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Sightseeing

Discover sightseeing in the Mammoth Lakes area. Yosemite National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake, Devils Postpile National Monument, Hot Creek and Rainbow Falls are unsurpassed in their scenic, historic and geologic wonder.

geology1Devils Postpile National Monument:
The formation of Devils Postpile began when basalt lava erupted in the valley of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. As lava flowed from the vent, it filled the valley near the Postpile to a depth of 400 feet. Recent radiometric dating of rocks thought to correlate with basalt of Devils Postpile suggest an age of less than 100,000 years.Approximately 10,000 years ago, glaciers flowed down the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. This moving ice easily overrode the fractured mass of lava and quarried away one side of the Postpile, exposing a sheer wall of columns 60 feet high.
  
Many fallen columns now lie fragmented on the talus slope below. A hike to the top of the Postpile reveals not only a cross section of the posts, but the most interesting effect of the ice - polished tops on the basalt columns. Here, the column ends are exposed like a tiled floor and exhibit parallel striations where the glacier dragged rocks across them. geology2

Rainbow Falls:
Two miles downstream from Devils Postpile, the San Joaquin River tumbles over an abrupt 101-foot drop, sending rainbows of color into the mist. After the easy, 1.5 mile walk to Rainbow Falls from the Red's Meadow area, the roar of the falls and the refreshing mists invite you to stay awhile and enjoy a picnic lunch. Be sure to bring your camera-midday, when the sun is highest, is the best time capture rainbows in the mist.
The Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls / or Reds Meadow is located 10 miles past Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's Main Lodge, on Hwy. 203. A mandatory shuttle bus is required during the busy summer months and is available at the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge area. 
 
Mono Lake:
Mono-20Lake-20tufas
This inland sea is known for its bird population, scenic value and delicate tufa formations. The lake is located off U.S. 395, 30 miles north of Mammoth Lakes. The Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve offers interpretive tours of the shoreline, nature walks, slide shows and other activities.
  

Bodie State Historical Park:
A gold-mining town of the late 1800's. Bodie's silent streets and vacant structures offer guests a glimpse into the past of one of the wildest mining camps of the Eastern Sierra. Bodie is located 35 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and 13 miles east on Hwy. 270. A nominal fee is charged to enter the park. Bring water and a picnic lunch to bodie, as no food services are provided.

geology6Yosemite National Park/Tioga Pass:
The entrance to Yosemite National Park is approximately one hour from Mammoth Lakes. The spectacular sights of the Park are available to eastside visitors when snow is cleared from Tioga Pass in late spring. (East of Tioga Pass is typically closed due to snow from mid-November through May.) An additional two-hour drive through the dramatic Tuolumne Meadows high country of Yosemite brings you to the Valley floor and such spectacles as Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. With an early start, both Tuolumne and the Valley floor can be seen in one day. The Park has an entrance fee. YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) offers an affordable way to visit the Park without having to drive your own vehicle.
 
Mammoth Lakes Basin: 119_1979
Twin Lakes, Lakes Mary, George, Mamie and Horseshoe are located along Lake Mary Road with elevations starting at 8,540 ft. to 9,008 ft. These lake beds were scooped out of solid rock by glaciers and are popular for fishing, boating and photography, Picnic areas are available at several locations.   
Convict Lake:
The site of the 1871 gun battle between escaped convicts and a sheriff's posse. Here rugged mountain scenery with sheer cliffs of highly colored and folded rock meet a natural lake formed behind debris left by receding glaciers. The oldest rocks in the Sierra Nevada range were discovered here. Great area for picnicking, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, boating and camping. Convict Lake is located 10 miles south of the Mammoth Junction on US 395, then two miles west.

Crowley Lake:
A man-made lake located 10 miles south of Mammoth Junction. Popular with fishermen and water-skiers. First formed in 1940 as part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system. Crowley Lake Fish Camp charges a fee at the entrance. 

geology3Hot Creek:
Three miles south of Mammoth Junction on US 395 and three miles east of the airport (the last 1.5 miles is unpaved). Hot Creek is a phenomenon of live hot springs and fumaroles (gas vents) which heat a cold mountain stream.

