Winter in Mammoth Lakes: My Recommendations

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.

Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge

Main Lodge (one of 4 Lodges where lifts originate)- Others are Canyon, Eagle, Mill

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.

Winter Sports

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.

Mammoth Lakes Mountain Top

Top of Mammoth Mountain – On the way to the Eagle Lodge side. Views at top are breath-taking.

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.

Mammoth Lakes Mammoth Mountain skiing

It’s been great for our family to come here since the kids were toddlers. We have great memories skiing as a family.

mammoth lakes skiing

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.

Mammoth lakes Mountain Mill

November ’16 Mill Lodge Lift

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.

Mammoth Mountain Snow Shoeing

Dave snowshoeing

Tube Park

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.

Hot Springs

My family and I love the Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes. The Hot Creek Geological Site is located near the Hatchery off of 395 highway.

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.

Mammoth Mountain Hatchery Road

Drive on Hatchery Road from 395 to Hot Springs. Isn’t it beautiful? Deer everywhere.

mammoth lakes hot springs

My family spent about 2 hours in the springs!

mammoth lakes hot springs

Warning signs at the entrance of the site.

mammoth lakes hot springs

Do you see the turquoise water? Scalding hot!

Skate Park

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.

Mammoth Lakes Volcom Skate Park Mammoth Lakes Volcom Skate Park

mammoth lakes biking

Running/walking/biking path by Skate Park: Once snow covers this area, it will become trail for hiking/snow shoeing/cross country skiing.

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. The most convenient Mammoth Lakes lodging is as follows:

Village Lodge

mammoth lakes village-lodge


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.

The Westin



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.

Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs Source:

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.

Best Restaurants

Alabama Hills (in LonePine on way to Mammoth Lakes from LA)

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.


They have the BEST pie!


Location is easy to miss on its side street location.


Diner is small in space.

Lake Front Restaurant (Tamarack Lodge)

Mammoth Lakes Tamarack Lodge

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at the restaurant this year and everything tasted perfect.

Mammoth Mountain Lakefront restaurant short rib

Aged Short Ribs

Mammoth Mountain Lakefront Restaurant Dining Room

Dining Room overlooking Twin Lakes

Campo (Village)

Mammoth Mountain Campo

Margherita Pizza is delicious.

Mammoth Mountain Campo Mushroom Risotto

Campo Mushroom Rissotto

53 Kitchen & Cocktails (Village)

Mammoth Lakes 53 Kitchen & Cocktails

Happy Hour from 3-5 – $2 sliders, $3 fries, $5 soft pretzel w cheese sauce. yuuuum!

Mammoth Lakes 53 Kitchen & Cocktails happy hour

Scotch Happy Camper and Chili Vodka Hot Mess.

Toomey’s (Village)


Lobster Taquitos are my favorite. But I feel this place is a bit pricey. Although there is some dine in seating, it is mostly a take out place.

The Stove (Old Mammoth)

Mammoth Lakes the stove

Diner on Old Mammoth Road across from Vons shopping center. Source:

Mammoth Lakes Stove biscuits

Fresh baked biscuits are divine. Source:

Mammoth Lakes The Stove Cinnamon French Toast

Cinnamon French Toast is so good. Source:

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!

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.