Things to Do in Mammoth Lakes & the Eastern Sierra

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022Happy Fall to You!

Up at Mammoth Mountain, the Mountain Bike Park, Scenic Rides and the Adventure Center are closed for the season. You can still get out on the hill for a Mountain Bike Ride or a Hike there is just no staff and lifts running.

The Fall Color Season: For those looking for Fall Colors, there are some peaking yellow willows and aspens out in the back meadow in Old Mammoth under Mammoth Rock and under the Mammoth Rock Trail.

You will also find the almost peaking yellow up at Rock Creek Lake and around the lodge. Lot’s of colors have popped out mid canyon with the lower section just turning.

Down in Bishop there are also signs of the show starting with yellowing starting in town and in the cottonwood forest.

Fall Hiking: This is the best time of year to hike with less crowded trails and great weather. You do need to be aware of the weather moving forward, any systems that do come thru now will be leaving snow above the 9000 foot level. Hiking up to Crystal Lake or MC Load Lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin is gorgeous. Also hiking up in the Rock Creek Canyon area right now is perfect and as the Fall colors come out it will be amazing in that area.

Fall Mountain Biking: Early Fall is a great time to ride in the Eastern Sierra. Peddle Laps in the bike park are fun as is riding through the Fall Colors in Lower Rock Creek Canyon. Check out out Mountain Bike Report page for the full details of where go Mountain Biking before the snow hits.

Footloose Sports Bike Shop: Stop  by Footloose Sports and check out the deals going on in the bike shop. They are still doing bike repairs and have some bike rentals out. Give them a call at 760-934-2400 for all the details.

Black Tie Adventure Rentals: Mammoth is a mecca for outdoor adventure and Black Tie is here to provide you with top-of-the-line equipment for wherever the trail takes you! Check
out the killer Summer / Fall Rentals these guys have going right now.

Here is the Link to their rental page. Check out the Black Tie Summer Adventure Rental Service – Use Code msnowBTAR22 for a 10% Discount

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.

Midtown Trail Views - Mammoth Mountain Bike Park
Midtown Trail Views – Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

Things To Do Now Ideas

September & October 2022

East Side Mountain Biking: Fall is a great time to ride in the Eastern Sierra with cooling temperatures and shorter days. Once the Fall colors arrive and be quite magical, especially on lower Rock Creek Trail. To learn more about where to mountain bike ride this Fall checks out the East Side Mountain Bike Report Page.

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. Once Fall hits the colors are just amazing as you stroll thru the meadow. 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 the 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.

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.

Things to Do During the Winter in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra

While most of you will be coming up to spend all your free daylight hours on Mammoth Mountain there are plenty of other things to do in the area during the winter months. I know many people that want to come up but are not interested in skiing and snowboarding. Here are a few ideas of what else there is to do.

Ice Skating: There are several options for ice skating in the Eastern Sierra. The Town of Mammoth Lakes runs an ice rink down in town right across from Mammoth High School on Meridian Blvd. The ice rink runs from Thanksgiving thru March and the ice is maintained several times a day.

During drier winters there are many open bodies of water that are also skate-able in the backcountry and at lower locations in the Eastern Sierra. A Google search will help you discover some of these hidden gems you can skate. Here is the link to learn more about ice skating in the area.

Scenic Gondola Rides: Taking a ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain is an amazing experience. The views are breathtaking as you ride up and beyond compare once 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. You will also get a chance to get a picture of the famous Mammoth Mountain Sign at 11,000 feet.

There is also an interpretative center with more information about the Eastern Sierra, Mammoth Mountain, and the mountain peaks you can see from the 11,000-foot level.

Snowmobiling: is a blast in the Mammoth area. However, the fun is dictated by how much snow we have. During years of average and above snowfall, the amount of riding you will find is amazing.

If you’re new to the sport you will want to take a 2-hour trip with Mammoth Snow Mobile adventures which is located out of the Main Lodge area. When there is ample snow there are miles and miles of riding on groomed-out services roads you can access.

Cross Country Skiing: There are some incredible options for Cross-Country skiing here in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern High Sierra. Your options and where to go will be determined by the weather, snow and the time of winter you come to Mammoth Lakes.

The best Cross Country Skiing is always going to be up in the Mammoth Lakes Basin at the Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center. As we get into winter the snow levels and colder air moves down into the lower elevations. That will give you lots of options for Cross-Country skiing beside the Tamarack Resort in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Sledding: The Snowman loves sledding and snow play with the Family in Mammoth Lakes. On storm days when the hill is mostly shut down, Sledding can keep you and your kids occupied for hours. Our family has come to love the sport of sledding so much that we design and build our own courses in the yard.

Personally, I think almost nothing beats a couple of hours of sledding out on the hills around your yard, the town, or in the hills of the Eastern Sierra with the family. Grab the kids, the helmets, and a variety of sleds, and get ready for some major fun.

Ice Skating: There are several options for ice skating in the Eastern Sierra. The Town of Mammoth Lakes runs an ice rink down in town right across from Mammoth High School on Meridian Blvd. The ice rink runs from Thanksgiving thru March and the ice is maintained several times a day.

During drier winters there are many open bodies of water that are also skate-able in the back country and at lower locations in the Eastern Sierra. A Google search will help you discover some of these hidden gems you can skate.

Hiking / Walking: Depending on what the snow levels are you will find some fun hiking / walking options during the winter months.

First off during the drier seasons, the Mammoth Lakes town trails system is a great option for a walk. The paved trails that start by the Blue park off of Old Mammoth Road are the best place to venture as it’s the most likely path to be free of snow and ice.

The second option is the Lower Rock Creek Trail about 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes just passed Toms places if you’re heading south of 395. This trail does hold ice and snow so be prepared even if the terrain around is snow-free.

Winter Mountain Biking: For the hearty soul that knows how to layer up for cold biking there are a ton of trails to ride during the winter months depending on what elevation the snow line is at.

Near Mammoth when the snow line is above 7500 feet there are tons of forest service roads you can ride. You will find all sorts of un-mapped single-track trails off of these services roads to explore.

Rock Creek Canyon is amazing for downhill action using two cars so you can shuttle back up from the bottom. During the winter you can ride back up the trail or use the road if you’re not able to shuttle, watch for ice on the road as it’s in the shade most of the winter months.

The Bishop area also has many trails you can ride during the winter months and the temperatures are more favorable than riding up in the high country. Do a Google search for trails in the Bishop area or stop by the local bike shop for information on where to ride.

Winter Fishing: The Owens River and the Hot Creek area are open during the winter months for fishing. Yes, it’s cold and your hands are going to get frozen so be prepared. Fishing the Owens River out of Bishop is my call for winter fishing.

Mill Pond Park & Disc Golf A great place to hang out just at the bottom of the Sherwin Grade. There is a full 18 hole disc golf course to keep you busy for hours. Got Kids? The park has a playground for energy output. Here is a link to the disc golf course map.

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. https://lawsmuseum.org/welcome-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. 

Ski Ya Later Snowman