Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
bogledogle
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 4:34 pm

Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by bogledogle »

We have a week long trip scheduled to Mammoth Lakes in July. We will spend a day or two at Yosemite and visit Lake Tahoe on the way back. I am looking for interesting things to do in the area with a 1yr old and elderly parents - so nothing that requires long hikes or a lot of physical activity.

We have visited Mammoth in the past and know the usual tourist spots. My plan is to drive around the area and take in the scenery, short hikes around the lakes, hot springs and suck at fishing. I plan to book a fishing charter to avoid the humiliation of course :D

I'd appreciate any tips from fellow members on unique and interesting things to do in the area. Cheers!
LinearRange
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:06 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by LinearRange »

I assume you're entering Yosemite from the eastern side on 120. You should definitely check out Mono Lake - very odd scenery and interesting ecology. It's right on the way.

The Mono Lake Visitors Center is right off of 395 in Lee Vining. It has some good exhibits. From the visitors center there are nice views of the lake. It doesn't require much walking.
User avatar
wabbott
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:55 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by wabbott »

Several weeks ago, we were in the area. Went to this place, about an hour north of Mammoth. Very well preserved and historical ghost town.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The town is named for Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1875, a mine cave-in revealed pay dirt, which led to purchase of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. People flocked to Bodie and transformed it from a town of a few dozen to a boomtown.

Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of "arrested decay." Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of "arrested decay". Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds and an occasional ghost.

Also, this was a really good movie memorabilia museum a couple hours south of Mammoth.

https://www.lpmuseum.org/

In our museum gallery, surrounded by the largest Western back lot in the country, we introduce you to the old and new legends of the Western screen. Our gallery exhibits contain memorabilia and information about Westerns from the earliest days of the silent screen to some of the latest. With an emphasis on the epic landscapes of the local region, including the Alabama Hills, Owens Valley, the Sierra Nevada and Death Valley, our collection highlights the dramatic role landscape has played in the great hollywood productions filmed here for just over 100 years.
vested1
Posts: 2575
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by vested1 »

+1 on Bodie, although the washboard drive to and from 395 on the dirt road isn't great, the bumpy ride is worth it. Don't bring back a purloined souvenir however, as it will come with a curse. Most of the buildings have additional doors at least 10 feet above the ground with no steps leading down, because in the winter it snowed so much and so often that people were trapped inside unless they installed the upper door.

I would also suggest a short hike to Devil's Postpile and a bit further to Rainbow falls. The skinny winding road after you pass Mammoth Mountain is restricted for the number of cars allowed. When the parking lot at the bottom fills up the road is closed until someone leaves. There are tour busses available for the short ride into the valley. It's a flat .4 miles from the parking lot to Devil's Postpile and 2.1 miles further to Rainbow falls.

https://www.nps.gov/depo/index.htm
https://socalhiker.net/hiking-to-devils ... bow-falls/

The best fishing in my opinion is at Lake Mary. The forestry service overstocks the number of trout normally allocated to each lake in order to attract tourism. 5 pound trout are pretty common. Lake George is picturesque and much smaller, located just up the hill about 300 ft above Lake Mary. There is a trailhead leaving Lake George that overlooks the lake, but it's not for those who have respiratory problems.

Convict Lake is also nearby, renamed for a group of convicts who held up there until the law caught up with them. The tableau of the mountain on the far side of the lake is breathtaking. Again, be alert for bears. Convict lake also has huge trout which are harder to catch than on Lake Mary.

https://www.monocounty.org/places-to-go ... vict-lake/

Mammoth Mountain has a tram that runs all year that takes you from the lodge to the summit. The views are amazing. Just when you think you've reached the top you cross another ridge and keep ascending. The more adventurous bring their mountain bikes on the tram to the top then ride their bikes back down.

Mammoth Lakes, the town has a surprising number of great restaurants.

https://www.visitmammoth.com/casual-din ... tby=random&

The entire area is populated with black bears who are bold and used to people, so always be aware of your surroundings. Don't leave anything that could be construed as food visible or aeromatic inside your car and leave your windows rolled up when parked, not that that would stop a bear if they wanted to get in. My wife and I have had numerous encounters with bears in the area. After several harrowing experiences with bears while camping she told me that from then on we would only stay in a lodge. So the next time we did, and when I got up in the morning and opened the drapes in the living room I found myself nose-to-nose with a bear on the other side of the glass. That bear was shot and killed a day later for breaking into cabins while people were still inside to get to the fridge. That's very rare though, but merely an example of why it pays to be serious about bears while in the area.
Dollarsign16
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:24 am
Location: CA

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by Dollarsign16 »

HWY 158 - the June Lake Loop.

Scenic, great fishing opportunities… slammed them during the opening weekend this year at Gull and June Lakes.

Also agree Bodie is a cool place to check out if you haven’t been.
Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people they don’t like. –Will Rogers
quantAndHold
Posts: 6109
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by quantAndHold »

Yosemite is requiring reservations this summer. Make sure you get them if you plan to go there, or you’ll get turned away at the entrance.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
FoolStreet
Posts: 1310
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:18 am

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by FoolStreet »

bogledogle wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:11 am We have a week long trip scheduled to Mammoth Lakes in July. We will spend a day or two at Yosemite and visit Lake Tahoe on the way back. I am looking for interesting things to do in the area with a 1yr old and elderly parents - so nothing that requires long hikes or a lot of physical activity.

