Hiking in the Mammoth Lakes area during the spring offers spectacular scenery and mild temperatures. Each week, a new lake thaws and the snow melts on another of the many trails.
Highway 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite National Park generally opens in May for Memorial Day weekend. The valley is the most beautiful at this time, because the waterfalls are full, flowers are blooming and the mountains are still covered in snow.
In the summer, there's no better way to experience Mammoth Lakes' natural beauty than at an eye-level hiking pace. You may find yourself adjusting your tempo to that of the trail. Stop a moment to watch a cunning lizard cool itself with millimeter-high push-ups. Notice hawks swooping, grouse scuttling and the way the aroma of sage is released when you lightly brush against it.
Discover the natural beauty of this area on a popular day hike. The John Muir and Ansel Adams wilderness areas—featuring lush alpine meadows and crystal-clear high-country lakes—offer accessible, easy day hikes.
Hiking around Mammoth Lakes in the fall is not to be missed. The beautiful, though uncrowded season brings crisp mountain mornings, warm afternoons and the opportunity to experience the colors that comprise the palette of autumn. Aspen, willow and cottonwood trees light up the slopes during this special time of year.
Fall is definitely photography season, so be sure to bring a camera. Once you're here, check out the local shops' extensive selection of guidebooks to Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra.
The backcountry is beautiful but also primitive, and you must be self-reliant. Inquire about weather forecasts and trail conditions when planning what equipment and clothing to take. Be prepared for severe weather in all seasons. Wilderness permits are required for overnight camping.
There may be restrictions related to bringing your pet along on your trip. Many people also enjoy animal packing in the backcountry areas where it is permitted. Proper planning is necessary, with special attention to camp location and confining animals in camp.
Help ensure that future generations experience a pristine wilderness by using "Minimum Impact - Leave No Trace" techniques. For more information on backcountry backpacking, call the California Welcome Center - Mammoth Lakes at 760-924-5500.
The Sierra Nevada is Bear Country! The use of bear-resistant food canisters is mandatory in most wilderness areas. Find out how to protect your food from bears and what regulations may apply to your visit. For trail maps, contact the California Welcome Center - Mammoth Lakes at the phone number above.