Journey along Highway 395 with the Paiute Indians as they share legends of long ago. Listen as the era of prospectors, mining camps and mule teams comes to life, and go back in time to discover how a Slim Princes found her way into the Eastern Sierra. This fascinating 395 Roadside Heritage CD is available to download online at http://www.roadsideheritage.org.
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.
Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake & June Lake Loop: Full Day
Bodie State Historic Park:
Bodie Ghost Town is the largest unrestored ghost town in the West. Bodie produced gold and silver from 1877 to 1888 and the town grew to 10,000 residents. Once notorious as the wildest town in the West - with its saloons, bordellos, gambling houses and opium dens - the town is now preserved as a California State Historic Park with weathered buildings, a museum, mine tours and a visitor center. Located 1 hour 15 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes on U.S. 395 turn right on Hwy 270, a partially paved, well maintained road 13 miles to the Bodie entrance. Admission fee required per car. Don't forget your camera, sunscreen and water.
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.
Attractions in the Town of Mammoth Lakes: Half to Full Day
California Welcome Center Mammoth Lakes:
Learn about the sightseeing points of interest and natural history of the area through brochures, books and speaking first hand with a Forest Service Ranger, National Parks Ranger or a Mammoth Lakes Tourism Information Agent. The Welcome Center offers interpretive displays and programs and a bookstore teeming with area information, books and souvenirs provided by the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association. Open everyday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. (Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day).
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 acceccible 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.
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 at 760-924-5500.
Devils Postpile: Devils Postpile is a unique geologic feature, formed 100,000 years ago by an eruption of lava. The lava cooled uniformly, leaving surface cracks,resulting in six-sided basalt vertical columns. Devils Postpile is a short, easy half-mile hike from the trailhead. The National Parks Service offers interpretive tours, a ranger station, picnic area, restrooms and a campground.
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.
Reds Meadow Resort & Pack Station: Reds Meadow Resort has cabins, motel rooms, a general store and the Mule House Café. Resort services include backcountry supply package delivery, showers, summer entertainment, BBQ's and wagon rides. Reds Meadow Pack Station offers guided hour long, half day, full-day horseback rides. Custom multi-day, week-long and full-service pack trips are also available. Advance reservations required. Reds Meadow Resort & Pack Station is located 1 mile past the Rainbow Falls trailhead. For more information call The Reds Meadow Resort & Pack Station 760-934-2345.
Mammoth Mountain - Half Day
Take a gondola ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain to an elevation of 11,053 feet! There you will have spectacular panoramic views of over 400 miles of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Explore the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center with interactive displays on the area's geology, hydrology and volcanic history. Grab a bite at the Top of the Sierra Café before you ride or hike the several trails on Mammoth Mountain. The gondola ride is only a 15 minute ride from the Adventure Center at the base of the mountain. Dogs on a leash our welcome! Free maps are available at the Adventure Center. Fee required. For more information contact Mammoth Mountain at 800-626-6684.
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 juttin 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.
Earthquake Fault: This sizeable fissure is not an earthquake fault caused by a single quake, but was formed during a series of strong quakes. A more appropriate name for this fracture would be "Earthquake Fissure". The fissure is up to 10 feet wide and 60 feet deep and cuts through volcanic rock, part of a glassy rhyolite lava flow from Mammoth Mountain , and formed by tectonic stresses in the earth's crust. The age of the fissure is unknown, but some of the trees growing in the fissure are 150 years old, indicating that the crack is at least that old. A short walking trail surrounds this natural phenomenon. Majestic red fir and Jeffrey pine trees make this a nice spot for a picnic. Restrooms are available. Closed in winter. Located off of Minaret Road from Mammoth Mountain Ski Area approximately 3 miles and 2 miles from the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
Southern Mono County - Half Day
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 at 760-934-2664. 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.
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. Located 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off of U.S. 395 turn west on Convict Lake Road.
Crowley Lake: Crowley Lake offers some of the most exciting trout fishing in California. Crowley Lake is a man made lake, 12 miles long and 5 miles wide. Crowley Lake is a large man made reservoir that supplies water and power to the City of Los Angeles. Although famous for trout fishing, Crowley Lake offers various other water sports, such as kayaking, water skiing, wake boarding, wake surfing, kite surfing, and stand up paddle boarding. Crowley Lake Fish Camp, the only concession on the lake, is operated in cooperation with LADWP. All visitors, boats, campers, must access the lake through Crowley Lake Fish Camp. Crowley Lake Fish Camp offers a full service marina with 200-plus private slips, a fleet of 84 rental boats, rental cabins, full hook-up RV Sites, dry camping sites, a tackle shop and convenience store. Located 13 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off of U.S 395. turn east on Crowley Lake Drive.
Points of interest to the south:
Mount Whitney: Mount Whitney stands at 14,505 feet and is the highest point in the contiguous United States. The west slope of the mountain is in Sequoia National Park, the summit is the south end of the John Muir Trail and the east slope is in the Inyo National Forest in Inyo County. Mt Whitney is above the tree line and has an alpine climate and ecology and very few plants grow near the summit. The peaks name comes from Josiah Whitney, the state geologist of California and benefactor of the California Geological Survey in July 1864. For more facts on Mt. Whitney visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Whitney
Trips going to Mt. Whitney have specific quotas and must be reserved. A valid overnight permit or day use permit is required year round.
Mt. Whitney is east of the town of Lone Pine along U.S. 395, (approximately 105 miles south of Mammoth Lakes) and is easily accessed by the Whitney Portal Trailhead which is approximately13 miles east of town.
For more information on Mt. Whitney and permits contact the Wilderness Information Line at 760-873-2485, the Reservation Line at 760-873-2483 or www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/whitney.htm
Death Valley National Monument: Death Valley National Park has over three million acres of designated Wilderness and hundreds of miles of backcountry roads. The park contains an amazing variety of terrain, historic sites, plants and animals for outdoor adventurers to explore. Some of the highlights of Death Valley are Golden Canyon, Artist's Drive, Devil's Golf Course, Natural Bridge, Zabriskie Point, Dante's View, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, Titus Canyon, Eureka Dunes, The Racetrack and Badwater, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.
The Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Museum is open daily. The visitor center is located in the Furnace Creek Resort area on California Highway 190. Contact them at 760-786-3200, The Death Valley Natural History Association sales outlets are located in the visitor centers and contact stations and have informational materials about the park. Lodging, camper stores, restaurants, dump stations, fuel and auto services are available in Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells Village, Panamint Springs and in the towns adjacent to the park.
Cell phones & GPS do not work in Death Valley! Do not depend on them. In some cases there is spotty reception, but dependence on a cell phone or GPS in an emergency situation can be fatal. Check with the Rangers for specific recommendations on travel safety. Located approximately 4 hours (214 miles) south of Mammoth Lakes, take U.S. 395 south to Olancha, you can take Hwy 190 into the park or continue south to Lone Pine and take Hwy 136 to Hwy 190 heading east into the park.
Badwater, 283 feet below sea level' is the lowest point in North America and it's only 80 aerial miles from Mt. Whitney. 214 miles southeast of Mammoth Lakes.
Manzanar: Internment camp during WWII for U.S. residents of Japanese descent . Discover the rich history in the Owens Valley. 95 miles south of Mammoth Lakes.