We have visited Mammoth in the past and know the usual tourist spots. My plan is to drive around the area and take in the scenery, short hikes around the lakes, hot springs and suck at fishing. I plan to book a fishing charter to avoid the humiliation of course :D

I'd appreciate any tips from fellow members on unique and interesting things to do in the area. Cheers!
Visit the WW 2 internment camps?
IMO
Posts: 1442
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by IMO »

EXPLORING HOT CREEK GEOLOGIC SITE
https://www.visitmammoth.com/trip-ideas ... ogic-site/

The reserve was established to preserve the spectacular "tufa towers," calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. It also protects the lake surface itself as well as the wetlands and other sensitive habitat for the 1 – 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake each year.
https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514

Manzanar War Relocation Cente
https://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm
Wilderness Librarian
Posts: 255
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

Never been to the area but sometime would like to go using this map as one of my principal guides.

https://www.benchmarkmaps.com/product/h ... -lone-pine
Topic Author
bogledogle
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by bogledogle »

quantAndHold wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:08 am Yosemite is requiring reservations this summer. Make sure you get them if you plan to go there, or you’ll get turned away at the entrance.
Yes, I managed to get a reservation that week a while ago. I hope the reservation system will prevent traffic in the park.
Topic Author
bogledogle
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by bogledogle »

Thanks for all the suggestions folks. Please keep em coming :sharebeer
Topic Author
bogledogle
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by bogledogle »

IMO wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:03 pm EXPLORING HOT CREEK GEOLOGIC SITE
https://www.visitmammoth.com/trip-ideas ... ogic-site/

The reserve was established to preserve the spectacular "tufa towers," calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. It also protects the lake surface itself as well as the wetlands and other sensitive habitat for the 1 – 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake each year.
https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514

Manzanar War Relocation Cente
https://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm
Yes, all the lakes are on the agenda - been to all the popular ones when we visited last time. Mono lake looked like a nice setup for a sci-fi movie when I first saw it.
Topic Author
bogledogle
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by bogledogle »

Dollarsign16 wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:23 am HWY 158 - the June Lake Loop.

Scenic, great fishing opportunities… slammed them during the opening weekend this year at Gull and June Lakes.

Also agree Bodie is a cool place to check out if you haven’t been.
Yes, June lake loop is where I expect us to walk around. I am hoping it will be hot enough for the trout to hang out in the shady areas right next to the bank. Please PM me what lures work best :)
BBQ Nut
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:19 am

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by BBQ Nut »

We did the Mammoth Lakes area in 2019 before the pandemic.

Lots of good ideas - just thought I'd add in Earthquake Fault trailhead continuing on to Postpile Nat'l Monument if you are into some scenic hiking.

Convict Lake was gorgeous - the trail on the left hand side going clockwise has a bit more shade
User avatar
wabbott
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:55 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by wabbott »

bogledogle wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:24 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:08 am Yosemite is requiring reservations this summer. Make sure you get them if you plan to go there, or you’ll get turned away at the entrance.
Yes, I managed to get a reservation that week a while ago. I hope the reservation system will prevent traffic in the park.
An early start to Yosemite on the days you visit will pay off. Our early June visit caught a three hour delay at the South Entrance around Noon. They check your reservation, record your license plate, and give you a windshield sticker. And they were short-handed.
User avatar
WoodSpinner
Posts: 2145
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by WoodSpinner »

LinearRange wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:18 am I assume you're entering Yosemite from the eastern side on 120. You should definitely check out Mono Lake - very odd scenery and interesting ecology. It's right on the way.

The Mono Lake Visitors Center is right off of 395 in Lee Vining. It has some good exhibits. From the visitors center there are nice views of the lake. It doesn't require much walking.
Check out the South Tufa area of Mono Lake (it’s well before the visitor center) coming from the south.

Enjoy a meal at the Whoa Nellie Deli right near the 120 turnoff in Lee Vinning
Whoa Nellie Deli
(760) 647-1088
https://goo.gl/maps/GiRHqpmgq6zM549a8


WoodSpinner
User avatar
cartophile
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:52 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by cartophile »

Fossil Falls is definitely worth a quick stop if you're on that part of 395.

In double-checking the name, I found this web site with a list of 395 attractions:
https://californiathroughmylens.com/hig ... 5-roadtrip
User avatar
WoodSpinner
Posts: 2145
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by WoodSpinner »

cartophile wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:41 am Fossil Falls is definitely worth a quick stop if you're on that part of 395.

In double-checking the name, I found this web site with a list of 395 attractions:
https://californiathroughmylens.com/hig ... 5-roadtrip
Excellent site! Learned a few new spots to check out.
paintprimer
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:15 pm

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by paintprimer »

Better than Convict Lake is the lake basin out of Little Lakes Trailhead. The hike starts at 10,000 feet, but is an easy way into the back country. Very, very beautiful. Easy enough to take young children.
YoungLion
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:16 am

Re: Mammoth Lakes & HWY 395 - What to do?

Post by YoungLion »

Saddlebag Lake and the 20 Lakes Basin is a beautiful area. About a mile east of the east entrance to Yosemite on the Tioga Road, take Saddlebag Lake Road a couple miles right to the lake.

There is an 8 mile loop hike, but you can cut that in half with a boat ride across Saddlebag Lake. Lots of pretty lakes here (Greenstone, Steelhead, Odell, others). And North Peak looms large. I'd hike counterclockwise. You're at elevation but it's pretty level. Very enjoyable.

People fish here too. More crowded than it use to be. Word has gotten out.
Post Reply