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Have you ever encountered a Host at Mammoth Mountain? You might see them skiing, walking around, riding the bus or hanging out in the lodges in blue jackets with a bright neon yellow “i.” The goal of Mammoth Mountain’s Host program is to make the guest’s experience better. They can help you get where you need to go and offer suggestions to help you enjoy your vacation.

I work as a Host part-time as a way to share my love for Mammoth Lakes with others. As you’re starting to plan your next summer trip to Mammoth Lakes, here are my insider tips.

On your way into town, stop by the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.

Many visitors drive right by the Welcome Center, but it’s well worth a stop. The staff is made up of long-time locals who are a wealth of information on the best places to go hiking, biking, camping, etc. When I was new to town, I went by the Welcome Center and learned how to decipher the marks for off-road trails. I love exploring U.S. Forest Service land, so this was a huge help for me. As you’re driving into town, just look for signs for the Welcome Center on the right side of Highway 203.

When you’re on Mammoth Mountain, look for a Host.

Hosts are people who have lived here for a long time or spend most of their time in Mammoth Lakes. They come from a variety of backgrounds — some are even experienced naturalists. In the summer and winter, Hosts offer free guided hikes and tours to share information about local history and native plants and animals. In the summer, look for the Tour sign by the gondola at Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge. This tour will teach you a ton in an easy one-mile hike on the mountain.

Don’t miss the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

View of Twin Lakes from the Mammoth Lakes Basin

I’m always amazed how many winter visitors haven’t visited the Mammoth Lakes Basin! In the winter the road closes and you can only access it by foot, snowshoe or skis, but the Lakes Basin is truly stunning in the summer. In just a 5-minute drive from The Village at Mammoth, you’ll pass six beautiful alpine lakes. If you want to stretch your legs, a short hike will get you to dozens more lakes. One of my favorite walks in the Lakes Basin is between Lower and Upper Twin Lakes — cross the pedestrian bridge and check out the adorable chapel in the woods.

Use the free bus system to get around.

I probably wouldn’t take a bus in a big city, but in Mammoth Lakes, the bus system is free, safe and convenient. You can go almost anywhere in town totally for free. It shouldn’t be an insider tip, but I’m always amazed how few people know about our amazing public transportation. In the summer, buses run to Reds Meadow, the Mammoth Lakes Basin, Vons, Snowcreek and more. You can fly to Mammoth Lakes and get around just fine without a car.

Bring Fido with you.

A husky extends his paw into a clear alpine lake in Mammoth Lakes CA

Vacation means your dog stays home, right? Not necessarily if you’re coming to Mammoth Lakes! In addition to having endless hiking options, Mammoth has many dog-friendly restaurants and lodging options. Check out Visit Mammoth’s list of pet-friendly activities and TripAdvisor’s suggestions for bringing your pup with you. Insider tip… a trip to Mammoth Lakes with your dog isn’t complete without a stop at Tailwaggers. Be sure to get a homemade treat for your fur baby!

Dive into the history of Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra.

I know history doesn’t sound that exciting, but trust me: spending an afternoon exploring the history of Mammoth Lakes is actually pretty amazing. You can check out the old Mammoth Consolidated Mine in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, the historic Hayden Cabin right in town, and even a ski history exhibit (featuring old ski lifts, snow plows and gondolas) behind McCoy Station on Mammoth Mountain.

Take the scenic gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain.

You don’t need any mountaineering or wilderness skills to get to the top of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 feet. Buy a ticket for the scenic gondola ride at Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge Adventure Center and hop on to enjoy the ride to the top. Once you’re there, go inside Eleven53 to explore the interpretive center and talk with a Host. Insider tip: take a walk outside to the very far peak — the walk is less than half a mile and takes you to a scenic lookout where you can see the whole Mammoth Lakes Basin. If you’re extra adventurous, you can hike down, but for everyone else, head back to the gondola to enjoy the views on the ride down.

Hop on a bike to see the sights.

A view of the Mammoth Lakes green and red trolley pulling a bike trailer (taken through the trees in the Mammoth Lakes Basin)

You definitely know about skiing and hiking in Mammoth Lakes, but how about biking? There are miles and miles of well-maintained paved bike trails all around Mammoth Lakes. You can even bike from town up to the Mammoth Lakes Basin, but my suggestion is to make the bike ride even easier… Hop on the Lakes Basin Trolley with your bike in the Village (the trolley tows a bike trailer behind it). Enjoy the views on the way up, then cruise all the way back down to town. You can rent traditional bikes or e-bikes from several shops in town if you don’t bring your own.