Parking lot and restrooms are available. Open sunrise to sunset; no charge. Hot Creek is Closed to Swimming, due to varying temperatures of the water.
View information from the USGS
 
Hot Creek Fish Hatchery:
Three miles south of Mammoth Junction and one mile east of US 395 is a California State Fish Hatchery. The warm springs of Hot Creek provide ideal temperatures for incubation of trout eggs and continual development of trout to planting size. Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No charge. For more information, call 760-934-2664.

If you have more time to explore, visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and its 4,000-year-old trees, or Death Valley National Park, just a day-trip from Mammoth.


Sightseeing Tour Operators

Mammoth All Weather Shuttle


June Lake/ Mono Lake Visitor Center / Bodie Ghost Town - 5 1/2 hour tour
Guided Tour Leaves at 8:30 a.m. where we visit the June Lake loop, stopping for pictures, then head over to Mono Lake visitor center. Next, we will go back in time and explore the remains of Bodie, a real ghost town. We will have you back to your lodging by 2:00 p.m.

Yosemite 
Half Day - 5 1/2 hours tour
Guided Tour leaves at 8:30 a.m. and stops first at the Tuolumne visitor center and meadow. The next stop is Tenaya Lake, then an incredible view of Half Dome. We head back to Mammoth and be back by your lodging at 2:00pm.

Full Day - 9 hour tour
Guided Tour leaves at 8:30 a.m. and stops first at Tuolumne Meadows. The next stop is Tenaya Lake, then an incredible view of Half Dome. Next the Yosemite Valley Loop with scenic views of waterfalls and granite monoliths. At 2:30 p.m. we departure back to Mammoth, stopping at Tuolumne for a snack and delivering you back to your lodging by 5:30 p.m.

Mammoth Lakes - 4 1/2 hours tour
Guided tour leaves at 8:30am, starting from your condo or hotel, we will take a tour of the lakes basin showing you all lakes, and then you head over to the famous Inyo Creators and lastly Hot Creek, a geological wonder. We will have you back at your lodging by 1:00 p.m. 

For more information on Mammoth All Weather Shuttle Tours call 760-709-2927 or go to www.mawshuttle.com
 

PLAYosemite - Private Tours

RELAXING * EDUCATIONAL * INSPIRATIONAL* PRIVATE

This is your pleasant and tailored sightseeing experience into Yosemite National Park. Treat yourself to this National Treasure and gain a valuable understanding of the Park story and its worthy significance to American Heritage. Enjoy one of the most stunning landscape gardens on the planet. A door to door service, your full day tour departs from Mammoth Lakes in an air conditioned SUV. You will enter the Park minutes after pickup. Take in; the beauty of Tuolumne Meadows and the tranquility of nature walks, photo stops, Tenaya Lake, granite domes, Giant Sequoia's and old growth forests. Your private tour allows movement through the Park for a casual yet comprehensive experience on your way to; the Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome, Waterfalls, Tunnel View, and so much more! PLAYosemite owner Tony Rojas is your Park Licensed Guide. He shares insights of the natural and human history of Yosemite and the High Sierras.

Touring in June:
The Valley waterfalls are at full flow and a hike their base is great Yosemite fun. Falls hikes take about an hour, depending on how long you frolic there in the mist. The Valley is gorgeous and less crowded until later June.

The 9,000ft el. Tuolumne High Country may still be in winter condition and we don't spend much too time there (unless you're inclined to a June snowball fight). With no crowds here yet it's beautiful to see snow on the ground at this time of year! 

Touring in July and August:
The valley waterfalls begin to dry up but the Tuolumne High Country blooms into an environment equally magnificent as the great falls. Cool climate with flowering alpine meadows, streams and peaks. We can spend more time up here, if you'd like. A quarter mile hike around Nanatuk Nature Trail or a half mile to Historic Parsons Lodge and Soda Springs, both level, beautiful and informative, 8,500 elev. Also, view rock climbers on granite domes, right above you!

Scheduling Option:
Summer heat and lots of park visitors are hard to avoid but I've found by late afternoon the crowds are gone and the weather is ideal. If we depart Mammoth later, approx. 9:30am we will return to Mammoth later, approx. 8:30pm and catch this "Golden" time in the Yosemite Valley. (Requires a meal plan)

Touring in September:
The crowds are minimal and the air is crisp in the High Country where Aspens begin their colorful display. Mammals are busy preparing winter stores and quarters. There is a quiet time in late September as the natural world knows well, the coming season.

For more information on PLAYosemite Tours call/text 760-937-1312 or go to www.playosemite.com

 

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