Have you booked your ski vacation yet? It’s time! My family visits Mammoth Lakes several times a year during both the winter and summer months. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful places in California.
Since 2003, we’ve rented private homes, stayed at the Westin Hotel, the Village Lodge and various condos in different parts of town. In 2011, we purchased a home in Mammoth Lakes and over the years we’ve learned how to enjoy the best Mammoth has to offer.
In this post, I will discuss our favorite 1) Winter activities 2) Lodging and 3) Restaurants in Mammoth Lakes.
Mammoth is about 330 miles from Los Angeles. We usually do the 5 hour drive but there are also 1 hr flights available from LAX a few times a day.
Skiing and Snow Boarding
Mammoth Mountain has more than 3,500 acres of ski-able terrain, serviced by 28 lifts, including 2 gondolas. The area has 3,100 ft of vertical, rising to an elevation of 11,053 ft.
The mountain has many large mogul runs. Mammoth Mountain operates one of the longest ski seasons in North America, which averages from November to June.
It’s been great for our family to come here since the kids were toddlers. We have great memories skiing as a family.
Now, the boys are both black diamond skiers along with their dad. They leave me way behind! We like to hang out by McCoy Station (close to top of mountain) as it feels less crowded compared to Canyon or Main Lodge.
Snow Shoeing and Cross Country Skiing
Starting November, Lake Mary Road (which leads up the Mountain) closes off by Twin Lakes and Tamarack Lodge. Snow shoe and Cross Country Ski trails start here and go on for miles. They are both a great work out! Tamarack Lodge has cross country ski and snow shoe rentals available.
Woolly’s Tube Park & Snow Play Area is located on Minaret Road (Hwy 203) approximately halfway between The Village at Mammoth and Main Lodge. Prices are $29-$34 for 1.15 min.
You can catch a complimentary ride on the Red Line shuttle bus by the Village and get dropped off right in front of the tube park. Buses depart every 20 minutes.
Trip Advisor has many reviews on the Hot Springs. To get to the springs, take 395 toward the Hatchery on School/Hatchery Road. Pass the Hatchery and you will see signs. There is designated parking near a set of stairs which will lead you down to the water.
Note: Enter at your own risk. You can get burned easily and need to test different sections of the water before entering. Usually, the safe area is easily identifiable as there are others enjoying the springs.
The Volcom Skate Park is off Main St on Meridian Blvd. It is a 40,000 sq foot concrete park with pool-style bowls, various pipes, ledges & rails. My kids love it there and can spend hours on their skateboards and scooters while my husband and I run on the adjacent trails overlooking Mammoth Vista.
Where to Stay
Mammoth Lakes has strict home rental restrictions which many homeowners try to get around. My experience with renting homes in Mammoth vs. Condos: they are generally not kept up as well since owners don’t visit often. And while it is nice to stay in a larger home with pretty views of the mountains, there are very few homes within walking distance to the slopes.
I think for visitors, the best place to stay is in the Village Lodges. Three buildings (Lincoln House, Grand Sierra and White Mountain) which surround the shops and restaurants at the Village. A great feature of the lodges is the large pool and hot tub that sits at the center of the buildings. There is also a gondola at the Village which will take you directly to Canyon Lodge and the ski lifts. The Village Lodges have studio, 1 br, 2-3 br condos which have stocked kitchens. For families, the efficiency of this location is worth the money.
For smaller parties, the Westin Hotel is a good option. It is just across from the Village and also very convenient. The Westin has its own outdoor pool and 2 hot tubs. The hotel is maintained well.
A few miles from the Village near Eagle Lodge is Juniper Springs. They have condo rentals which are very convenient to the lifts at Eagle Lodge. I have not stayed at these condos but have friends who enjoy staying here away from the crowds at the Village.
Open 7am to 2pm in the city of Lone Pine (2 hrs south of Mammoth), this place is delicious. They have the best baked goods and their pie is out of this world. When we visit, I buy a loaf of their fresh white bread to take to Mammoth. I wish they were open later than 2pm! There is usually a wait, so try to visit on off hours.
Lake Front Restaurant (Tamarack Lodge)
53 Kitchen & Cocktails (Village)
The Stove (Old Mammoth)
Mammoth lodging during ski season tends to book up quickly. If you are thinking about visiting, make your plans soon! Sometimes Costco has 3 days for the price of 2 type specials you can purchase before getting to the mountain. If you go, I hope you love it as much as I do!
Here is a video of our weekend trip in October 2017- We love visiting in the fall!