Recreation Report and the State of the Inyo
Lake Mary Photo By Danilo Chacon

Recreation Report and the State of the Inyo

8-17-2020 – Mammoth Lakes & Bishop California Recreation News

Happy Summer, it’s still a bit crowded here in Mammoth Lakes. If you’re coming up over this weekend I would expect more of the same. By next week mid weeks should back off big-time as kids go back to school across the state. 

Over the last decade as schools have moved to an earlier and earlier start the second half of August things really start to slow down up here at least during the mid-week. After Labor Day it will be much slower then we have seen over the last 7 weeks since Mammoth reopened.

Yesterday Mammoth Lakes announced that lodging will be reduced to 70% capacity moving forward and the is expect to last now through next April. This is the first action taken that is going to affect the next winter season at Mammoth Mountain. You can also expect some kind of a reservation system in place for Ski Area access next season. More updates soon…

Scenic Gondola Rides are open for the Summer, take a ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain and check out the view from 11,053 feet. There is also an Interpretive Center at the top of the Mountain so you can learn more about the Eastern Sierra. You can get tickets for the ride up to the top at the Adventure Center at the Main Lodge.

Via Ferrata || Mammoth’s Newest Adventure Challenge yourself with a guided climbing adventure on the rugged cliffs of Mammoth Mountain. Via Ferrata, which means “iron path,” is a network of climbing routes using steel cables, iron rungs, and suspended bridges fixed to the rock that climbers are attached to for safety.

With six different routes that progress in difficulty, Via Ferrata is the perfect alpine activity for families and individuals. Here is the link for the fine details and the map of the routes. 

Hiking Trails its mid-summer and every trail is open from Bishop Creek Canyon to June Lake at this time. If you need backpacking or hiking gear check out Mammoth Mountaineering and Supply Company in Mammoth Lakes. They have everything from hiking boots to tents and everything in between for a day hike or multi-day trip. You can reach them at  (760) 934-4191.

Fishing has been good this Summer, been reading lots of reports of big hookups down on Crowley Lake. If you have never fished that body of water it’s a must-do with a guide that can take you fly fishing. Do an internet search for local guides, there’s a bunch of them up here from Bishop to Mammoth.

Inyo National Forest Bike Trails are all open and in great at this time, yes it’s a bit dusty right now, but still a ton of fun out there. Try out the Knolls Trail for an early morning ride, the views from this ride are amazing. The Mountain View Trail is also a blast with insane views of the high country.

Disk Golf is up and running here in Mammoth Lakes. The course is built out at the Shady Rest Park in the area across the street from the playground. The course is well laid out and it has a full 18 holes that will take you a good couple hours to complete if you’re in a group of 4. 

If you need gear for around for disk golf, Footloose has created a whole new disk golf section. Here is the link to see the course and location map. 

Snow Creek Driving Range nothing like hitting a bucket of balls at the most scenic driving range in the country. They have modified the range a bit over the last couple of years but they are open and it’s worth it to relax, take in the view and try hitting some golf balls at 8000 feet. Of course, the Snow Creek Golf Course is open as well.

The State of the Inyo

Mono Lake Ranger District:

Roads open: Monitor Pass (Hwy 89), Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4), Sonora Pass (Hwy108), Bodie Rd. (Hwy 270), Lundy Lake Rd. Hwy 120 E (Benton), Hwy 158., Saddlebag Rd. Tioga Pass (Hwy 120 W) at Yosemite National Park Boundary is open to vehicular traffic w/ day-use reservation or proof of overnight accommodation in the park required.

Campgrounds open: Lundy Canyon (county), Tioga Lake, Junction, Saddlebag Lake, Sawmill Walk-in, Ellery Lake, Big Bend, Aspen, Moraine, Lower Lee Vining, Hartley, Glass Creek, Big Springs, Upper Deadman, Lower Deadman, Aerie Crag, Silver Lake, Reversed Creek, Gull Lake, June Lake, Oh Ridge.

Campgrounds closed: Saddlebag Lake Group. Obsidian Flat Group.

The Mono Basin Visitor Center is closed, but visitor questions are being answered via phone calls daily, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 760-647-3040  or 760- 647-3044.

