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Road Trip Guide: 10 Awesome Adventures From LA To Mammoth Mountain

Ditch bumper-to-bumper traffic and hit the open road.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Ready to leave the stress of Los Angeles behind and escape into the mountains? An adventure-filled road trip to Mammoth Mountain may be exactly what you need. The best part about this trip is the journey is just as epic as the destination. Heading north on the 395, you’ll be sandwiched between three of California’s incredible national parks and depending on how much time you have, you could spend days just exploring the route to Mammoth. Either way, you’ll eventually make it to one of the greatest destinations for outdoor adventure in the west, so even if you only have time for a weekend strike mission to Mammoth, it'll be well worth the miles. Be sure to check out KOA for lodging along the way!

1. Photograph Mobius Arch

Photo: Tiffany Nguyen

The first stop will be the Alabama Hills area just outside Lone Pine, CA, where you can catch an amazing view of Mt. Whitney framed by Mobius Arch. This area is full of incredible rock formations and is known as a destination for many Hollywood films. If you want to spend the night and explore more, check out this adventure. Learn more.

2. Explore Racetrack Valley

Photo: Greg Harlow

You may have heard of this natural phenomenon or seen it on the Discovery channel, here’s you chance to see it for yourself. The mysterious sliding rocks are just one of many amazing places to explore in Death Valley National Park and if you have time, head to the Eureka Dunes and play in the sand. Learn more.

3. Relax at the Saline Warm Springs

Photo: Nathaniel Polta

There’s nothing like a warm pool to relax your stiff legs after sitting in the car all day long. Spend the night camping nearby, recharge your batteries, and hit the road in the morning. Learn more.

4. Explore the Owens River

Photo: Blake DeBock

The color pallet of the Owens River Valley is amazing, especially in the winter, but it’s a great place to explore all year long. If you’re looking to fish, you’re in luck. The Owens River has some quality trout fishing. Even if you don’t fish, it’s a great place to stretch your legs and take in some beautiful scenery. Learn more.

5. Camp in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Photo: Erik Sanders

Want to explore the oldest trees on earth, incredible starry skies, and ancient Indian petroglyphs? Make the detour to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and when you make your way back out of Bishop, stop by the Sky Stone. Learn more.

6. Hike to Convict Lake

Photo: Todd Gordon

Once you arrive in Mammoth, you’ll have a nearly endless supply of great hiking options. Convict Lake is an easy 3 mile loop to a beautiful lake, but if you’d rather work a little harder and catch incredible summit views, hike up to Mount Baldwin from the very same trailhead as Convict Lake. Learn more.

7. Backpack to Duck Lake

Photo: Sierra Joy Stevens Mcgeever

You came all this way to the mountains, you might as well really disconnect and get into the backcountry. Duck Lake is a great intermediate backpacking destination with beautiful backcountry campsites, alpine lakes, and wildflowers. Learn more.

8. Hike to Devils Postpile Rainbow Falls

Photo: Aaron Bird

This easy hike near Mammoth Mountain leads to a gorgeous waterfall that ought to be raging all spring long. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon relaxing and swimming (if it’s warm enough). Learn more.

9. Camp and Photograph Hot Creek

Photo: Gregg Boydston

The Mammoth area is well-known for its hot springs and because this area is BLM land, camping is easy and requires no permits or reservations. Learn more.

10. Take the Panorama Gondola to the Summit of Mammoth Mountain

Photo: Mammoth Mountain

Cap off your trip to Mammoth by heading to Mammoth Mountain and taking the Panorama Gondola to the summit for an unforgettable sunset view. Learn more.

If you want to sleep in comfort, check out some of the great places to stay in Mammoth.

Find awesome lodgings across America with KOA!

Cover photo: Blake DeBock

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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