Travelling to off-beat destinations and experiencing the great outdoors is one of the key post-pandemic travel trends. Mammoth Lakes in California is an ideal choice to visit as there are tons of activities that let travellers practice social distancing while allowing them to spend and enjoy the company of their loved ones in relative safety. If you haven’t visited Mammoth Lakes yet, here is a list of outdoor activities you can undertake that will make your post-pandemic family vacation an unforgettable one!
HIKING FOR ALL
Hiking is a favorite family pastime for locals and visitors! It’s a great way to get out and experience the amazing landscape. There are countless hiking opportunities available in the area for all abilities. With an elevation gain of only 300 feet, the hike to McLeod Lake is one of the easiest and most rewarding hikes in the area and well-suited to young children. Look for the trailhead at Horseshoe Lake and note the tree kill areas.
Convict Lake is another trail that offers a great reward for little effort, perfect for getting kids hooked on hiking! At 2.7 miles round trip with almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain, the hike to Crystal Lake is more challenging but well worth the effort. Because it climbs steeply up a number of switchbacks and has some steps up to 14 inches tall, it’s probably best suited to kids at least 7 and up.
EXHILARATING ROCK CLIMBING
Mammoth Lakes offers a vast array of opportunities for families looking to climb together in the Eastern Sierra. From easy accessibility via bouldering to challenging multi-pitch routes, the scenery and variety will leave everyone happy. Many families who climb with their children like to start their kids out on the slabs behind Horseshoe Lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. For bouldering, another favorite is The Catacombs behind Crowley Lake overlooking the Owen’s Gorge.
If you need any help assessing your family member’s abilities or have a mixed group and want a private excursion to fit your group, you can check out the guided climbs and camps available from local guide services.
SCENIC BIKING TRAILS
Mammoth Lakes offers an abundance of options for family biking. From gentle dirt trails to scenic paved routes, you'll find something for the entire family. The Town Loop Trail is a paved path with a few gentle rolling hills and stunning scenery of Mammoth Mountain, The Sherwins and the White Mountains, across the Caldera. Its close proximity to town makes it especially convenient for families who are pressed for time. Start at Mammoth Creek Park and follow the 5-mile paved trail to Shady Rest, where you’ll find water, plenty of shade and a playground. There are also picnic tables for a family picnic.
EQUESTRIAN HORSEBACK RIDING
If you or your children have dreamed of horseback riding, in the Eastern Sierra, you’ll find many options to make those dreams come true in Mammoth Lakes and nearby areas just outside of town. You can enjoy scenic views of the Mammoth Lakes Basin with very young children at the Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit and go for longer half-and full-day trips throughout the region with older children.
The Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit is located in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and is open seasonally, mid-June through September, seven days a week, from 7:30am to 5pm. The pack outfit offers a riding option for children as young as 3-6 years old. These little riders can go on a 20-minute Walk & Lead ride on a safe and experienced horse or mule, while led by a parent or accompanying adult.
GETTING TO MAMMOTH LAKES
Mammoth Lakes may be tucked away in the Eastern Sierra, but this alpine community is surprisingly accessible. There are plenty of options for travel to Mammoth Lakes that make getting here easy and affordable. Whether you choose to fly to Mammoth Yosemite Airport, located just 10 minutes from town, or drive via the scenic Hwy. 395, you'll be out of the city and on your way to mountain adventures faster than you might expect.