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5 Tips For Your First Trip To Mammoth Mountain

Explore one of California's most incredible mountain destinations.

By: Sarah Saturday + Save to a List

This year’s El Nino has been getting everyone out on the slopes and with February coming to a close, there’s no better time to get out there and shred. Mammoth Mountain has received over 257” of powder so far this season and there’s no sign of it slowing down. If it’s your first time in Mammoth, check out these 5 tips that will make your experience one for the books.

1. Take the Panorama Gondola to the summit.

Take the Panorama Gondola to the Summit of Mammoth Mountain | Photo: Mammoth Mountain

At a staggering 11,053 feet above sea level, Mammoth Mountain’s summit boasts gorgeous views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Regardless of your skiing or boarding ability, you should check this place out. You can take the Panorama Gondola to Mammoth’s peak from either the Main Lodge or McCoy Station. From the top, enjoy a frosty beverage at the Eleven53 Cafe or step outside to take in the view. It’s worth the trip just for the views, but if you’re up for it, consider traversing down the famous Cornice Bowl or journey to the backside of the mountain (my personal favorite spot!).

2. Make a trip to the nearby hot springs.

Camp at Wild Willy’s Hot Spring | Photo: Greg Balkin

There’s no better feeling than relaxing your sore muscles in a hot bath after a long day of shredding on the mountain. While many of Mammoth’s lodging options provide jacuzzis, a far better option is the natural hot springs that are just south of Mammoth. A short drive down the I-395 will lead you to a collection of both manmade and natural hot spring tubs that harness geothermal spring water, allowing them to stay hot all year round. One of the largest and most popular hot springs tubs is Wild Willy’s Hot Spring, where locals and tourists alike go to relax after a long day on the hill.

3. Catch a Mammoth sunset.

Photograph Lake Mary | Photo: Tiff Nguyen

If you’re not too tired from a full day of riding on the mountain, head to one of Mammoth’s many viewpoints and hiking trails to catch a gorgeous view of the sunset. El Nino storms have kept the surrounding mountains covered in snow, making for a beautiful image of the Eastern Sierra at dusk. Ask locals at the mountain for hidden trails and lookout points scattered throughout Mammoth Lakes for the best views of a winter sunset.

4. Take advantage of all the possible activities.

Tubing at Woolly’s Tube Park | Photo: Mammoth Mountain

If skiing or snowboarding the slopes isn’t your thing, don't worry, there are plenty of other things to keep you busy. Try exploring some of Mammoth’s amazing scenery by cross-country skiing, take the whole family for a fun day of tubing, or bundle up and cast a few lines at Convict Lake. Tamarack Lodge near Twin Lakes offers gorgeous trails for cross-country skiing, and on a cold day, you can snowshoe across the frozen Lake Mary and through the surrounding areas. It is a good idea to check in with the lodge to learn about potential avalanche danger or learn about guided tours before you set out on your own.

5. Explore June Lake.

Explore June Lake | Photo: Pine Watt

Mammoth’s sister mountain, June Mountain, is perfect for families or beginners looking to avoid the crowds at Mammoth Mountain. June Mountain is located about 20 miles north of Mammoth on the I-395, and this quaint little town is situated around the beautiful June Lake. June Lake Brewing Company, a locally owned craft brewery with a great atmosphere, is also definitely worthy of a visit.

Mammoth Mountain offers amazing snow coverage, runs for people of all ages and riding abilities, and an energetic atmosphere, so rally the crew and start making your plans today!

Cover photo: Tiff Nguyen

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