Cross Country Skiing in Mammoth Lakes

There are some incredible options for Cross-Country skiing here in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern High Sierra. Your choices 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 will always be in the Mammoth Lakes Basin at the Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center.

As we get into winter, the snow levels and colder air moves into the lower elevations. That will give you many options for Cross-Country skiing beside the Tamarack Resort in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. 

Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing

First up is the Free Cross-Country trail system right here in town. You can park at the Mammoth Lakes Visitors Center, and the trailhead is located there.

There is a very nice snow grooming machine, and they can groom out the entire trail system each week for some great skiing when the snow levels and conditions are right. 

They groom out for the traditional and skating types of Cross Country Skiing.

To access the Mammoth Lakes Visitors Center parking area, head down Highway 203, about 1/4 mile below the Starbucks on Main Street. Take a left at the Visitors Center’s parking entrance.

Next up is the snow-covered road that is groomed to Minaret Vista. (4.9 kilometers Round Trip) 

The trailhead for this multi-use trail is accessed from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Main Lodge parking area. Park near the main lodge and grab the shuttle to the trailhead.

You also chose to ride the Mammoth Mountain red line in from town and then ski this route. The driver can show you how to access the trail above chair 11.

This trail is Highway 203 in the summer, making for a nice and wide Cross-Country ski run in the winter.

It is a multi-use trail with snowshoes, snowmobiles, and cross-country skiers sharing it. The first 1/3 mile of this trail is shared with Skiers and Snowboarders coming down an access trail.

We recommend you use the right-hand side of the trail as you head up the first 1/3 mile of the trail.

Once past the first 1/3 mile, you have a couple of miles of rolling terrain and then a short climb to the vista point.

This is a great place to get epic backcountry views of the Minarets, Ritter, and Banner. You also get a unique view of Mammoth Mountain from the vista.

Be prepared; this ridge is exposed to the wind and calm conditions can get windy quickly. Make sure you know what the daily forecast is.

The Inyo National Forest also has a complete winter trail system that you can use for FREE. They offer up what we call the Blue Diamond System. 

Mammoth Lakes Blue Diamond Cross Country Ski Trails

The trails outside the Shady Rest area are un-groomed and can offer great skiing when conditions are right. 

Since these trails are un-groomed, they can also get rutted and become icy. You want to use these trails after fresh snow has fallen.

Check with the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center for the most current report on these trails before you head out.

Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center
Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center

The Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center is located up at Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

This is your top choice for cross-country skiing in the local area and all of California.

You get 45 kilometers of groomed track and skating lanes that will make for a great day or an entire season of fun.

The lake’s basin is also known for its excellent snow conditions at 9000 feet and its epic views of the Mammoth Crest and beyond.

Check out the Tamarack Cross Country Ski Website for more details, maps, and what’s happening this week at the Ski Center.

Cross Country Skiing at Tamarack in the Mammoth Lakes Basin
Cross Country Skiing at Tamarack in the Mammoth Lakes Basin

 SKI TRAIL REGULATIONS: (From USFS Web Site) Dogs are not permitted on the Cross-Country Ski Center’s groomed trails or the Shady Rest Trail System.

A public use corridor exists on a portion of Lake Mary Road in the Lakes Basin, where dogs are permitted on a leash of not greater than 6 feet. Dogs may not be possessed by anyone skiing on a trail where dogs are prohibited, even if the dog is not walking directly on the trail.

Walking is prohibited on any Blue Diamond Trail. This prohibition exists from tree line to tree line in width along the length of the Blue Diamond Trail.

Snowshoeing is not permitted on the groomed trails of either the cross-country ski center or on the Shady Rest Trail System (Loops A, B, and C). This prohibition is also tree line to tree line.

Snowmobiles or any other motorized vehicle are prohibited on the groomed trails of either Cross-Country Ski Center or on any Blue Diamond Trail. Snowmobiles may cross Blue Diamond ski trails at the right angles to reach their destination. Certain areas may be closed to entry by snowmobile. Check the ‘Winter Recreation Map ‘for these areas.

Bicycles are prohibited on the groomed trails of either Cross-Country Ski Center and on all marked ski trails when there is sufficient snow for skiing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Mammoth Ranger Station 760-924-5500. Mono Lake Ranger District in Lee Vining 760-647-6525. White Mountain Ranger District in Bishop 760- 873-2500.