What’s your favorite insider tip for Mammoth Lakes? Have you found any amazing hidden gems over the years?

Read more about what it’s like living in Mammoth Lakes.

Photos by Josh Wray for Visit Mammoth

Wouldn’t you know Mother Nature is still surprising us!

For a little while longer, you can still ski, fishing season is opening, and bike all the beautiful trails in and around Mammoth Lakes!

Scroll down this page to see all the events happening in May:

Weather Forecast for the remainder of the week:

Thursday Rain and snow showers likely, mainly after 11am. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming southeast in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Thursday Night Rain and snow showers likely before 11pm, then a chance of snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
Friday Snow showers likely. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Friday Night Snow showers likely. Some thunder is also possible. Cloudy, with a low around 33.
Saturday Snow showers likely before 11am, then rain and snow showers likely. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51.
Saturday Night Rain and snow showers likely. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35.
Sunday Rain and snow showers likely. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
Sunday Night A chance of rain and snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35.

For the most up-to-date snow information, visit:

Don’t forget to plan your Memorial Day activities in Mammoth.

See you around town!

More snow is coming! A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect Thursday morning thru Friday morning, with hopefully 1-2 feet of fresh powder on the hill. Mammoth Mountain has great conditions, for all you skiers and shredders, with 14 lifts currently running and about 80 trails of terrain available, including three Terrain Parks, with tons of fun features! Tamarack X-Country Ski Center is open, with 12-14km of groomed trails. June Mountain opens this Saturday, 12/12!


December 12
Projected Opening Day for June Mountain


December 12
Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Island Extravaganza


December 18-29
The Village at Mammoth Holiday Festivities


December 19
Night of Lights



Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Island Extravaganza

  • December 12, 2015
  • Times: 6pm-11pm
  • Admission: $70

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A Mardi Gras party like no other to benefit Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra  Tickets are $70.00 including dinner and a raffle ticket. Dinner, dancing, raffle, silent auction.

Projected Opening Day for June Mountain – June Lake

  • December 12, 2015

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Opening day ceremony, afternoon toast and bonfire at the Chalet.

Unbound Series: Rail Jam

  • December 13, 2015

Series events open to all ski/snowboarders of all levels and ages.

The Village at Mammoth Holiday Festivities

  • December 18, 2015 to December 31, 2015 (Recurring daily)
  • Recurring daily

December 18, 19, & 20 3:30pm – 5:30pm – Pictures and Christmas wishes with Santa and Woolly in Santa’s World, music by DJ Mash Up in the plaza, piano Christmas karaoke in the yard, and live ent…

Night of Lights

  • December 19, 2015
  • Times: 4:30pm – 8:00pm
  • Admission: Free

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Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with a one-of-a-kind evening at Canyon Lodge. A fun-filled night for all ages with live music, a firework show, torchlight parade and more. Event Schedule …

Sources: and


With over 100 lakes and streams, world-class trout fishing, miles of groomed hiking trails, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, golfing, camping, and home to one of the world’s largest ski resorts – Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes seems to have it all.

No matter the season, there is always some kind of outdoor activity to do, young or old.

With Fall upon us, Mammoth Lakes is just going to get more beautiful. I can’t wait for the changing leaf colors, the holiday lights that will soon start appearing, and all the skiers bundled up as they come and go from a day of skiing.

To see all the Fall Colors in their splendor, download’s fall color guide:

Scenic Tours
Take to the sky to photograph the fall colors from above on a scenic helicopter ride with SkyTime Helicopter Tours.

Yosemite National Park
Fall is the perfect time to visit neighboring Yosemite National Park to see the changing-leaves season, not often captured on camera. The Entrance to the park is only 45 minutes away and in the fall you’ll practically have the park to yourself. Please note: The Tioga Pass road entrance to the park (access from Mammoth Lakes) is open typically through October unless it’s an early snow year. Please check road conditions prior to arrival.

On the Web Updated fall color reports from across the state.
Fall Colors Within 30 Minutes of Mammoth Lakes

Here is a great article on fly fishing tips for fall:

Be sure to check out my Mammoth Lakes Resources page for links to everything from weather and visitor’s guides to upcoming events.

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