Kayaking the Mammoth Lakes Basin

Oct 15, 2020

From the water, the pine trees lining Lake Mary’s shore cast reflections on the glassy surface. The sky is a brilliant blue, demonstrating the abundant sunshine that Mammoth Lakes is known for. Crystal Crag stands tall and the Mammoth Crest looms in the distance. Fishermen sit in their chairs on the beach waiting for a tug on their line as you paddle by. You’ll get an entirely different perspective of the Mammoth Lakes Basin from a kayak.

As you circle the lake, you’ll get an up-close view of the grassy marsh at the south shore inlet and you’ll maneuver around tree snags scattered on the lake’s north end near the outlet. Protected, small coves will be calm, reflecting your brightly colored kayak while the middle of the lake ripples from a slight breeze. As your arms tire from paddling, you’ll float and drift with the current while you gaze at the birds soaring overhead. 

How to Kayak the Lakes Basin 

There are a number of spots to put-in or rent kayaks in the Mammoth Lakes Basin that make getting on the water convenient.

  • Pokonobe Resort and Marina is a launch site on the northern shore of Lake Mary. They rent kayaks, as well as pontoon, motor boats, and paddleboards. Phone: 760-934-2437
  • The Lake Mary Marina is a launch spot on the north shore and has kayak, SUP, and fishing boat rentals. Phone: (760) 934-5353.
  • Wildyre Lodge and Boat Rental is a launch spot at Lake Mamie that rents kayaks and rowboats. Phone: 760-934-2444
  • Woods Lodge at Lake George has a boat launching facility, as well as fishing and motorboat rentals. Phone: 760-934-2261
  • Tamarack Lodge on the east shore of Twin Lakes has a launch site and rents kayaks and other boats. Phone: 760-934-2442

Quick Tips: If you are heading out in a kayak or any other boat, plan to get wet. The water is cold even in the summer and the breeze can suddenly pick up out on the water. Be prepared for a change in weather with a lightweight layer. Pack electronic devices like cameras and phones in waterproof bags, or leave them in the car. All of the marinas have minimal parking; arrive early or take the town trolley to the Lakes Basin. Call ahead to reserve watercraft during the busy summer months.