7 Things to Do in Spring in Mammoth Lakes

Springtime in Mammoth Lakes is what California is all about. Here are seven things you can do while you’re here to get a taste of the action.

Spring Skiing at Mammoth Mountain

Spring skiing at Mammoth Mountain is all-time. Cold nights keep the snow frozen, but the sun warms it up just right for that corn snow that Mammoth Mountain is famous for.

Take some laps on the east side of the mountain by The Mill then make your way to Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge to catch the gondola to the top of the mountain, eventually skiing the runs on the backside. The sun softens the snow, so chasing it around the mountain east to west is the way to go in the spring.

Spring Mountain Biking in Mammoth Lakes

The lower elevations are ideal for mountain biking in the spring, and the highlight of any trip to Mammoth Lakes includes a mountain bike ride on Lower Rock Creek Trail.

Start at the top of the trail on Lower Rock Creek Road near US 395 and head down through the first section. When the trail reaches the road, pedal up and across the road to the start of the second section. At the bottom of the second section, the trail crosses the road again.

Riders typically take the trail downhill direction with a car shuttle to return to the top of the trail. More ambitious riders turn the route into an out-and-back 16-mile trip. For an easier, but still fun 6-mile ride, loop the top two sections by pedaling up the paved road.

Spring Fishing in Mammoth Lakes

Some of the best streams and rivers are open to year-round catch-and-release fishing with barbless hooks. Mono County fishing season opens on the last Saturday of April each year, but spring is a great time to fish in the Eastern Sierra before the season is fully open.

Pack your fly rod and go to Hot Creek, the Upper Owens, Lower Owens, or East Walker River. Be sure to check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for fishing regulations.

Exploring Hot Creek in Springtime

The geothermal vents that bubble up in Hot Creek are spectacular for sightseeing. The area is located about 15 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes and is a great destination for a leisurely stroll, nature viewing and stunning mountain scenery. Enjoy the view from the outlook above, or take the trail down to see the creek up close.

To get to Hot Creek from Mammoth Lakes, take US 395 south and exit Hot Creek Road/Mammoth Airport. The paved turns into a dirt road before reaching the main parking area. Pit toilets and picnic tables are available.

Spring Snowshoeing in Mammoth Lakes

The longer days in spring, offer plenty of time for more activities in the late afternoon and evening, which makes it an ideal season to go snowshoeing after a day of skiing. Minaret Vista near Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge is ideal for late-season snowshoeing. Or head to the Lakes Basin to explore. 

Spring Hiking in Mammoth Lakes

As the spring weather warms up, frozen lakes begin to thaw and the snow on the trails melt. Convict Lake is one of the best places for a spring hike since the south-facing side of the lake and gets plenty of sunshine. Park near the marina and take the right side of the Convict Lake Loop around to the back of the lake.

When there is still snow on the shaded south shore, return the same way for a two-mile round trip hike. Or if the snow and ice are completely melted, continue around the lake for a full loop. Use caution as this side is icy and steep and prone to avalanches from the mountain above.

Après Outdoors

With spring, sunshine comes a host of outside seating at restaurants. There is no better après ski than outdoors and slopeside on the mountain at the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge Sun Deck or the Mill Café.

But there are plenty of spots in town with outdoor seating too. Campos Mammoth, Gomez’s, Lakanuki and Smokeyard in The Village at Mammoth all have outdoor seating seasonally and are great spots people watching. Some favorite spots for outdoor lunch and après include Good Life Café, Base Camp and Roberto’s.

Or if it’s still a little chilly for patio seating, check out one of our favorite local happy hours.

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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