Trips that are not planned often turn out to be the most memorable ones :). We badly wanted to get away for some uninterrupted family time so this past long weekend we made a last minute decision to drive up to Mammoth Lakes. We knew we may hit a few thunderstorms, and some chilly weather but we were desperate to go to a place away from the crowds. Our only goal was to get in quality family time and we couldn’t have been happier with how the weekend at Mammoth panned out. From biking to beaches to hiking, Mammoth Lakes has plenty to offer for adults and kids alike. Here’s some of our picks that would make a Mammoth Lakes a great family getaway!
Biking the Lake Basin Path – My 4 year old is learning how to bike with his training wheels and we took his bike with us thinking we’ll find a trail where he can bike, the only glitch was that because the trip was unplanned, we had no idea that we weren’t going to be able to keep the promise of letting him bike on his own! When we got our bike rentals, we realized that our tot wasn’t ready to bike the slopes of Mammoth so we rented a trailer and took the free shuttle all the way to Pokonobe Lodge (we skipped Horseshoe lake since we hiked there the previous day). We drove our bikes downhill (thankfully) about 4.5 miles making various stops (Lake Mary, Lava Tube Lookout, Tamarack Lodge, lunch stop at Twin Lakes and all way down the bike path back to Mammoth Village). I guess at the end of our half day bike adventure, my son realized that the trailer was way better than riding his own bike.
June Lake Beach Fun – Sand, shallow waters, sunshine and spectacular views is what you get by taking the 20 minute drive to June Lake! It was a perfect relaxing afternoon to help us wind down from the biking around the Lake Basin that morning 😉 Don’t forget to take a swimming costume if you are making the trip in summer, June Lake is one of the few swimmable lakes in the area.
Horseshoe Lake Picnic Hike – Our first morning in Mammoth Lakes, we wanted to pick a hike that would be easy for our toddler so we choose McLeod Lake. Unfortunately the trail to McLeod Lake was covered in a bit of snow, so we turned around half way on the trail and decided to hang out by Horseshoe Lake. From Lake Mamie to Twin Falls Overlook, there are plenty of picturesque spots on that particular part of Lake Basin path to just sit and relax.
Inyo Crater Hike – It’s a happy moment when your toddler tells you the day after the hike to see the 2 craters that he “really enjoyed going up the mountain to see the crater”, and that “it was really fun” and that “we should find more craters and hike up the mountain to see them”! I think it’s the time of the year we made the trip, the trail hardly had any crowd. My son boasts that he completed the hike on his own, making it special for us ;). To be honest, he did make us carry him for a short time on the way back downhill, but the fact that he would like more of these is music to our ears 😀
Hot Creek Geothermal Site / Hatchery – About 10 minutes from Mammoth Lakes is a hot creek geothermal site, which also has a trout hatchery. The colorful landscape made it a fun downhill walk and a quick halt in the evening after our coffee break.
Mono Lake South Tufas – On our way back home, we decided to hike the South Tufa trail at Mono Lake. This was my toddler’s least favorite part of the trip because he couldn’t go inside the water like June Lake beach, but nevertheless, adding the word Tufa to his vocabulary was the highlight of our hour long stop. It’s certainly worth a stop for the older kids and adults who are able to understand and appreciate the science behind the tufas.
Since we made the trip end of May, Devils post pile was closed and some of the other hikes family friendly hikes like McLeod Lake were covered with snow, so we’ll save that for another fall trip some year. But all in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our much needed family getaway 🙂