 campsites within the Mammoth Lakes area.

Ideally situated adjacent to numerous trails and picturesque landmarks, Mammoth has six campgrounds open to the public. Many of the sites, including Reds Meadow, are first come, first-served which means you’ll need to arrive early in the morning during the busy summer months to secure a spot. Camping underneath the stars in this serene space is idyllic. Be sure to come prepared to hike and fish, if you desire. Be sure to take note of the fact that this area is home to bears and other wildlife and prepare accordingly. Many campgrounds provide bear boxes. Also remember that even in the summer months, temperatures can drop drastically at night.

What To Do

hiking devils postpile Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)


Rainbow Falls from Devil’s Postpile
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Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a family with small children, Mammoth offers scenic trails for all skill levels. If you’re staying in Reds Meadow Valley, you’ll want to make the trek down to Rainbow Falls. You can access the falls one of two ways. You can drive to the Rainbow Falls Trailhead which is approximately two miles round trip, or take a longer 5 mile round-trip hike from the Devil’s Postpile Trailhead. Rainbow Falls is the highest water fall on the Middle For of the San Joaquin river and plunges 101 feet down. During the day you will likely catch a glimpse of the numerous rainbows that appear in the mist. Devils Postpile is a National Monument and Geologic Wonder not to be missed. The formation is a rare site to see, with its unusual symmetry and columns towering over 60 feet high.

mammoth biking Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Mountain Biking

Mountain Bike Park
(760) 934-0706
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When the snow melts from those pristine slopes, it reveals miles of jumps, drops, and varied terrain for beginner to intermediate riders. Mountain bikers can opt for paved or unpaved trails depending on their skill level. At Mountain Bike Park riders can cycle 3,000 feet from the summit. Bike Rangers patrol the park to assist riders and the mountain is now home to seven advanced-terrain freeride trails.

canoes Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Water Activities

Mono Lake Guided Tour
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With 300 days of sunshine and numerous surrounding lakes, families can enjoy swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating. You can venture out on your own or opt for a guided tour at Mono Lake. Be sure to check out Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, and Lake Mary for aquatic activities and picturesque views.

scenic drive Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Scenic Drives

Mammoth Scenic Loop
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One of the advantages you’ll have if you drive to Mammoth is the ability to take scenic drives within the area. Earthquake Fault, a 15 foot fissure located off Highway 203, is the result of fractures formed during a series of strong earthquakes that erupted hundreds of years ago. There are numerous hikes within the area or you could continue on to the Mammoth Scenic Loop off of Highway 203. The loop winds through a forest of Jeffery Pines and is a beautiful and for the most part, quiet and not traveled by most. If you’re interested in sightseeing, be sure to check out Inyo Craters, one of Mammoth’s iconic sites. Today, you’ll find rainwater and melted snow at the bottom of the 100 and 200 foot deep pits. Once you’ve completed the 30 minute drive, continue to Minaret Vista, also located off Highway 203. The views of these jagged, snow-capped mountains are breathtaking. In the middle of summer you may still find ice on the ground in this area.

If you’re planning on spending several days in Mammoth, consider taking a day trip to Yosemite National Park. While the entrance is less than one hour from Mammoth, plan to spend the entire day driving, hiking, and enjoying the Yosemite Valley alone which encompasses seven square miles.

mammoth village Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

The Village at Mammoth

Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
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Whether you’re looking for a meal after a day of hiking, a memento to bring home from your stay, or a place to relax and unwind, The Village at Mammoth offers an array of casual and formal dining options, shopping, and entertainment. Throughout the summer, the village is host to weekly summer concert and movie series, celebrations, and festivals.

Where to Eat

the stove Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

The Stove

644 Old Mammoth Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760 934 2821
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While you may be nowhere near the South, The Stove offers some of the best country cooking. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, however, they’re most famous for their hearty omelets, pancake sandwiches, and generous portions. Be sure to arrive early or you’ll likely have to wait during peak summer months.

mammoth storefront2 Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter


Old New York Deli & Bagel Company

6201 Minaret Road, Suite 105
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 934-3354
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Whether you’re looking for a quick bite before you hit the trails or a casual, sit-down breakfast, the New York-style bagel factory cafe features over two dozen varieties of boiled and hearth-baked bagels, organic coffee, homemade breads and much more.

crepe Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Side Door Bistro

100 Canyon Blvd. #229
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 934-5200
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From the outside, the venue looks more like a cafe or coffee house. However, with ample seated dining areas, a wine cellar and bar, and a gourmet menu, the bistro is deal for casual, intimate dining. Families will enjoy the outdoor seating while listening to music playing in the Village Center. Menu items include paninis, crepes, and fondue.

chickenpitaweb Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter


The Pita Pit

6201 Minaret Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 924-7482
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Looking for a quick, healthy meal? Check out the made-to-order pitas filled with everything from lean, savory meats and flavorful cheeses to crisp fresh veggies and exotic toppings. Dine in or take out at your convenience.

gomez Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter


Gomez’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

100 Canyon Blvd. #225
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 924-2693
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Boasting authentic Mexican food, many of the traditional family recipes are practically the same used for the past 30 years. The environment is casual and family-friendly, the portions generous, and the food fresh and flavorful.

white bark Mammoth   Its Not Just For Winter

(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Whitebark Restaurant, Bar & Lounge

50 Hillside Drive, PO Box 388
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760 934 0400
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Located at The Westin Monache Resort, the contemporary restaurant features an open kitchen where chefs grill, saute, and create your dishes from scratch. The menu, which varies according to the season, features seafood and steak to pastas and seafood.

Caryn Bailey often journeys out of the OC to have adventures with her family, but keeps home fires stoked at Rockin’ Mama.

Comments (9)
  1. Liz says:

    Great review on camping with families.Where to stay and Eat!

    I’ve always wanted to visit Mammoth.

    Thank you…

  2. Mike says:

    Great tips! I never realized Mammoth was so close.

  3. Marcie T says:

    Great post. Definitely makes me check it out in the summer.

  4. duh says:

    How can you possibly have a “Where to eat” section and not include Burgers on Minaret Rd? Absolute classic that’s been there since I started going to Mammoth in the early 80’s. If you’re looking for the closest thing to an honest In-N-Out type burger, except you want it about 5 times bigger, then Burgers is for you. It’s not a ‘restaurant experience’ type place, you have to go there hungry for a BURGER.

    They serve beer, but very limited selection. This is the perfect stop after a long day fishing, which brings us to the next topic: Where’s the FISHING GUIDE!! You don’t go to Mammoth in the summer without a fishing rod! Tsk tsk!!

  5. field says:

    Schotts in Bishop

  6. Dariela says:

    Wow! I really feel like going to Mammoth now. I kind of don’t like the snow too much anyways! Thanks for the great post Caryn!

  7. Justin says:

    Several great places to stay in the area – not just one mega hotel. There are some great inns and bed & breakfasts in the area that are similarly priced that give you a great flavor of the local community. A great year-round place to visit – thanks for the article!

  8. matt says:

    There is some good information in this article, but then there are some entries that you can tell are written by someone who has never even been here! What happened to journalism, where your “facts” are checked at least once?

  9. magee's word says:

    It’s ERIC SCHAT BAKERY with an “a” – not spelled with an “o”. Aside from that you will want to return once you try their array of breads, rolls, pastries, soups, sandwiches, pies, cakes, cookies, etc. Unbelievable apple fritters! Like most people, stop in the morning before you go hiking, biking, etc. and get some food packed to go. Then you will have a great outdoors lunch beside a beautiful stream or wherever you decide to travel. This whole area is full of breathtaking beauty.

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