Add this little-known Californian mountain destination to your travel bucket list

Mammoth Lakes is a stunning natural sanctuary just one hour’s flight from the bright lights of LA.

You may not have heard of Mammoth Lakes, but maybe that’s the best part about this secluded and picturesque Californian adventureland.

Located within the area of breathtaking Yosemite, in the Sierra Navada mountain range to the east of San Francisco, Mammoth Lakes is a quick 1-hour flight from Los Angeles.

And different to LA’s high-end shopping, star-studded streets, of-the-moment restaurants, clubs, and cool car rentals – Mammoth Lakes is a world of crystal clear air and outdoor adventure.

While it’s well known for its high energy ski season, typically boasting the most snow in North America come January, Mammoth Lakes in warmer months and outside of ski season is well worth a visit too. Here’s our guide to the greatest things to do during a Mammoth Lakes stay.

Hike in the Mammoth Lakes Basin

Mammoth offers trails for all abilities with countless rewarding, jaw-dropping views. The Crystal Lakes Trail will lead you to a vista of the alpine lake, while the Mammoth Rock Trail will show off sweeping mountain and valley views.

If you’re in for a challenge, try a mountaineering skills course. Various options are on offer from California Alpine Guides, Sierra Mountain Guides, and Sierra Mountaineering International.

Bathe in nature’s own baths

Mammoth Lakes is located on the edge of an ancient volcanic caldera where some 760,000 years ago, a massive volcano exploded, leaving behind a relatively flat basin. A lucky byproduct of this fiery past is the region’s network of natural hot springs.

Finding them may be a bit of a treasure hunt, but you can ask for directions from the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.  

Splash and swim in the sparkly, salty waters of Mono Lake

Mono Lake is an ancient salt lake, and is among the oldest lakes in North America. It's turquoise coloured waters, and alien-like tufa columns make it an utterly unique swimming spot, and one you simply have to see to believe.  

Explore the lake via kayak or canoe, the highly alkaline waters and high altitude desert climate make it a wonderland for rare birds, mammals, and strange-looking invertebrates. 



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Experience all the splendours of the Milky Way

There are many places to set up camp for the night in Mammoth Lakes - including popular Mammoth Lakes Basin or Reds Meadow Valley. Where ever you choose to stop for the night, the Eastern Sierra has little light polution. So, at night the sky will become a jewel box of stars, making it a prime place to stargaze.

The best time to tour the night sky is during the new moon (not the full moon, as it's glow typically outshines the rest of the heavens). Mammoth Lakes has a new moon calendar to help you pick your night right. 

Find out more about Mammoth Lakes here.

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