Beautiful Snowshoe Adventures Within 10 Minutes of Mammoth Lakes
Jul 14, 2021
Snowshoeing in Mammoth Lakes is a great way to enjoy a quiet moment in nature. There are so many stunning vistas that are easily accessible and within 10 minutes of Mammoth Lakes, and many of the trails are great for families or folks with dogs.
Old Mammoth Road and Mammoth Rock
Mammoth Rock Trail is an easy snowshoeing route less than 10 minutes from your doorstep. At the end of Old Mammoth Road, a small snowbank is the only thing between you and the rest of a snow-covered Old Mammoth Road. About a quarter mile from there and after you cross the creek, the trailhead sits on your left. Only spanning 3 or 4 miles down to Sherwin Creek Road, this trail goes below Mammoth Rock, traverses the Sherwin Range, and allows you to view Old Mammoth and the town as the wood stoves start cranking and the town wakes up. Have someone pick you up at the end or do a round trip for double the views.
Mammoth Lakes Basin
The Lakes Basin is a great place to just explore without an itinerary. You’ll find several bridges, hidden amphitheaters, frozen lakes, plenty of people-watching opportunities and endless terrain to explore. Because of the topography, you can choose to snowshoe a mellow flat grade the entire time, a steep grade that climbs and climbs or any combination of the two. Be sure to pack a lunch and some drinks for an amazing picnic opportunity when you’re halfway through with your adventure. Here’s an insider tip: Wine is the easiest thing to pack into a water bottle; the carbonation in beer doesn’t like hiking.
Take the scenic loop toward the highway. On your left about halfway out, there will be a sign that says “Inyo Craters.” Turn off the road and park here. The Inyo Craters winter trails make for a longer trek, but the views are totally worth it. Wander through the forest on a snow covered 4×4 trail to reach the trailhead. This is a multi-use area so be sure to watch out for snowmobiles! Follow the markers and it’ll spit you out at two breathtaking volcanic craters filled with water and several hundred feet in diameter. They’re both incredibly beautiful and if you catch them in the spring, you’ll be able to see the brilliant colored water in each crater.
Minaret Vista offers stunning views of Mammoth Lakes’ signature skyline. Park at the Mammoth Mountain Inn and then head up the side of a cross country ski trail (snow covered CA-203) until it veers to the right. From there, it’s a mellow 1.5-mile up hill trek, topping out at Minaret Vista. If you want to go a little bit further, you can follow that ridge for an especially spectacular view of both the Minarets, as well as town. Be sure if you take your pup, he or she is on a leash for the lower portion—my husky ran around the ski hill for about a half an hour the last time I was out there.
There are obviously a few more, but you’ll need to explore for yourself and these should be great to get you started. Again, bring your camera!!