Family-Friendly Snowshoeing in Mammoth Lakes

Sep 06, 2022

Snowshoeing is winter’s version of hiking and is something the oldest to youngest members of your family can enjoy. If you aren’t on the slopes skiing or snowboarding, grab a pair of snowshoes and enjoy the miles of trails available throughout Mammoth Lakes.

Family-Friendly Snowshoeing at Minaret Vista

Snowshoe to see Mammoth Lakes’ signature skyline, the Minarets, from Minaret Vista. The gentle and gradual uphill slope of this route is perfect for beginners and families with older children.

The 2.5-mile trail begins at Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge. Be on the lookout for snowmobiles, cross country skiers, and downhill skiers, since the trail is used for multiple sports. Follow signs for Minaret Vista as the trail branches away from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Getting There

Ride the free Red Line bus to Main Lodge or drive up Highway 203 to the ski area’s large parking area. Use the Main Lodge parking shuttle or simply walk toward the Mammoth Mountain Inn and past the Mammoth Mountain Chalets where you’ll see the trail.

Family-Friendly Snowshoeing in the Mammoth Lakes Basin

Mammoth Lakes Basin offers a variety of options to explore with your family. While many of the trails in the Lakes Basin are groomed for cross country skiing (accessible with a pass from Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center), the Lake Mary Winter Public Access Corridor is free to the public for snowshoeing.

For families with older children, the Panorama Dome Loop offers stunning views of the Mammoth Crest, Sherwin Range, White Mountains, Glass Mountains, Mammoth Mountain and the Town of Mammoth Lakes below.

A favorite route among locals and families with small children is to take the trail out of Tamarack’s parking lot, cross the bridge, and walk along the lakes to the campgrounds and back. While in the Lakes Basin, see if your kids can spot the famous lava tube called “Hole in the Wall” on the southerly face of Dragon’s Back.

Getting There

Take the free Orange Line bus to Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center or drive along Lake Mary Road to Twin Lakes Road, where you can parallel park. Then walk along Lake Mary Road to the winter road closure. The public trail runs alongside a groomed ski trail that requires a pass, while Panorama Dome Loop veers off to the left. Please note, that parking is minimal and when possible we suggest taking the free Orange Line.

Family-Friendly Snowshoeing at Shady Rest Park

Located in the heart of Mammoth Lakes, Shady Rest Park offers beautiful trails that are free and easily accessible to families. Because these trails are in town and at a lower elevation, the season for snowshoeing at Shady Rest is dependent on snowfall and typically shorter than higher elevation areas.

Snowshoers share the mostly-flat trails at Shady Rest Park with cross country skiers in the areas designated for non-motorized use. If you venture onto snowmobile trails, be cautious of over-snow vehicle (OSV) traffic.

Getting There

To access the trailhead, ride the free Purple line shuttle or park at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and walk along the path past the buildings toward Sawmill Cutoff Road.

Family-Friendly Snowshoeing Events in Mammoth Lakes

Don’t miss out on these special snowshoeing activities in Mammoth Lakes.

Naturalist Snowshoe Tours

Every Friday through Sunday and on holiday Mondays, at 10:30am, your family can join a U.S. Forest Service volunteer naturalist on a free snowshoe tour to learn about the ecology of the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Full Moon Snowshoeing Tours

Families with children ages seven and up can participate in the moon-lit scenic beauty of an after dark snowshoe excursion. Departing from the Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center at 7pm, your family will be guided on a 1.5-hour tour around the Mammoth Lakes Basin by the light of the full moon. Afterward, enjoy desserts and hot drinks at the Tamarack Lodge.

Reservations are required and include rentals. Call 800.MAMMOTH for more information.

What to Wear Snowshoeing with Kids in Mammoth Lakes

Comfort is key when it comes to kids. For snowshoeing, put them in layers making sure their outer layers (pants, jacket) are waterproof. Stay away from cotton and remember to bring gloves or mittens. Pack water and snacks for the whole family. Don’t forget pocket tissues for little noses that run more in the cold.

Snowshoe Rentals in Mammoth Lakes

If you need equipment for your snowshoeing adventure, you can rent snowshoes from these local retailers:

Babywearing & Tow-Behind Sleds (Pulkas)

If your children are too young for snowshoes or aren’t feeling the vibe of traipsing the trails on their own, some families opt for babywearing or sledding! Many parents use an ergonomic baby carrier or hiking backpack to carry their child while snowshoeing.

Likewise, at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, families can rent Pulkas, tow-behind sleds that allow you to pull your youngest along the trails. Sleds are not just helpful for carrying young ones, but also for carrying your packs, snacks, and jackets too.

Charlotte Kaufman

Charlotte Kaufman grew up in Alaska and started traveling internationally at the age of 16. A sailor since 2005, she and her family were part of a dramatic at-sea rescue in the spring of 2014 while en route to the South Pacific. She has just completed a memoir about the experience and is seeking to…

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