3 Perfect Days of Spring in Mammoth Lakes

Oct 10, 2022

The good news about spring: there is so much to do. The bad news: it’s tough to fit it all in three days.

Day 1 – Spring Fishing in Mammoth Lakes

The first day in Mammoth Lakes is best spent adjusting to the altitude and doing some light activity. Your first day of adventure in spring will be spent fishing and sightseeing. Be sure to have a good breakfast before a big day on the water. Old New York Deli and Bagel in the Village at Mammoth is a great option for a quick breakfast, and there you can pick up something for lunch too.

The fishing season kicks off in Mammoth Lakes on the last Saturday of April each year. Whether you are planning a trip before or after the opener, spring is a great time to cast a line, and there are a number of places to go fishing anytime you plan your trip.

Hot Creek and the Upper Owens River are favorite streams for fly fishing and are open year-round to catch-and-release fishing with barbless hooks. The Owens River is the main watershed in the Eastern Sierra and is fed by spring creeks and snowmelt. You’ll find plenty of Rainbow Trout, some browns and an occasional Cutthroat in the river. Hot Creek is a nutrient-rich spring creek and is the most trout dense stream in the state.

The lakes outside of Mammoth Lakes are ideal for fishing in the spring since they are melting free of snow and ice. Convict and Crowley lakes are known for their large trout while the June Lake Loop offers four lakes with plenty of fish and even better scenery.

After a full day of fishing, go to Mammoth Brewing Company and The Eatery. Bring your trail maps and plan tomorrow’s hike over a beer and a bite.

Day 2 – Spring Hiking in Mammoth Lakes

Now that you are acclimated to Mammoth Lakes’ high altitude, day two of your spring adventure should be spent on the trails. Mammoth Lakes is a hiking paradise, and you have plenty of options depending on the snow level. Before you hit the trail, pick up lunch and snacks at Stellar Brew & Natural Cafe. They offer a number of prepared options, energy bars, and snacks—you’ll be happy to have healthy food to fuel your day on the trail.

McGee Pass is a popular trailhead year-round, but the abundance of wildflowers makes it a great spring destination. The trail also gets plenty of sunshine, so the snow melts here first. Hike as far as you like for an out-and-back route filled with mountain views.

Sherwin Lakes Trail is another great spot to soak up the sun and go hiking in spring. The lower-elevation trailhead is located in Mammoth Lakes’ backyard. The 3-mile trail climbs through a Jeffery pine forest to the stunning lakes. Return the same way for a 6-mile round trip hike.

Day 3 – Spring Biking in Mammoth Lakes

With snow melting faster every day in the spring, it is an ideal time to hit the roads, paths, and trails on your bike. Looney Bean Roasting Company is conveniently located in the Rite Aid Center near Footloose Sports. Make a one-parking-lot-stop in the morning to pick up coffee and any bike gear you need.

Road bikers will love pedaling the famed Benton Crossing Road, any time of the year, but in the spring the hills are green and alive with energy. The rolling terrain is gentle on your lungs even though it’s still around 7,000 feet. From the Green Church to Layton Springs is a good 20-mile round trip or head up to Wild Rose Summit for the ultimate hill climb and a tough 50-miler.

Novice cyclists will love the paved town bike trails. The Lakes Basin Path from Horseshoe Lake to the Village is a cruisey 5-mile downhill with scenic views of alpine lakes and mountain vistas. Or take a ride the town loop from Mammoth Creek Park to Shady Rest. You’ll see unobstructed views of Mammoth Rock and the Sherwins as well as the White Mountains across the valley.

Cyclists with a single-track mind won’t be disappointed either. As the snow melts from the mountain bike trails the dirt is firm and tacky. Lower Rock Creek Trail south of Mammoth is a top destination early in the season. The 8-mile trail is fast and fun in the top two sections and technically challenging in the third. Mammoth Rock Trail the local favorite when it is snow free; check the conditions before you go. And Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, which offers more than 80-miles of single-track trails.​

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at monicaprelle.com and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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