Small Secrets for a Mammoth Adventure
I had never been to the West Coast, so when I had the opportunity to visit Mammoth Lakes, California, I knew it would be the adventure of a lifetime. My traveling companion (and best friend), Perri and I packed our bags for the end of October and we were ready for anything.
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Now that we’ve returned we are self-proclaimed experts and have a few tricks and secrets that will help make your next visit to Mammoth all that you’ve imaged…
Pack for All Types of Weather
Mammoth Lakes at the end of October means experiencing some very bipolar weather: You’ll have a gorgeous, sunny, 65-degree day and then blustery winds and a bit of snow when the sun goes down. Coming from the East coast, I was avid about keeping my luggage strictly carry-on, so I layered up in a flannel, sweater, vest, and boots for the plane ride in. I definitely got some strange looks during my layover at LAX, but I was able to conserve suitcase space so I could pack for all weather conditions.
Talk to the Locals
No one knows the area better than the locals. We spent an hour chatting with the woman who owns the Village’s leather shop and she gave us great tips to find “off-the-map” hot springs, which bar has the best happy hour, and why she left Palm Springs to move to Mammoth Lakes (and she wouldn’t ever dream of leaving). Not only do you get the best kept local secrets, but you get to truly see why Mammoth is such a favorite.
The Drive is Worth It
In the Sierra Mountains, everything is spread out by peaks and valleys. Time in the car might seem daunting, but the winding roads are lined by indescribable mountains, emerald lakes, and in true Western-style, tumbleweeds. I encourage you to stop along the way just to admire the scenery, the drive is a part of the adventure.
The Road Signs are More Accurate than the Websites
It is not uncommon for Mammoth to experience their first snow before Halloween, which is when roads will begin to close for the season. We were disappointed to see online that Devil’s Postpile was closed for the season, but were pleasantly surprised to see a sign saying that the road was in fact open. Local websites are always a great resource to check closures, but the road signs will be more up-to-date.
You’re Never Too Good for a Paper Map
GPSs and smart phone maps are great, until you have no cell service. There would be hours at a time that we couldn’t get a signal, so we stocked up on maps to make sure we never lost our way. Stop by the Visitor’s Center and grab as many as you need before you head out.
Go the Long Way Around
We hiked up to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, which was about eleven miles and took 5 hours, round-trip. At the overlook, you get an incredible view of Half Dome and mountain panoramas 360-degrees around. For this particular hike, you have the option to take a shuttle that will bring you up and back down.
While extremely convenient for those looking for a quick trip, I’d recommend taking the long way around. Sure, it’s a bit of a strenuous hike (and you’ll be tempted to quit halfway- but you won’t!), but you get to see Yosemite National Park the way it was meant to be experienced. Pack water, snacks, and your good walking shoes…there’s no better feeling once you reach the top.
Are you ready for your adventure to the West Coast? Stay in Mammoth Lakes >>> View Accommodations
Interested in the home we stayed in? Check it out! >>> Juniper Crest 7
(Only book this home if you love cloud-like beds, a gas fireplace, and waking up to mountain views)
Horseback Riding with Leavitt Meadows Pack Station
Bridgeport is just an hour north of Mammoth and we went for a 2 hour ride over the mountain and to Secret Lake.
Hiking Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park
Roughly 11 miles up and back down, but well worth every step! Set an entire day aside to tackle this biggie.
Happy Hour in the Village
Grab a drink and cozy up by one of the outdoor fire pits. It's the perfect place to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Join the "Breakfast Club"
Take a morning off from cooking and stop in the Breakfast Club for fresh, home-style cooking. Order one of the omelettes!