Even though Mammoth Lakes has less than 8,000 residents, our year-round tourist visitation means we have amazing events in every season for locals and visitors alike. Most weekends of the year have something fun going on, but I have a few personal favorites I recommend to anyone I talk to. Get these events on your calendar for the year to come!
If you haven’t been in Mammoth Lakes for the annual Pond Skim at Canyon Lodge before, plan to be here next year! This event is held on Canyon Lodge’s closing day (usually mid-April) and features 50 brave skiers and snowboarders trying to make it across a hundred-foot pond at the base of the ski run. Everyone who competes wears a costume, which makes the event even more fun. I’ve seen Santa, a T-Rex, Wonder Woman and everything in between. (Pond skim photo from Mammoth Mountain)
The Pamper Pedal is one of Mammoth Lakes’ most unique and fun events all year. Held in early June, this all-female bike ride goes from Mammoth Lakes to Bishop. This is a bike ride rather than a race, making it perfect for all ages and ability levels. The ride is put on by Eastside Velo, the local cycling club, and the men of the club serve as “man slaves” throughout the route helping with flat tires, mechanical issues and cold towel delivery at aid stations. The best part? The club picks a theme each year and everyone dresses up! Depending on the year, you may see tutus, flower crowns, or superhero costumes.
4th of July
Independence Day is such a fun time to be in Mammoth Lakes. Depending on the year, you might even be able to ski on the 4th of July! My other favorite holiday activities are the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, the Footloose Freedom Mile fun run, the parade, and the Pops in the Park concert. I’ve been in the parade many times with Javier on the Guide Dogs for the Blind – Bishop/Mammoth Lakes Puppy Raisers float. The whole town buzzes with fun summer energy on the 4th. It reminds me of my childhood old fashioned parades… true Americana!
I love going to the Mammoth VillageFest every July because it combines the best of both worlds… amazing food and amazing live music! Like most of the summer festivals in The Village at Mammoth, this festival is free to attend. At “the world’s highest rib cook-off,” local restaurants enter contests for the best ribs, chicken, chili and burger. You can sample ribs for $2-$3 per order. Keep an eye out around town for the trophies restaurants win at VillageFest.
Held every August, Mammoth Rocks is my favorite throwback weekend in Mammoth. This festival is free to attend and features classic rock tribute bands covering hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Local restaurants are the food vendors for this festival’s “Taste of the Sierra.” If you’re a classic rock fan, you can’t miss this festival!
Gran Fondo Fall Century
The Mammoth Gran Fondo is a bike race through the beautiful Mammoth Lakes area in early September. Three distances (102 miles, 70 miles and 42 miles) offer options for beginner, intermediate and advanced road bikers. 75 miles of the full route is closed to through traffic, so you can really soak in the mountain scenery. Even if you aren’t interested in signing up for the race, it’s fun to be in Mammoth Lakes during this otherwise quiet fall weekend. I recommend finding a good spot to cheer the riders on — they all start from The Village at Mammoth, so that’s a fun place!
Night of Lights
Photo from Mammoth Mountain
Every December Mammoth Mountain celebrates the beginning of the holiday season with an amazing light show. Night of Lights is usually held the second weekend in December. This free, family-friendly celebration features live music, a torchlight parade with many local kids, and a fun fireworks show. It’s held outdoors, so be sure to wear warm clothes and shoes, or spring for a paid ticket for the rooftop or indoor viewing area. It’s easiest to walk or take a bus to the Village and hop on the gondola up to Canyon Lodge.
Regardless of when you come to town, check Visit Mammoth’s events calendar to see what’s going on when you’re here.
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