Mammoth Lakes isn’t called Mammoth LAKES for no reason. Just make your way to the Lakes Basin and you’ll see what I mean. The Lakes Basin embodies everything that attracts thousands of visitors to this beautiful area every year. From boating and fishing to hiking and horseback riding, there is something for everyone. The first gem of the lakes basin is the Twin Lakes Waterfall. The waterfall flows into Twin Lakes which are perfect for fishing and site seeing. Twin Lakes even hosts an amazing restaurant, Lakefront Restaurant, to finish the day.
Next, you’ll see Lake Mary. I remember fishing on the shoreline at this picturesque lake with my dad and sister when we were little. As my sister and I were playing with the worms that were supposed to be used for bait, my dad called us over to check out the bear cubs that were fishing down shore from where we were. If you are interested in fishing and checking out the wildlife, Lake Mary is the place to go. At one of the two marinas for boat rentals, you can rent pontoons, pedal boats, row boats, motor boats, canoes, and kayaks.
Continue up the road and you’ll reach another lake at about 9,000ft in elevation. Lake George is great since most of the shoreline can be fished while taking in one of the best views the basin has to offer. Rent some paddleboards in town or kayaks at Lake Mary and spend the day out on the lake. Lake George also has some rocks that you can jump off of into the lake if you’re up for an adventure!
If fishing isn’t for you, there are plenty of other things to do up in the Lakes Basin. Bring your bikes, or rent some bikes and take the new trail that loops around Horseshoe Lake and overlooks the town for some spectacular views and some fun exercise. Horseback riding is an additional way to spend your day with horseback riding lessons and horseback tours available at the Pack Outfit. They have trail guides and offer trails for different levels of expertise.
The Lakes Basin is also a great place for some of the best hiking in California. Be sure to grab a trail guide and head up for some awesome hikes. Hike out of Coldwater up to Arrowhead Lake for some great views, nature, and some cliff jumping. If this hike isn’t long enough for you, keep going past Arrowhead up to Skelton Lake, then Barney Lake, and even up to Duck Lake at the base of Duck Pass.
If you want to bring your dogs up to Mammoth, head past Lake George on up to Horseshoe Lake. Take a walk around and check out the dead trees and the old mining cabins that surround the lake. Horseshoe Lake is also great for paddle boarding, kayaking, and even swimming while you enjoy the scenery. There is also a great, fifteen minute hike up to McLeod Lake, perfect for dogs and kids.
There are tons of fun things to do up at the Lakes Basin. Pack a lunch or stop by the marinas to grab some sandwiches for a picnic at one of the lakes with your group and make a day out of it! Don’t forget your camera, sunscreen and bug spray!