Mammoth Lakes is thé place in California for winter sports. During the coldest months of the year, the place is filled with skiers, snowboarders and others seeking out snow.
But once the snow has melted, it’s also a really nice place to stay. The second-last night of our roadtrip, we spent the night at the Sierra Lodge. This hotel was really cozy with a great atmosphere so I can definitely recommend it. The man at the reception also have us a plenty of information on what the area had to offer which made us eager to discover it all.
Sadly, because it was still early May, the snow plows hadn’t been able to clear the entire area just yet. Many roads were still closed which immediately decreased our options. On the other side, this did also mean that the ski area was still open for winter sports. Unfortunately (again), we were a couple of minutes late to catch the last Gondola ride up to the higher ski area to see the snow scenery. I’ve never been to an actual ski area during winter, so I was quite disappointed that we missed out on this.
Nonetheless we still managed to spend our evening and early morning seeing some other lovely sights.
After the disappointment of not being able to go up the scenic gonola anymore (Last ride goes up at 4pm), we drove to the Hot Creek Geolocial Area. In Western California there are many regions with hot springs and small geysers; the most famous one being Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming). Since Yellowstone was a bit too far out of the way to include in our roadtrip, we were happy to at least see this small area of geysers.
The last part of the road to the geological area isn’t paved, but you don’t exactly need a high clearance car to get there. From the parking lot, it’s a short walk to the sighting area. The pools itself aren’t all that special, but in the scenery with the mountains, it was quite idyllic. Entrance is free.
Reluctantly I tore myself away from this gorgeous view, and we headed to Convict Lake. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, but it was a lovely place to just walk for a while. You can walk around the entire lake and there are many fishing opportunities. Once again, it’s mostly the bigger picture that makes it all really beautiful.
Aside from Convict Lake, Twin Lakes is also a really beautiful area for a quick stop.
After that, we drove back to the hotel for a quiet evening because the next day we would already be up and going by sunrise. We wanted to squeeze in Mono Lake before making our way to Yosemite National Park through the mountain tops.
Mono Lake is one of the oldest lakes in Northern-America and is about 180 square meters large. This soda lake is home to millions of birds and shrimps, but most famous for its tufas. Those are limestone towers formations . You can spot the most tufas in the South Tufa Area. There you can follow a trail through these odd looking formations. It’s quite a spectacular view and I really enjoyed our morning walk through this area. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on this. The trail starts right at the parking lot, and entrance to the area is $3 per adult (+16 years).
So while Mammoth Lakes may not be thé place to be outside winter-time, we still saw a few amazing places which had stunning sceneries. In my opinion, it’s the perfect place to spend the night right before of after visiting Yosemite National Park.