Visiting Mammoth Mountain, California

Latest visit: February 2020

Tips for visiting Mammoth Mountain:

  • If you’re driving: plan a good 5 hour drive from the South Bay to Mammoth. You will hit traffic on the 405 but once you are off that main freeway, the drive gets more scenic and less crowded (unless you’re driving up when they are forecasting a snowstorm!). Here are a few stops that were recommended to me:
    • Indian Wells Brewing Company: microbrewery and restaurant
    • Seasons: French restaurant in Lone Pine
    • in Bishop:
      • Schats bakery: perfect place to stop for the tastiest sandwich you’ll ever eat. You can buy roadtrip provisions such as chocolate, pastries, ice cream, coffee, breads of all kinds, nuts, honey, jams… basically anything you want for your drive and stay in Mammoth. 
      • Black Sheep coffee roasters: I spotted this on our drive in and I think it would be another great stop for a tasty cappuccino, a pastry… or even a beer!
      • Keough’s Hot springs: enjoy a few hours (or days- they are now offering Rustic Furnished Tent Cabins as well as regular camping and RVs) in this 1919 established Hot spring attraction. 
      • There were so many cute towns and places I wanted to stop at along the drive. I’d strongly recommend taking more time than the 5 hours and just leisurely drive up and stop along the way in multiple places.
    • If you’re flying: one way flight is one hour and 15 minutes and the cost is about $200-300 outside of peak times.
    • Where to stay: 
      • Airbnb: multiple options ranging from a room or full apartment starting at $70 a night to a luxury home at $1000 a night. There is something for everyone!
      • Hotels: a lot of options available in Mammoth for various price ranges.
        • Marriott : The Westin Monache Resort offers rooms starting at $230 (low season) to $600+ (high season) or 60K-70K Marriott Bonvoy points per night. It is also located in the Village, a short and free gondola ride away from Canyon Lodge.
      • Hostels: quite expensive, in my opinion, for $44+ dollars per night in a bed in a dormitory room when you can get an airbnb to yourself for just a little bit more money. (Moderne Hostel)
    • The mountain: 
      • The Summit elevation is 11,053ft and the base elevation is 7,953ft making the Vertical rise 3,100ft.
      • There are 2 sides to Mammoth, 3,500+ skiable acres, 150 named trails as well as 25 lifts. The lines for the lifts are very well organized
      • There are 9 lodges on the mountain with food, drinks and access to restrooms.
      • Ticket info:
        • This season the tickets were much cheaper when purchased at REI (3 day ticket bought at Mammoth= $482.46 vs REI= $324.99). You can buy them online and pick them up in store. Once you’re at the mountain, all you need to do is have it on you and walk straight to the lifts. 
        • Costco also has deals for tickets and rentals.
        • From Mammoth’s website: 
          • Get 20% off the window rate when you purchase your tickets early, plus save up to an additional 20% with a multi-day ticket. 
          • Afternoon tickets: Only available for purchase at the ticket window starting at 12:30PM and are valid for the remainder of that day. Discounted at 25% off the ticket window price for all age groups.
          • Free Skiing & Riding for Kids 4 & Under / Seniors 80+.
          • Rental : Ikon Pass holders get discounts, get more info about rentals here.
          • for more info about packages and discounts, click here.
        • Lockers: you can rent lockers for the day, or season. more info here.
      • Free Mountain Shuttle every 15-20 minutes. 
      • Mammoth also offers other activities for its guests: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, snowmobile adventures, snowcat tours and a simple gondola ride to the top of the mountain to admire the Sierra Mountains.
      • Beware of going during ski week! I got there at the end of it (on the Friday) and snowboarded on the Saturday and it was so crowded- I wouldn’t recommend going during that time!
      • The secret: Go during the week! There was NO ONE at the chairs and on the mountain. I had the whole place to myself on a Monday!
    • In Mammoth Lakes city:
      • You will find multiple restaurants, rental shops, coffee shops, the Mammoth Brewing Company.
      • Grocery stores: Vons (apparently the busiest one in the USA), Whole foods, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market and plenty of smaller markets.
      • I’d like to walk around the Village area next time. It looked very cute.
    • There is a free gondola ride up from The Village to Canyon Lodge that goes above the residential properties. See more info below about the free mountain shuttle also offered at Mammoth.
    • Next time I’m in Mammoth, I want to check out the hot springs (Wild Willy’s, The Rock Tub, Crab Cooker, Hot Creek, and more) that are right outside Mammoth Lakes, and all next to each other.

Impressions of Mammoth Mountain:

It took me 6 years to make it here and I’m so happy I finally made it. The snow conditions weren’t the best but it was still enjoyable. I would love to go back again soon when they get more snow, say after a snowstorm!

The mountain is pretty well laid out and with multiple lodges and places you can grab some food, warm up and just relax. While I was there I had a few mid day drinks on the outside patio at the Mill which was very sunny and enjoyable. The breakfast and lunch selection at the Canyon Lodge was also quite impressive. You can get anything from Mexican food to burgers, to a salad bar to Asian fusion type bowls. This is also where you’ll want to hang out for an Après Ski drink with Live music on certain days.

I would also love to spend more time in the city to check out the cute stores, restaurants and of course, the coffee shops.

One last thing, I definitely want to come back in the summer to hike in the area. The views are absolutely stunning and I’ve heard the trails are gorgeous. I also heard there is also a July 4th party at ‘The Summit’ of Mammoth Mountain but couldn’t find much on it online for 2020. That has to be EPIC!

Related posts: Visiting Mountain High, Visiting Big Bear Mountain.