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Adventure Guide: Mammoth Lakes, California


Want to gaze in awe at majestic snow-capped peaks? Looking to get your heart pounding on a breathtaking hiking trail? Whatever outdoor adventure you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Mammoth Lakes, California. This place is constantly rated as one of the best adventure destinations in the United States.

If you visit the area, you can stay at any one of the several hotels or resorts. But if you’re looking to experience nature and adventure to the fullest, stay in your campervan! Mammoth Lakes is the perfect destination for parking and camping in your adventure ride.

In this post, we’ll talk more about the reasons why Mammoth Lakes is an ideal place for vancamping! We’ll discuss where to stop on the drive over, the best outdoor activities in the area, and even some tips for making the most of your trip!

About Mammoth Lakes

No matter the time of year, Mammoth Lakes is an outdoor mecca. During the winter months, people come from all over the world to shred the powder at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Other popular winter activities include snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and sledding. In the summer months, hikers and bikers experience hundreds of incredible trails. People also camp, fish, and eat outside at the cozy local restaurants.

Mammoth Lakes is a gorgeous mountain town located in the Eastern Sierra region of California. It’s less than an hour drive from Yosemite National Park and about five hours from Los Angeles. With a population of only about 8,000 people, this quaint town is peaceful, relaxing, and perfect for a little getaway—especially in your campervan!

Stopping Along the Way

Traveling to Mammoth Lakes in your van is a great idea! But while this area offers tons of adventure opportunities, you should stop at a few destinations on the drive over.

Keep reading to learn where to stop along the way:

Heading North

If you’re headed north towards Mammoth Lakes, consider stopping at a few gorgeous spots in Arizona and California. First, you can’t pass up Sedona, AZ. With several epic trails, this place is a hiker’s dream. Also, you have to check out Grand Canyon National Park.

In California, consider stopping at Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. From massive trees to skyscraping peaks, these areas offer plenty of outdoor experiences!

Traveling West

When you’re headed west towards Mammoth Lakes, consider stopping in Las Vegas. It’ll be your chance to experience the vibrant city life before spending time in the remote wilderness. You may also consider stopping at the many national parks in Utah. Zion and Bryce Canyon are among the most popular!

Driving South

A southern drive to Mammoth Lakes also provides a lot of adventure. Yosemite is just to the northwest of the area, which features some of the most dramatic views on the planet! And if you want to witness the beauty of a crystal-clear mountain lake, stop by Lake Tahoe. You won’t believe the clarity of the water!

Heading East

If you’re headed from the Bay Area in California, make sure you stop at one of the many delicious restaurants. Also, if you enjoy a good glass of wine, Napa Valley is the place to be. And if you find yourself on the coast in Monterey, you can’t miss the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Activities in Mammoth Lakes—A Jewel in the Sierras!

Once you arrive in Mammoth Lakes, get ready for a vacation you’ll never forget. Whether you want to relax at a peaceful campground or get your blood flowing on a steep hiking trail, you’re in the right place!

Take a look at the top adventure activities in the area:

Hiking & Backpacking

These activities may be the most popular in Mammoth Lakes—and there are plenty of trails to enjoy! These routes meander through massive mountain ranges, with gorgeous lakes and jagged peaks at every turn. You’ll also find an abundance of wildflowers, waterfalls, and thriving wildlife. Whether you prefer a peaceful stroll through a meadow or a challenging hike up a peak, Mammoth Lakes has it all.

Some of the most popular trails in the area include:

  • Crystal Lake Trail
  • Convict Lake Loop Trail
  • Valentine Lake Trail
  • Devils Postpile Loop

These trails offer some of the most phenomenal views in the country. If you want a long backpacking trip, check out a section of the John Muir Trail—or hike the whole thing at 211 miles!


Biking is another loved activity in the area. You can either mountain bike through challenging forest terrain or take your wheels to the road. No matter what option you choose, magical mountain views will accompany your ride. A few awesome mountain biking trails to check out include Knolls Loop, Inyo Craters Loop, and Mountain View Trail. If you’re more into road biking, stop by Horseshoe Lake Loop, Lakes Basin Path, or Mammoth Scenic Loop.


As soon as you drive into Mammoth Lakes, you’ll be blown away at the scenery! However, there are plenty of other sights to see.

Here are some of the area’s best sightseeing destinations, and they’re all a short drive from town:

  • Yosemite National Park
  • Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls National Monument
  • Mono Lake
  • Bodie State Historic Park
  • Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
  • Mt. Whitney
  • Mammoth Lakes Basin

With so much epic scenery in one area, crazy views are everywhere—even at the campgrounds!


Looking to scale up a rock wall? If so, Mammoth Lakes has some incredible climbing and mountaineering opportunities. You can even go ice climbing! If you’re new to the area, consider hiring a local guide.

Here are some of the classic climbing routes in the area:

  • Weapon of Choice
  • Wild Will’s Arete
  • Cromagnon
  • Black Lassie
  • Driller Instinct

Luckily, many climbing routes in Mammoth Lakes are close to the campgrounds!


Ready to cozy up by the fire? With tons of camping opportunities in and around Mammoth Lakes, your camping adventure is out there waiting. Whether you have an RV, campervan, or just a small tent, there are plenty of options to unwind and relax.

Here are some awesome campgrounds in the town of Mammoth Lakes:

  • Camp High Sierra
  • New Shady Rest Campground
  • Old Shady Rest Campground
  • Mammoth Mountain RV Park

These camping areas are close to several outdoor activities, and they all include stunning views!

Skiing & Snowboarding

Many people consider Mammoth Mountain Ski Area the best resort in the nation. And we can’t blame them! The mountain is massive, the snow is great, and people are having the time of their lives. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area features over 3,500 acres of skiable terrain. There’s also a vertical rise of 3,100 feet, which will have you flying! If you’re looking for something smaller and less busy, check out the nearby June Mountain Ski Area.

Travel Tips

Visiting Mammoth Lakes can be a trip of a lifetime. However, you’ll want to keep some things in mind to make the most of your adventure.

Take a look at the following Mammoth Lakes travel tips:

  • Prepare for the cold: Pack insulated clothes and bring extra layers—especially during the winter!
  • Avoid town during rush hour: While Mammoth Lakes is a small town, it can still get busy. Consider shopping or walking around during off-peak hours.
  • Carry chains: You never know when the roads will ice over!
  • Bring sunscreen: With over 300 days of sunshine every year, Mammoth Lakes gets bright and sunny!

Keep these tips in mind to have a memorable trip in this outdoor paradise.


Take a look at the following links and locations of some of the area’s best attractions:

Hiking Trails
Ski Areas

Hidden Gems

Looking for something off the beaten path? Check out these hidden gems around Mammoth Lakes:

  • McGee Creek
  • Obsidian Dome
  • Bodie Ghost Town

With so much outdoor adventure in Mammoth Lakes, we bet you can’t wait to hit the road! While you’re planning your journey, check out the wide selection of available campervans here at Rec Van. We can help make this adventure an unforgettable experience!