Recreation Report - What to Do - What's Open

July 5th, 2024 – The Summer Season is in full swing now and everything is 100% open. As of now, the Air Quality is great and the weather is on the cool side, perfect for some hiking, biking, and just relaxing.

The Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is open to the Summit now with off-the-top and skid marks open. Below that most of the mid-mountain trails are open, they have just a few left to clean up and rebuild to be 100% open.

If you’re looking for a Summertime swim head up to June Lake Beach for some fun, do beware that it gets windy each afternoon at that beach. The beach at Horseshoe Lake is wide open, it’s a bit cool at 9000 feet, but at least the beach side is protected from the wind and in direct sun.

Hiking is now wide open, with day hikes and the backcountry fully open. Try a hike out of Mesquite flats at the top of Rock Creek Canyon. The Crystal Lake hike in the Mammoth Lakes Basin is also just gorgeous right now. If you’re looking for a long day hike try the Duck Lake Pass out and back hike.

The local hot tip for hiking is to go early, late birds will find most parking areas already full by 8 AM now that the peak season is here.

The fishing season has been strong for those who know where to go and how to fish during lean times. Why do I say lean, there continue to be hatchery issues so fewer fish are getting stocked this Summer. 

My advice if you want to fish is to hire a guide, when Snowman does go fishing that’s the MO, tag along with somebody who can get you some hookups under the current conditions.

Camping is full up on the weekends with most mid-weeks full right now as well. Make sure to check campground status before you come up or be prepared to bunk dock until you can secure a spot.

Snowman

*Please Note: Fire Restrictions are up now until the first snows come in the Fall. No Campfires or BBQs (even with a permit) outside of hosted campgrounds. You can still use a propane stove outside of the developed campgrounds.

If you’re in the area and happen to see smoke please call 911 and report it without hesitation. There have already been 2 close calls right near Mammoth Lakes that got put out due to spotters seeing smoke early on.

Sponsor Plug:  Check out the Black Tie Summer Adventure Rental Service – Used Code msnowBTAR22 for a 10% Discount – Here is the link.

Upper Rock Creek - Photo Shannon Taylor
7-1-22 Rock Creek - Photo Shannon Taylor

Roads & Campgrounds Open / Closed

State of the Inyo
June 30, 2022

Inyo National Forest is currently in fire restrictions

Mono Lake Ranger District

Roads OPEN:

  • Saddlebag Road
  • Tioga Pass (120 West). Reservation required. Visit the park’s website for more information.
  • Ebbetts Pass (HWY 4), Sonora Pass (HWY 108), Monitor Pass, Lundy Lake Rd, HWY 120 E (Benton), HWY 158 June Lake Loop, Bodie Road (SR 270), HWY 120 W 11 miles west of Hwy 395

Roads CLOSED: None

Campgrounds OPEN:

Big Bend, Sawmill Walk-In, Saddlebag Lake Trailhead Group, Saddlebag Lake, Upper and Lower Deadman, Tioga Lake, Junction, Ellery Lake, Moraine, Aspen, Big Springs, Hartley Springs, Reversed Creek, Lundy Canyon (County), Silver Lake*, Gull Lake, Oh! Ridge, June Lake, Aerie Crag, Glass Creek, Lower Lee Vining

*Please note: Construction at Silver Lake Boat Launch may affect those camping in Silver Lake Campground, including potential noise.

Campgrounds CLOSED: Obsidian Flat Group

Visitor Centers:

  • Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center: please call ahead to find out if passes and permit sales are possible
    • July 4 holiday hours: 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM
    • Regular Operating hours: Thursday-Sunday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Mammoth Ranger District

Roads OPEN:

  • Reds Meadow (HWY 203) opens Friday, June 17.
    • Minaret Vista Lookout is also open.
  • Mammoth Scenic Loop
  • Old Mammoth Road to Lakes Basin Road
  • Lakes Basin Road

Roads CLOSED: NONE

Campgrounds OPEN:
Minaret Falls, Upper Soda Springs, Reds Meadow, Pine City, Lake Mary, Lake George, Coldwater, Twin Lakes, Old Shady Rest, Pine Glen Group, Sherwin Creek, New Shady Rest, Mammoth Mtn. RV Park (private), Crowley (BLM).

