One thing’s for sure about Mammoth Lakes in the summer. There are seemingly unending things to do here. No matter your interests or ability level, our little Eastern Sierra mountain town has something for everyone. From sightseeing and adventuring to fishing and biking, here are 15 activities that will make this summer the best one yet. Be sure to check with the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center to see when certain areas, such as the Mammoth Lakes Basin, Reds Meadow, and the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, open for the summer, as the date changes each year based on snowfall.
- HIKE IN THE MAMMOTH LAKES BASIN
With countless trails, Mammoth Lakes is a top hiking destination. The region offers hikes for adventurers of all abilities, and the Mammoth Lakes Basin has quite a few trailheads. Hike the short but strenuous Crystal Lake Trail to see the alpine lake, or hike the Mammoth Rock Trail for mountain and valley views.
- RIDE THE MAMMOTH BIKE PARK
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park has more than 80-miles of singletrack for downhill and cross country mountain biking. Beginners will love the meandering Downtown Mountain Bike Trail, while more advanced riders will enjoy the fast descent from the summit on Off the Top bike park trail.
- GO ROAD BIKING
For great aerobic exercise and stunning scenery, explore the roads of the Eastern Sierra on your road bike. Benton Crossing Road (known locally as Green Church Road) is a popular spot for road biking year-round, but in the summer months, the ride to June Lake Loop is a favorite as well as the ride to Reds Meadow.
- GO BEER TASTING
Grabbing a local beer after a day of summer activities is a great way to unwind. Stop by Mammoth Brewing Company or Distant Brewing for a pint. Groups can take an afternoon to go brewery hopping with Eastern Sierra Brewery Tours to get a taste of three local breweries.
- GO BACKPACKING
The Ansel Adams and John Muir wilderness areas are in our backyard. There are endless miles of hiking trails and backcountry regions to explore. All you need is to pack up your gear, get a permit, and go backpacking. Take the Shadow Creek Trail to the Minarets for an overnight trip, or hike the John Muir Trail to Tuolumne Meadows.
- KAYAK AT LAKE MARY
Head up to Pokonobe Resort and Marina or the Lake Mary Marina and rent a kayak for a few hours. The water is generally calm and the views from the lake are stunning. Don’t forget a waterproof case for your camera.
- GO ROCK CLIMBING
Whether you’re a true first-timer or taking your climbing skills from the gym to the crag for the first time, Ground Up Climbing Guides offers visitors a chance to try out the sport on a guided trip. In addition to custom, guided climbing trips, Ground Up Climbing Guides offers camps and clinics for a variety of skill levels.
- SUP THE LAKES
Rent a stand-up paddleboard from one of the outdoor stores in town and take it up to the Lakes Basin to get on the water and enjoy the views. If you don’t have a truck to haul the board, try reserving one at the Pokonobe Marina.
- BOAT ON CONVICT LAKE
There is nothing more relaxing than chilling on a lake on a pontoon boat for an afternoon. Fill up a cooler with cold drinks and snacks, bring some fishing rods, and head down to Convict Lake for a lake cruise. Be sure to call in advance and reserve a boat.
- RIDE THE LAKES BASIN PATH
You don’t have to be an experienced bicyclist to enjoy the Lakes Basin Path. The paved downhill trail is popular among all ages and abilities. Take the free town trolley up to Horseshoe Lake with your bike and ride 5-miles all the way back down to the village.
- TRY A MOUNTAINEERING SKILLS COURSE
Learn how to use climb mountains in the Eastern Sierra with some of the world’s best guides. Courses cover alpine mountaineering skills, how to travel safely in the mountains, and climb peaks in the summer with. Various courses are offered by California Alpine Guides, Sierra Mountain Guides, and Sierra Mountaineering International throughout the year.
- GO HORSEBACK RIDING AT RAINBOW FALLS
The San Joaquin River plunges more than 100 feet at Rainbow Falls and the mist casts a stunning rainbow. A great way to see the waterfall is on horseback. Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station offer mule rides to the waterfall and longer rides to other popular destinations in the area. If you prefer to walk to the falls, the Rainbow Falls Trail is about 3-miles round trip.
- EXPLORE DEVILS POST PILE NATIONAL MONUMENT
See the 60-foot tall basalt columns that were formed when a cooling lava flow cracked the basalt. The hike to the Devils Postpile is a short and easy walk from the ranger’s station at the Devils Postpile Trailhead.
- SKATE AT VOLCOM BROTHERS SKATEPARK
The 40,000 square foot Volcom Brothers Skatepark features smooth concrete bowls, a giant cradle, a Burnside wall, lumps, humps, a love seat wall, and a lot of different transfers and trannies, too.
- VISIT THE MAMMOTH MUSEUM AT THE HAYDEN CABIN
Located near the creek at Mammoth Creek Park, the Hayden Cabin is a historical museum featuring mining history, local photography and paintings, and history exhibits from the region.
Author: Monica Prelle
About Author: Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica’s posts and, read more of her work at monicaprelle.com