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.

The early and late season you will want to be up in the Mammoth Lakes Basin at the Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center.

As we get into winter the snow level’s and colder air moves into the lower elevations. Giving you lots of option for Cross-Country skiing.

Let’s take a look at the many options you have for Cross-Country Skiing.

First up is the Free Cross-Country trail system we have right here in town.

You can park right at the Mammoth Lakes Visitors Center and the trail head is located right there.

On weekend’s they even have a host with hot chocolate and cookies awaiting your arrival.

Here is a basic map of the layout of trails you will find in the Shady Rest Area.

Mammoth Nordic is a nonprofit organization that has worked hard on the Shady Rest Trail System during the summer and winter.

They also received a grant and purchased a beautiful, Cross-Country trail grooming machine.

With this machine, they can groom out the entire trail system each morning before the ski day begins.

For Winter they groom out the free trial network on Saturday and Sunday morning’s at 6 am. 

So by 9 AM you have freshly groomed trails to ski on.

As you can see in the image to the left, they groom out for both the traditional and skating types of Cross Country Skiing.

To access the Mammoth Lakes Visitors Center parking area you want to head down hwy 203 about 1/4 mile below the Starbuck’s on Main Street.   

Take a left at the Visitors Center’s parking entrance.

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 trail head. 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 just above chair 11.

This trail is hwy 203 in the summer so it makes 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 the trail.  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 some epic backcountry view of the Minarets, Ritter, and Banner.  You also get a unique view of Mammoth Mountain from the vista.

Bring a lunch on a warm day and a camera for some great photo shots.  Be prepared; this ridge is exposed to the wind and calm conditions can get windy very quickly, so make sure you are prepared and 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.  The loops A, B, AND C are now a part of the blue diamond system that is groomed by Mammoth Nordic.

The trails outside the Shady Rest area are un-groomed and can offer up some 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.

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 a full season of fun.

The lake’s basin is also known for its great snow conditions at 9000 feet and it’s 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 up at the Ski Center.

SKI TRAIL REGULATIONS: ( From USFS Web Site) Dogs are 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.).

A public use corridor exists on a portion of the Lake Mary Road in the Lakes Basin where dogs are permitted when they are 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 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 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 and on any Blue Diamond Trail. Snowmobiles may cross Blue Diamond ski trails at 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.

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