Campgrounds CLOSED (scheduled to open on July 8):
Agnew Meadows Horse, Agnew Meadows Group, Pumice Flat Group

Visitor Centers:

  • Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center:
    • Hours: every day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Devils Postpile Ranger Station (NPS)

*** Please Note: Laurel Mountain Trail (28E201) south of Sherwin Creek Road near Mammoth Lakes has severe wash outs. Please refrain from driving on the trail.***

White Mountain Ranger District

Roads OPEN:

Rock Creek, Hwy 168, North Lake Rd., Sabrina Rd., South Lake Rd., Glacier Rd. (Big Pine Creek), McGee Creek Rd., Pine Creek, Buttermilk Rd., White Mountain Rd. (not maintained in winter, travel at own risk), Silver Canyon Rd. (4×4-high clearance), Wyman Canyon Rd. (4×4-high clearance), Big Pine Canyon to upper lot.

Roads CLOSED: none

Campgrounds OPEN:
Table Mountain Group, Mosquito Flat Backpacker, Rock Creek, Rock Creek Group, Upper Pine Grove, Pine Grove, East Fork, Palisade Group, North Lake (no water), Sabrina (no water), Willow, Bishop Park Group, Mountain Glen, Clyde Glacier Group, Palisade Glacier Group, Intake 2 (Upper area has no water), Big Meadow, Iris Meadow, Aspen Group, Holiday, McGee Creek, Tuff, French Camp, Convict Lake, Big Pine Creek, Big Trees, Four Jeffrey, Forks, Bishop Park, Upper Sage Flat, Lower Sage Flat, Pleasant Valley (County), Horton (BLM), Pleasant Valley Pit (BLM, no water), Grandview (winter ops, no services, no fees), Bitterbrush, Baker Creek (County), Taboose Creek (County), Tinnemaha Creek (County), Goodale (BLM, no water), Cedar Flat Group.

Campgrounds CLOSED: none

Visitor Centers:

  • Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center:
    • Hours: Thursday through Sunday 10am – 4:45 pm
  • White Mountain Public Lands Information Center: opened on May 24
    • Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sun + Mon) Hours: 8:30 – 4:30 (closed for lunch 12 -1pm)

Mt Whitney Ranger District

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

Road CLOSED: none

Campgrounds OPEN: Kennedy Meadows (no services), Cottonwood Lakes, Cottonwood Pass, Horseshoe Meadow Equestrian, Onion Valley, Whitney Portal, Whitney Portal Trailhead Campground, Whitney Portal Group, Lower Grays Meadow (no potable water), Upper Grays Meadow (no potable water), Independence Creek (county), Tuttle Creek, Portuguese Joe (county), Diaz Lake (County), Lone Pine

Campgrounds CLOSED: none

Visitor Centers:

Eastern Sierra Visitor Center: open with limited services

What To Do Now Ideas

What you see below are some of the fun things that our Family has been doing over the last 30 years of living in the Eastern Sierra.

Our goal here is to help you have a great adventure the next time your up in the Eastern Sierra. Snowman…

East Side Mountain Biking: From the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park to the Inyo National Forest to Ride on BLM land there is something for everyone to ride.

To learn more about where to ride right now check out the East Side Mountain Bike Report Page.

Scenic Gondola Rides: “Open For Summer Starting On June 17th” Taking a ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain is an amazing experience. The views are breathtaking as you ride up and beyond compared to when you’re standing at the top.

Once you reach the top station you will have a 360 degrees view of the Eastern Sierra and the Sierra Nevada Range. Here is the link to learn more and get your ticket for your ride up.

Mammoth Earthquake Fault: A 2-mile drive up highway 203 from the Village at Mammoth. This is a great little side adventure to see a deep fault line up close. During big snowfall years, there will be snow in the fault into September. Here is the link to more information.

