The best part about traveling during the winter is that the summer crowds are gone. It might be cold, and it may be snowy, but there are sights to see and things to do in the wintertime.
Next time you plan a weekend ski trip to Mammoth Lakes, add an extra day for exploring the Eastern Sierra and try one of our favorite day trips.
June Lake Loop
The rugged peaks that tower over the community of June Lake are just as impressive, if not more so, in the winter. With snow covering the mountaintops and frosting the surrounding forest, the town has a magical snow-globe feel.
Start your June Lake daytrip at June Mountain Ski Area
. The resort has seven chairlifts that access 1,500 skiable acres of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain. With a laid-back vibe, the resort is a great place to make a few turns without the hustle and bustle of Mammoth Mountain.
After you’ve skied for a few hours head over to the Double Eagle Resort and Spa
where you can get spa services in a rustic wellness resort. Have a massage, or facial, and then relax by the indoor pool and Jacuzzi. Order a smoothie and a salad from the spa café or try the nachos from the restaurant.
Once you’ve skied, and had a relaxing day, stop by the June Lake Brewery
before heading home to taste the local brews. Try a pint of the Smokin Porter, Alpers Trout Pale Ale, or the 8140 Black IPA. (Please designate a driver.)
Historic Benton Hot Springs
A daytrip to Benton Hot Springs
is well worth the drive. The resort offers ten private hot tubs that are fed by natural hot spring water and can be reserved by the hour or for overnight camping. The original redwood tubs accommodate two to three people, but many larger tubs are available for groups of four to eight. The 45-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes is full of stunning scenery too. You’ll drive along the base of the Glass Mountains, around the north shore of Crowley Lake, and get to see the White Mountains up close. Pack some snacks and head to Benton for a midday soak. Reservations are required.
The large shallow saline lake is known for its stunning tufas, calcium formations created when the lake’s water dropped. But the lake is also a vital habitat and nesting ground for migratory birds. Located thirty minutes north of Mammoth Lakes, the lake is a great destination for a daytrip anytime of year. Depending on the snow coverage, you can take a walk along the shore. Start your self-guided tour at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center
. Then visit the Mono Lake County Park or South Lake Tufa Reserve. A variety of exhibits will help you understand what you are looking at. Check the schedule and join an interpretive program or event.
Bodie Historic State Park
Bodie State Historic Park
is an entirely different place in the winter. The area is one of the coldest in the state and gets a decent snowpack each year, but the park remains open to visitors. If there is snow on the road, many people enjoy a cross-country ski tour or snowmobile ride in to the park. In a low snow year the road can be driven on. Bodie is a genuine gold-mining ghost town that had a population of 10,000 people in the late 1800s. Visitors can walk down the streets and look into windows of buildings that are preserved in a state of arrested decay. Check the road conditions
before you head out (Enter 270 on the CalTrans site for the Bodie road conditions).