Looking for a getaway with a variety of attractions and breathtaking views year-round? It’s hard to find a better destination than Mammoth Lakes, California. Situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mammoth Lakes area offers amazing displays of Mother Nature’s handiwork, such as Mammoth Mountain and Rainbow Falls. Book a stay at one of many incredible Mammoth Lakes vacation rentals today. Whether your family enjoys skiing, hiking, or sightseeing, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. Jump-start your vacation planning with these top 15 ideas for fun and adventure in the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes.
1. Hike to Inyo Craters
Book a tour with Yosemite Tours for a family-friendly 0.7-mile hike from the parking area of Inyo Craters, through the forest, and to the crater at the end of this amazing chain of cone-shaped stone landforms in Mammoth Lakes. More than 600 years ago, natural underground steam explosions formed these 200-foot-deep craters that may remind you of the moon’s landscape, but they are surrounded by forests and wildlife.
2. View the Signature Skyline of the Minaret Vista
Have a meal at the Mammoth Mountain Inn, and then hit the trail behind the inn for a 1.2-mile hike on the Minaret Vista Trail to the Minaret Vista. There you’ll see breathtaking views of the colors, textures, and shapes of the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains. You may have seen classic photos of the Minaret Range’s jagged peaks, but this is your chance to see it live. Not feeling energetic? Drive about seven minutes west on State Highway 20 from downtown Mammoth Lakes to the viewing point.
3. Explore the Old Mammoth Consolidated Mining Camp
Explore the ghost town that was the Mammoth Consolidated Mining Camp during the late 1920s to early 1930s. Time-weathered log and clapboard cabins, where the gold miners lived, are tucked in the mountainside of Mammoth Lakes Basin with their old mining equipment nearby. Run by the U.S. Forest Service, this site is one of Mammoth Lakes’ popular attractions, giving your family a look at life out west in an earlier century.
4. Take a Mammoth Lakes Sky Tour
See the wonders of Mammoth Lakes from the air in a helicopter. SkyTime Helicopter Air Tours feature Robinson R66Turbine helicopters for high-altitude performance. They can carry up to four passengers for the flight of a lifetime, a sightseeing tour over the Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite areas.
5. Visit Mammoth Brewing Company
Mammoth Brewing Company has been brewing beers and winning awards since 1995. Tour their Mammoth Lakes brewery, tasting room, and beer garden at the corner of Main Street and Minaret Road. Children and non-drinkers can enjoy the company’s Imperial Root Beer and other non-alcoholic offerings. Friendly, well-mannered dogs are welcome in the beer garden.
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6. Try Cross-Country Skiing With a Rental From Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center
When you are ready for a cool adventure, try cross-country skiing with equipment and help from Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center in the Mammoth Lakes Basin next to Twin Lakes and Tamarack Lodge. The center offers more than 20 miles of groomed trails past Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, and Horseshoe Lake. Beginners and experienced skiers enjoy the trails and views, and lessons are available.
7. Learn at the Eleven53 Interpretive Center
The Eleven53 Interpretive Center sits on the side of Mammoth Mountain, more than two miles above sea level, and provides history along with amazing 360-degree views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada range. The center’s full-length glass walls allow easy viewing from all vantage points. Located in the Mammoth Mountain Resort, the handicapped-accessible center is just minutes away from downtown Mammoth Lakes by car or free trolley.
8. Ride a Bike at Mammoth Mountain Bike Park
Bring your own mountain bikes or rent them at the park for a fun ride at Mammoth Mountain Bike Park in Mammoth Lakes. From kids to seniors, every skill level enjoys the 3,500 acres and more than 80 miles of single track this park offers. Sign up for group or private riding lessons, take an area tour, or do your own thing at this premier adventure park that’s on lists of favorite vacation attractions.
9. Enjoy a Gondola Ride and Eat at Eleven53 Cafe
Go up to the summit of Mammoth Mountain in a gondola, a scenic and exciting trip. Take pictures at the top, and then have a bite to eat at the Eleven53 Cafe while enjoying spectacular mountain views. You can hike back down, or take the return trip on the gondola. Two children under 12 ride free with a paying adult, and entrance to the Interpretive Center is free with a paid ride.
10. Learn History at Mammoth Museum at the Hayden Cabin
Mammoth Museum at the Hayden Cabin in Mammoth Lakes is a historic log cabin that was a hunting and fishing lodge for miners. The museum features exhibits, photos, mining tools, and memorabilia from the area’s early mining years. Area mapmaker Emmet Hayden built the cabin in the 1920s.
11. Enjoy Local Art at the Mono Arts Council Gallery
Get a flavor of the local art scene by strolling through the Mono Arts Council Gallery in Mammoth Lakes. The gallery features more than 70 artists in the area, including photographers, sculptors, and soap-makers. Works are available for sale and make great gifts for folks back home.
12. Try Down-Hill Skiing With a Rental From Black Tie Ski Rentals of Mammoth
A winter vacation at Mammoth Lakes wouldn’t be complete without downhill skiing, and Black Tie Ski Rentals of Mammoth makes it easy. They have all the gear you need and will bring it to you. Receive personalized fitting in the comfort of your vacation rental and be ready to hit the slopes.
13. Go Fly Fishing with Mammoth Adventures Fly Fishing
The Eastern Sierra region is known as a great fishing destination, so don’t miss a fly fishing adventure at Mammoth Lakes with Mammoth Adventures Fly Fishing. Take a half-day trip or full-day trip that includes lunch, and try to catch fish such as rainbow trout, Sacramento perch, or smallmouth bass.
14. Swim at Whitmore Pool and Snowcreek Athletic Club
Put swimming on your list of vacation activities at Mammoth Lakes, and during the summer months, head to Whitmore Pool, located off Benton Crossing Road about a mile from U.S. Highway 395. In addition to enjoying a six-lane, 25-meter pool and a children’s wading pool, you get a 360-degree view of the Eastern Sierra. After your swim, take a hot shower, relax on the lawn area, and grab some snacks from the vending machine. You and the family can also swim at Snowcreek Athletic Club indoors all year round, and outdoors in season.
15. Ride a Horse to Rainbow Falls
See the sights of Rainbow Falls and the San Joaquin River on horseback with Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station in Mammoth Lakes. This family-friendly business has given guided trail tours of the area since 1934. Release your inner cowboy with this two-hour adventure.
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