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Mammoth Lakes


The city of Mammoth Lakes, California, and nearby Mammoth Mountain draw visitors in search of natural beauty and outdoor activities. The big mountain and small town are tucked into the rugged scenery of Northern California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. Close to both Yosemite and Mono Lake, Mammoth is surrounded by miles of national forest that shield it from the rest of the world. However isolated it may feel, Mammoth is serious about tourism. Many leisure activities and plenty of accommodations options in a variety of price ranges draw visitors throughout the year. Mammoth Yosemite Airport provides seasonal service to Mammoth Lakes. The nearest major airport is Reno/Tahoe International Airport.

When To Go

Mammoth is busiest from late November to late April, when the entire mountain is open for skiing and snowboarding. Though summer is also busy, visitors tend to spread out into campgrounds and the backcountry, creating the feeling of a quieter season. There's a shoulder season in late spring as the ski season winds down, and another in fall when the mountain bike park is closed and the ski resort has not yet opened.

high season: lateNovember to late-April, July to August
low season: September to October
shoulder season: May to June

Weather Information

Snow and cold temperatures stretch from early November through April. December through March is typically the snowiest season, with the best snow in January and February. Temperatures usually range from the 20s to the 40s. Mammoth receives an average of 400 inches of snow per year and 300 sunny days. In late April, May, and early June the weather warms up into the 60s, which is ideal for spring skiing. It's not uncommon for the ski season to stretch all the way to the Fourth of July. From late June to early September, the weather is usually sunny and temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees. In late September, temperatures begin to cool down again. Late October and early November can bring unpredictable weather.

Crowd Information

Mammoth is most crowded in winter, especially during holidays. The busiest times are during Thanksgiving break, the two weeks around Christmas, Presidents' Day Weekend, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, spring break, and August.

Closure Information

Some activities and restaurants may close during the spring and fall lulls. Some restaurants close for summer, while summer spots may close prior to winter in October.

When to Save

During September and October before the snow starts, accommodations often cost less. Bargains can also be found early in the ski season, from November to just before Christmas, and again in January. During winter, midweek is less expensive, with discounts on lodgings and lift tickets during nonholiday periods. During most of the summer season, lodgings are less expensive, and summer also brings the chance to camp for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room.

When to Book

Book six months to a year in advance for holiday periods. Book three months in advance for winter weekends. For midweek stays and visits in less busy seasons, two weeks is usually sufficient, though booking farther ahead of time can mean a better selection. Information provided by the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau and the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.