Thru-Hikers Guide to Mammoth Lakes

Aug 12, 2022

The luxury of hot showers and good food are enough to lure backpacking thru-hikers off the Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail, and into Mammoth Lakes. For thru-hikers heading south from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney or north from Mexico to Canada, the town is an easy place to resupply, rest, and get back on the trail again. Here is your thru-hikers guide to resupplying in Mammoth Lakes.

How to get to Mammoth from the trail

Most PCT and JMT thru-hikers will jump off the trail at Reds Meadow, Devils Postpile, or Agnew Meadows. From any of these trailheads, take the Reds Meadow Shuttle to Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge. (You can purchase a round-trip ticket when you arrive.) Then hop on the free trolley that heads into town. Each of these shuttles operates about every 15 minutes during peak summer season. If you are hiking in to Coldwater or Mammoth Pass trailheads in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, there is a free summer trolley that runs hourly. Check with Eastern Sierra Transit for an updated summer schedule.

Good Food—that you don’t have to cook

If anything is certain about thru-hiking it’s that dehydrated food gets old real quick, and your appetite grows with each mile hiked. Hot food that you don’t have to cook is usually top on the agenda of thru-hikers visiting Mammoth. There are a few great places for pizza, beer, and chicken wings in town. Try Giovanni’s or John’s Pizza Works. If the local brew pub is your style, head over to Mammoth Brewing Company and the Eatery. Healthy hikers will enjoy the gluten-free and fresh food options at Stellar Brew & Natural Café, and if you are craving a hot sandwich or burger, try Base Camp Cafe, Angel’s, or Burgers Restaurant. Mammoth Lakes is not short on great places for breakfast either. A few of the locals’ favorite spots include The Stove, Good Life Café, and the Breakfast Club.

Hot Showers

There is nothing better than a hot shower after days on the trail, and the restaurants you choose will thank you for showering before you eat out. It’s true, there are free hot springs showers at Reds Meadow Campground—natural hot mineral spring water is piped into the shower house and it feels so good. There are also pay showers and toiletries available at Red’s Meadow Resort or at the Mammoth RV Park in town.

Internet and Coffee, or Beer

If you’ve been on the trail for a while, you’ll probably want to check in with family and friends. Because Mammoth Lakes is a resort destination, just about anywhere you go for food will have WiFi, but if you want to hang out at a local coffee shop and spend some time on the Internet, there are a few options. Black Velvet makes a great cappuccino or pour-over coffee and has nice beer and wine options. Or head down the street to the Looney Bean, which is located in the Rite Aide Center near the laundromat. If you need to use a computer, try the Mammoth Lakes Library on Meridian Blvd.

Please, wash your stinky clothes

If you decide to camp while in Mammoth or your hotel does not have washing machines there are a few Laundromats in town. Try Aloha Sudz on the corner of Main Street and Old Mammoth Road in the Rite Aide Center, the Mammoth Lakes Laundromat on Laurel Mountain Road, or Hollywood Soaps and Suds on Old Mammoth Road.

Backpacking Gear and Equipment

Many resupply spots that are close to the Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail have minimal choices for backpacking gear and equipment, but Mammoth Lakes has everything you will need. Whether your stove breaks, you puncture a hole in your air mattress, or you just want a new pair of hiking socks you can find it in Mammoth. Kittredge Sports and Mammoth Mountaineering Supply both have an extensive selection of gear and they are located across the street from on another on Main Street.

Where to resupply food

Mammoth Lakes has two super markets, Von’s and Grocery Outlet. Vons offers a rewards club for significant savings. Grocery Outlet features an extensive selection of bulk foods that are ideal for backpackers. You’ll find dehydrated beans and soups, quinoa, snack mixes, nuts, and more.

Campgrounds and Cheap Hotels

If you are ready for a break from your tent, you can get an inexpensive hotel in Mammoth Lakes. Thru-hikers favorite hotels include: There are tons of campgrounds near Mammoth Lakes, but if you want to be close to town on, these are your best options:

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 and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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