1. For unadulterated outdoorsy hedonism
If you’re the kind of person whose idea of a perfect holiday includes lazy lie-ins, early doors aperitifs and nights in the hotel streaming Netflix, you can stop reading now. If you’re coming to Mammoth Lakes, you’ll want to make the most of the great outdoors.
Perhaps top of Mammoth Lakes’ roster of summer outdoor activities is the Mammoth Bike Park. When the snow melts and the Californian sun starts to do its thing, Mammoth Mountain offers some of the best single track runs in the country. There’s 128 kilometres of track across 1416 hectares of alpine mountains; plenty for both wobbly beginners and death-wishers to enjoy.
For slightly slower-paced adventure, you can paddle board or kayak in one of the many lakes in the region (June and Mono Lakes being the most impressive and photogenic of the bunch), or go hiking through wildflower meadows and pine forests. Just keep half an eye out for the black bears and elusive mountain lions that roam these parts.
© Radoslaw Lecyk/Shutterstock
2. To sip beer brewed at altitude
Based 2500m above sea level, the Mammoth Brewing Company ferments the highest altitude beers on the west coast. Founded in 1995, they use straight-from-the-mountain alpine water in the brewing process, and the resulting beers are lauded as being some of the best in Western America.
The supremely hoppy Epic IPA is our pick of their brews, although at 6.5% ABV you may want to start with a lighter option. The grassy and crisp Sierra Trout Pilsner is a solid alternative, named after the golden trout that is native to the Sierra Nevada mountain waters. For those staying off the hooch, the ultra-sweet root beer should do the job.
3. And let’s not forget the winter fun
Mammoth Lakes is, first-and-foremost, a place to carve up the snow. Over the long winter the top of Mammoth Mountain gets an average of nine metres of the white stuff.
Most people come here to ski or snowboard down imaginatively named pistes such as Gremlin’s Gulch, Wipeout Chutes and Paranoid Flats, but there’s always snowshoeing, snowmobiling or dog sledding if you’re up for trying something different.
© Vivian Fung/Shutterstock
4. You can visit a real life ghost town
If you’ve ever read one of those ‘Spooky Abandoned Places’ lists online, there’s a good chance that it featured the gold mining town of Bodie – about 65 miles north of Mammoth Lakes.
In its heyday the town had a population of over 10,000, but about a century ago the gold industry began to dwindle and the locals left in their droves. Today, it is suspended in a state of arrested decay, with gold mines, banks and schools left just as they were in the early twentieth century.
The park rangers runs ghost walks on select nights, just in case the experience during the day wasn’t eerie enough for you.
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