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Travel to Mammoth Lakes, California

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Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community.

Mammoth Lakes, spanning over thousands of acres of impressive terrain, offers more than enough outdoor exhilaration to keep you busy at any time of the year. One of California’s premier ski resorts and brimming with groomed trails and fishing spots, this an ideal destination for all kinds of mountain and water adventure.

There are so many reasons to visit Mammoth Lakes, not the least of which is its exquisite beauty, with clear blue skies and sprawling mountain peaks. You'll love the year-round adventure waiting for you at this popular California getaway! To help you make the most of your trip, our Xplore Team Expert, Hannah, has outlined a sample 3-day itinerary.

UNADULTERATED OUTDOORSY HEDONISM

If you’re the kind of person whose idea of a perfect holiday includes lazy lie-ins, early doors aperitifs and nights in the hotel streaming Netflix, you can stop reading now. If you’re coming to Mammoth Lakes, you’ll want to make the most of the great outdoors.

Perhaps top of Mammoth Lakes’ roster of summer outdoor activities is the Mammoth Bike Park. When the snow melts and the Californian sun starts to do its thing, Mammoth Mountain offers some of the best single track runs in the country. There’s 128 kilometres of track across 1416 hectares of alpine mountains; plenty for both wobbly beginners and death-wishers to enjoy.

For slightly slower-paced adventure, you can paddle board or kayak in one of the many lakes in the region (June and Mono Lakes being the most impressive and photogenic of the bunch), or go hiking through wildflower meadows and pine forests. Just keep half an eye out for the black bears and elusive mountain lions that roam these parts.

TO SIP BEER BREWED AT ALTITUDE

Based 2500m above sea level, the Mammoth Brewing Company ferments the highest altitude beers on the west coast. Founded in 1995, they use straight-from-the-mountain alpine water in the brewing process, and the resulting beers are lauded as being some of the best in Western America.

The supremely hoppy Epic IPA is our pick of their brews, although at 6.5% ABV you may want to start with a lighter option. The grassy and crisp Sierra Trout Pilsner is a solid alternative, named after the golden trout that is native to the Sierra Nevada mountain waters. For those staying off the hooch, the ultra-sweet root beer should do the job.

LET’S NOT FORGET THE WINTER FUN

Mammoth Lakes is, first-and-foremost, a place to carve up the snow. Over the long winter the top of Mammoth Mountain gets an average of nine metres of the white stuff.

Most people come here to ski or snowboard down imaginatively named pistes such as Gremlin’s Gulch, Wipeout Chutes and Paranoid Flats, but there’s always snowshoeing, snowmobiling or dog sledding if you’re up for trying something different.

YOU CAN VISIT A REAL LIFE GHOST TOWN

If you’ve ever read one of those ‘Spooky Abandoned Places’ lists online, there’s a good chance that it featured the gold mining town of Bodie – about 65 miles north of Mammoth Lakes.

In its heyday the town had a population of over 10,000, but about a century ago the gold industry began to dwindle and the locals left in their droves. Today, it is suspended in a state of arrested decay, with gold mines, banks and schools left just as they were in the early twentieth century.

The park rangers runs ghost walks on select nights, just in case the experience during the day wasn’t eerie enough for you.

TO WITNESS THE DEVILS POSTPILE

Ten miles or so from Mammoth Lakes, the Devils Postpile is one of 123 national monuments in the USA, and it’s well worth a visit. Judging by its uniform structure – each 18-metre column is an almost perfect hexagon – it’s hard to believe that this is a feat of nature and not man (or devil). But, alongside the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, this is one of the finest examples of columnar basalt in the world. Be sure to walk up to the top to get a close up look at the beautifully symmetrical patterns and the super smooth glacial polish.

While here, look out for the ubiquitous chipmunks, who will happily pose for your next Instagram post.