Minaret Vista: As a local, I drive up here weekly during the Summer and Fall months, the view is gorgeous and you get a great view over to the west side of the Sierra. The Vista is 2 miles past the Main Lodge at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Here is the link to more information.

Fishing: There is so much to fish in this region you can spend several years and still not cover it all. We find the best fishing is out on Crowley Lake fly fishing with midges.

You can learn more about some of our favorite areas to fish at this link.

Mammoth Lakes Paved Trail System: One of the best improvements ever done in Mammoth Lakes is these fantastic paved Trails. My family and I have used them almost daily for years. You will find great views and some forested sections on these trails.

Try the Mammoth Lakes Basin Path that starts at the Mammoth Brewing Company in town and finishes at Horseshoe Lake. In the Summer months, there is a shuttle that will take you to the top of this path and then you can walk or ride your bike the 4 miles back to town. Link to more information

Snowcreek Meadow: Just off of Old Mammoth Road on Minaret Road is the entrance to this walk-only Meadow. You will find this is a great chance to walk through a wetland area. During the late spring into the Summer months, you will find tons of wildflowers in this area. Do watch your step this is a wetland area so there is mud at times along the trails. Link to more information

Hiking: All trails are now open up into the backcountry. Use the USFS Interactive Map here to find trails in the Inyo Forest.

Rock Creek Canyon: This is a four-season wonderland with plenty of Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Mountain Biking, and Boating during the Summer. You will some amazing photos from Upper Rock Creek Canyon at this link.

June Lake Loop if you’re coming up to the Eastern Sierra, make sure you plan a day on the June Lake Loop. We like to start our day with a morning on June Lake Beach. During the am hours winds are calm and there are not a lot of people around until around noon.

At noon you can head down the loop and fish Rush Creek. There are lots of places to pull off the road so you can access and fish the creek.  After some time fishing if you head north on the loop you will get some great views of the Canyon and eventually Grant Lake. You can learn more about the loop at this link.

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center: This is a must-see on any Summer trip up to the Eastern Sierra. There is a museum along with some great views of Mono Lake. Here is the link to learn more.

Shady Rest Disc Golf Course: A full 18-hole disc golf course right in a Jeffery Pine Forest next to the Shady Rest Campground and Park. This is a great course and takes about 2 – 1/2 hours to play the entire course out. It does get hot mid-day during the summer so bring a hat, and lots of water.

Here is the link to get more information.

Mill Pond Disc Golf & Picnic Area: Has a great disk golf course and picnic area. There is also a nice Browns Town Camp Ground located on the property. Mill Pond is located about 4 miles from the bottom of the Sherwin Grade.

Here is the link to more information on the Mill Pond Recreation area.

Laws Rail Road Museum: I recommend everyone who comes up to the Eastern Sierra to experience this unique museum setting. You’ll find 11 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits including the original depot and steam locomotive the Slim Princess. Experience what life was like over 100 years ago in the Owens Valley. Here is the link to the Laws Rail Road Museum

Bishop City Park: Over the years we have spent many hours down at Bishop City Park enjoying the warmer climate and being out of the snow. This is a great place to have lunch and let the kids out to play without all the snow in Mammoth Lakes.

You will see many Mammoth locals down here during the winter months trying to get a taste of winter below the snowline. Here is the link to Bishop City Park Page.

Fish Hatchery: You will find the Hot Creek Hatchery on the way to Hot Creek on Airport road about 5 mins south of Mammoth once you get on 395. Link to more information.

Hayden Cabin: Great photos and artifacts that tell the story of Mammoth. Here is the link to learn more.

Mammoth Consolidated Mine: Located just above the cold water campground this is an old mining camp or what’s left of it. Take 30 minutes and check it out when you’re in the Lake Basin. Link to more information.
Mammoth Creek - 5-23-2022
Mammoth Creek by Twin Lakes - May 2022