Nestled in the stunning Sierra Nevada mountain range, Mammoth Lakes, California provides year-round access to outdoor adventure and cozy luxury. Check out our tips for the perfect Mammoth Lakes weekend, no matter your vacation style.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Spend A Perfect Weekend In Mammoth Lakes
Where to stay
The town of Mammoth Lakes sits right at the base of Mammoth Mountain. For easiest access to the mountain resort’s amenities and activities, look for lodging on the west side of town. The quaint car-free downtown area, known as the Village, offers access to restaurants, bars, art galleries, and shopping.
Where to eat
Kick off your weekend with a hearty breakfast at the Stove Restaurant. Promising homestyle “country cookin,’” this local favorite will fill your belly with plate-sized pancakes or country fried steak. For a lighter start to the day, check out Black Velvet Coffee, where they roast their own artisan organic fair trade coffees and serve up handcrafted espresso drinks.
For lunch head to Campo, an Italian-style restaurant in the Village Plaza serving up wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta with fresh local ingredients. It also makes for a great evening spot, thanks to innovative house cocktails and a generous wine list. Locals rave about the authentic tacos from the Latin Market, just $2 a pop and with everything from lengua to carnitas.
Mammoth Lakes offers a wide range of dinner options. Looking for an upscale dinner? Count on the modern Alpine-inspired dishes and atmosphere at Skadi. Surprisingly housed inside a bowling alley, Mammoth Rock Brasserie offers laid-back French finery. Or there’s Mammoth Tavern, a cozy gastropub serving classic comfort food turned up a notch. Try their fondue or roasted bone marrow and an elaborate specialty cocktail or keep it simple with an over-the-top burger and draft beer.
Thanks to its alpine location, it’s no surprise the winter fun available in Mammoth Lakes is practically endless. With an average of 400 inches of snow per year, Mammoth Mountain’s 150+ trails offer world class downhill skiing. Cross country skiers and snowshoers alike will love the 19 miles of groomed trails at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center. Looking for even more adventure? Mammoth Lakes is known for its excellent ice climbing locations, like Lee Vining Canyon. Or maybe you’re hoping for less adventure? Stay warm and unwind with a massage or facial at Double Eagle Spa or Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa.
If you’re visiting in the summer, there is still plenty of outdoor adventure to be had when the snow has melted. Hike to alpine meadows, mountain bike the Lower Rock Creek Trail, rock climb, fish for trout in the Upper Owens River, paddle a canoe around June Lake, or swim in Horseshoe Lake (heads up: this is the only lake that doesn’t provide drinking water and is therefore swimmable). Best of all, no matter your chosen activities, you’ll be guaranteed to witness the beautiful scenery of the Eastern Sierra.
Mammoth Lakes, California is ideal for families any time of year. Check out the kid-friendly ice climbing at Mammoth Mountain or ride the gondola for stunning 360° views. At the top you’ll even get history and geology lessons at the Eleven53 Interpretive Center (named for its elevation at 11,053 feet). For beginner skiers and boarders, families love nearby sister resort June Mountain’s less-crowded kid-friendly runs. McLeod Lake and Convict Lake Loop offer easy summer hikes for little legs. For a little quiet time, head to Booky Joint, a beloved independent bookstore with lots of books and toys for kiddos. Got picky eaters? Parents recommend Burgers Restaurant near the village for their kid-approved burgers (of course) and top notch milkshakes.
This article was written by Katie Vaughan.