Mammoth Ranger District

Roads open:

Reds Meadow Rd. (no shuttle this year—access limited to available parking, highly recommend horse trailers no more than 25’ in length), Lake Basin Rd., Mammoth Scenic Loop.

Campgrounds open Brown’s Owens River (private). Mammoth Mtn. RV Park, Old Shady Rest, New Shady Rest, Pine Glen Family, Sherwin Creek, Crowley (BLM, no water), Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake George, Pine City, Coldwater.

Campgrounds opening July 10: Reds Meadow, Agnew Meadows Family, Agnew Meadows Horse, Pumice Flat.

Campground estimated to opening July 13: Minaret Falls.

Campgrounds closed: Upper Soda Springs, Pumice Flat Group, Agnew Meadows Group.

The Mammoth Welcome Center is closed, but visitor questions are being answered via phone call daily, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 760-924-5500.

The Devils Postpile Ranger Station will not open this summer. There will be a public contact station outside the Ranger Station.

White Mountain Ranger District

Roads open: McGee Creek Rd., Rock Creek Road, Buttermilk Rd., Hwy 168, North Lake Rd., South Lake Rd. (construction underway, M – F, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, expect up to 30-minute delays, parking restrictions), White Mountain Rd. Silver Canyon Rd. (4×4-high clearance expect winter damage), Wyman Canyon Rd. (4×4-high clearance), Big Pine Canyon.

Campgrounds Open: Horton (BLM), Goodale (BLM).Convict LakeMcGee Creek, Tuff, Rock Creek, Iris Meadow, Big Meadow, Mosquito Flat Backpacker, Pine Grove, Upper Pine Grove,  East Fork, French Camp, Pleasant Valley (County), North Lake, Bitterbrush, Big Trees, Four Jeffrey, Sabrina, Baker Creek (County), Sage Flat, Upper Sage Flat, Big Pine Creek, Taboose Creek (County), Tinnemaha Creek (County).

Campgrounds closed: Holiday (summer closure),  Aspen Group, Palisade Group, Rock Creek Group, Pleasant Valley Pit (BLM), Forks, Intake 2, Bishop Park, Table Mountain Group, Willow, Mountain Glen, Bishop Park Group, Grandview, Cedar Flat Group, Clyde Glacier Group, Palisade Glacier Group.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center is closed.

The White Mountain Ranger Station Visitor Center is closed, but visitor questions are being answered via phone calls daily, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, the last call at 4:45 pm, 760-873-2500, 760-873-2501. 760-873-2503.

Mt Whitney Ranger District

Roads open: Onion Valley, Whitney Portal Rd., Foothill Road, Division Creek, Horseshoe Meadow.

Campgrounds open: Upper and Lower Grays Meadow, Onion Valley, Independence Creek (county), Whitney Portal, Whitney Portal Trailhead Campground  (partially open), Tuttle Creek (BLM), Lone Pine, Boulder Creek RV Resort (private), Portuguese Joe (county), Diaz Lake (County),  Cottonwood Lakes, Cottonwood Pass, Horseshoe Meadows Equestrian.

Campgrounds closed: Whitney Portal Group, Whitney Portal Trailhead Campground (partial closure due to rockfall), Kennedy Meadows.

The Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine is closed, but visitor questions are being answered via phone calls daily, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm the last call at 4:45 pm, 760-876-6200. 760-876-6222.

Virtual wilderness permits are being issued at all visitor centers and through the Wilderness Permit Office, daily from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 760-873-2483. Call volume has been significant, so if you have a permit later in the year, we advise waiting to call until your reservation gets closer.

Permits for day and overnight summits of Mt. Whitney will continue to be canceled until further notice (rockfall/evacuation).

 The Inyo National Forest and Bishop BLM Field Office are in Fire Restrictions.

Deb Schweizer Public Affairs Specialist Forest Service Inyo National Forest

Steve Taylor

Over the last 30+ years, Snowman has spent countless hours studying and learning about mammoth mountain weather and snow conditions first hand. Snowman started blogging this information back in 1990 on the old Mammoth BBS system, then the RSN Forums and then on to MammothSnowman.com in 2004 with his Video & Photo Blog reports.