Top 10 Alternative Mammoth Lakes Winter Adventures

Dec 14, 2022

There are plenty of ways to be active outdoors in Mammoth Lakes without hitting the slopes. Winter adventures are not limited to skiing and snowboarding on the slopes anymore. Snow capped pine trees and crisp air mountain air is inviting for fitness enthusiasts and active travelers. From family activities to adrenaline filled adventures, there is no shortage of winter recreation in Mammoth Lakes.

1. Snowshoeing

More than four million Americans participated in snowshoeing last year, which makes it the third most popular outdoor winter sport behind skiing and snowboarding. Not only is it good for fitness, but it is also one of the easiest winter sports to learn. Just about anyone who enjoys being outdoors will love snowshoeing through pine forests around frozen lakes and to mountain vistas on trails for snowshoeing around Mammoth Lakes.

2. Cross-Country Skiing

Fitness enthusiasts will find that cross-country skiing is as good great aerobic exercise so there is no need to give up your routine when heading on a winter vacation. Maybe it’s the elevation found at mountain resorts or the cold air, but sliding uphill and along trails on cross country skis is likely to make your heart pump. Beginners can sign up for lessons and rent equipment at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center. Or try the free cross-country ski trails in Mammoth Lakes.

3. Snow Biking

Avid cyclists do not have to give up their favorite sport just because snow is on the ground. Fat bikes or snow bikes are the latest rage in the bike industry. The drastically larger tires allow riders to ride snow without sinking or slipping as much. Many manufacturers have bikes available now and there are many accessories to keep the rider warm while riding, like mittens that fit over the handlebars and warmer cycling shoes.

4. Snowcat Tours

The machines used to groom trails on Mammoth Mountain, known as snowcats, aren’t only used for making the slopes freshly groomed each day. Mammoth Mountain offers snowcat tours to Minaret Vista. These luxury rides, which include snacks along with scenic views, are an experience your family won’t forget.

5. Ice Climbing

Just 30 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes is California’s premier ice climbing destination. The frozen waterfalls in Lee Vining Canyon are ideal for experienced ice climbers. New to the ice, but want to learn how? Take an introductory ice climbing course with one of the local climbing guides: International Alpine Guides, Mammoth Climbing Guides, or Sierra Mountaineering International.

6. Winter Running

Running is not just for summer. The trails around Mammoth can be fun to run even in the snow. If the snow is light and fluffy, a pair of trail running shoes will do, but if the snow is icy consider wearing traction cleats or snow shoes made specifically for running.

7. Ice Skating

Lace up your skates and hit the ice the local ice skating rink. Ice skating is a classic winter activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. The Mammoth Ice Rink at 416 Sierra Park Road. Take a lesson, or join a pick-up game of ice hockey.

8. Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling has a long history as the primary mode of transportation in remote regions during winter, but today snowmobiling is widely considered a leisure sport and is one of the fastest growing winter lifestyle activities. Guided trips with Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures are recommended, or if you are bringing your own snowmobiles, check Mammoth Lakes Trails for recommended routes.

9. Snow Tubing

The slopes are not just for skiing anymore. Lift accessed groomed trails at Woolly’s Tube Park, are fun for the entire family. Or, if you have your own tube you can slide just about anywhere there is open terrain and a moderate hill. Look for slopes on public land that do not have obstacles like trees or rocks, hike to the top, and slide down.

10. Snowplay

PSA: no one is too old to enjoy a little snowplay on a vacation to Mammoth Lakes. What’s snowplay? Anything that involves playing in the snow is fair game (think: building a snowman, snowball fights and sledding).

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

More Blog Posts By Monica Prelle

More Posts

Like this