Things to Do in Mammoth Lakes & the Eastern Sierra

Winter Activities

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.

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. Here is the link to the scenic ride information page.

Snowmobiling: This is a blast just outside of Mammoth Lakes. 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 Mountain 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. Here is a link to learn some good locations for sledding in Mammoth Lakes.

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.

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.

Rock Creek Canyon Snow Park:3 miles up from Toms Place there is parking for access to snow play up in Rock Creek Canyon.

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.

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 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