Scenic Road Trips / Sightseeing

There are several day trips worth investigating. For starters, take a drive up the beautifully scenic Highway 120 to Yosemite National Park. The eastern entrance to the park at Tioga Pass opens mid-May depending on winter snowfall and is only 20 miles away from Mammoth. Mono Lake is another spectacular day trip to consider. Just off Highway 395 north of Mammoth, Mono Lake plays host to millions of migratory and nesting birds. Or visit a ghost town Bodie is a former California mining town, which had a population of about 20 until gold was discovered. Discover sightseeing in the Mammoth Lakes area. Devils Postpile National Monument, Hot Creek and Rainbow Falls are unsurpassed in their scenic, historic and geologic wonder.

Yosemite National Park / Tioga Pass - Full Day

A spectacular day trip, Yosemite National Park with the famous Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake, Half Dome, El Capitan, the beautiful waterfalls of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Only a 45 minute drive to the eastern gate (closed in the winter months). Take U.S. 395 north from Mammoth Lakes about 30 miles to Hwy. 120 West. Wind your way up Lee Vining Canyon to Tioga Pass (10,000 ft.). This is the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. Entrance fee required. A point of interest, located at the Mobile Gas Station, right off of U.S. 395 on Hwy 120 is the Whoa Nellie Deli. An unlikely setting for delicious cuisine overlooking beautiful Mono Lake.

Mono Lake

Mono Lake is a majestic body of salt water covering 60 square miles. It is an ancient lake over 700,000 years old and is 2 1/2 times saltier as seawater. Mono Lake sustains a unique biosphere where tiny brine shrimp and alkali flies provide food for millions of migrating birds. Mono Lake is also home to the unique tufa towers that have formed in the lake, making the landscape truly fascinating. The perfect way to learn about this fragile habitat is through the interactive displays at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, just just 20 miles south of Bodie, on U.S. 395 in the town of Lee Vining.

June Lake Loop

The June Lake Loop drive is approximately 15 miles of dramatic Sierra peaks, alpine scenery with a chain of gorgeous lakes, Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake & June Lake, all nestled in a steep horseshoe-shaped canyon. There is fishing, hiking, boating, horseback riding, camping, stores, restaurants and the Double Eagle Resort and Spa which is world class.The scenic loop begins 10 miles south of Mono Lake, off of U.S. 395. The road rejoins U.S. 395 as you head back to Mammoth Lakes.

Mammoth Lakes Basin

Glacier-carved lakes form the Mammoth Lakes Basin. Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Lake George and Horseshoe Lake are nestled below jagged peaks and pine forest. Easily accessible by car, the lakes are a favorite spot for picnics, day hikes, paddle boarding, kayaking, and fishing. Take Main Street - Lake Mary Road just 3 miles, ten minutes drive from the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Total driving tour will take 30 to 45 minutes. For more information call the California Welcome Center Mammoth Lakes.
Phone: 760-924-5500

Hot Creek Geologic Site

Hot Creek is a place to marvel at geology in action. What remains of the ancient Long Valley Caldera blast is a region of fascinating geologic wonder of bubbling hot springs, geysers and fumaroles (gas vents) creating colorful sulfur deposits and formations. The chamber of hot magma lies about three miles below the surface of the earth in this area. The brilliant pools are scalding hot and water temperatures can change rapidly, so entering and swimming in the water is prohibited. Restrooms are available.Located about 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off of U.S. 395. Take Airport Road (east) past the airport turnoff. You will pass the Fish Hatchery and continue on a partially paved road about 3 miles to the parking area for Hot Creek. ½ mile easy hike down to Hot Creek.

Hot Creek Fish Hatchery

The warm springs of Hot Creek provide ideal temperatures for incubation of trout eggs. The Fish Hatchery is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm for self guided tours. Available for interpretive tours by prior appointment. For more information call the Dept. of Fish and Game. Located about 6 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off of U. S. 395. Take Airport Road (east) past the airport turnoff. Look for the signs.
Phone: 760-934-2664

Reds Meadow Valley/Ansel Adams Wilderness Area: Half to Full Day

There is a mandatory shuttle and fee required into the Reds Meadow Valley. Pick up the shuttle at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center. The 32 year old shuttle system is in place to allow the Valley to recover from the intense use it received in the 1970`s and it has protected the area from additional degradation that would result from the high numbers of visitors and limited parking. In addition, the steep and narrow access road into the Valley would become a major traffic safety hazard during peak times of visitation without the shuttle. To support the shuttle the fee is charged. For more information call the California Welcome Center Mammoth Lakes.
Phone: 760-924-5500

Rainbow Falls

The San Joaquin River tumbles over an abrupt 101-foot lava ledge, sending rainbows of color into the mist. The best time to experience the rainbows is midday when the sun is the highest. You can walk another 3 miles past Devils Postpile to the Rainbow Falls trailhead. From there it is another 1.25 mile moderate hike from the Rainbow Falls trailhead to view the falls. For more information call the California Welcome Center Mammoth Lakes.
Phone: 760-924-5500

Minaret Vista

Approximately 2 miles up from Mammoth Mountain is the Minaret Vista with breathtaking views of the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness Areas. The jutting spires of the Minarets with Mount Ritter (13,157 ft) and Banner Peak (12,945 ft), the two tallest peaks in the range. The Minaret Vista is a popular spot for stargazing and during the summer months there are "Star Parties". Restrooms and picnic areas are available.

Convict Lake

Convict Lake is named after the result of an ambush encounter on September 17, 1871, where a group of inmates escaped from prison in Carson City and Sheriff George Hightower eventually caught up with the convicts and a shoot out took place. Robert Morrison a Benton Merchant, Mono Jim and other posse members encountered the convicts on the present Convict Creek. In the encounter Morrison and Mono Jim were killed and the convicts escaped to be captured later in Round Valley. The towering peak above the lake was re-named Mt. Morrison and the smaller one below it Mono Jim. Convict Lakes is popular with camping and fishing. Take a two-mile hike around the lake with views of the rugged mountain scenery with sheer cliffs and the oldest rocks in the Sierra Nevada Range. The Restaurant at Convict Lake is widely recognized as one of the finest restaurants in the Eastern Sierra offering sumptuous continental cuisine, an award winning wine list and a martini bar.
Location: Located 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off of U.S. 395 turn west on Convict Lake Road.