A mountain resort town offering amenities and year-round mountain lake adventures.
In the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains of California, Mammoth Lakes is a popular resort town known for outdoor recreation. It’s home to Mammoth Mountain, with more than 3,500 acres, a long ski season, and summertime lift-assisted mountain biking. The surrounding region is full of scenic Alpine lakes and streams, as well as a wide network of hiking trails ideal for biking and horseback riding. Campers have choices, from RV parks with full hookups and hot showers to Inyo National Forest campgrounds perfect for tent camping and more primitive RV camping.
To stay within walking distance of town and the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, head to Inyo’s Old Shady Rest Campground or New Shady Rest Campground. West of Mammoth Mountain, the Reds Meadow Valley offers easy access to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls and six campgrounds, including Inyo’s Pumice Flat, Minaret Falls, Agnew Meadows, and Reds Meadow campgrounds. South of town is Lake Mary, the largest in the area, with boat rentals, Lake Mary Campground, and nearby Coldwater Campground. Anglers flock to Twin Lakes Campground.
North of Mammoth Lakes, June Lake Loop circles four scenic lakes with six campgrounds. Further north, the small town of Lee Vining acts as the gateway to Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake. Choose from four campgrounds near Lee Vining Creek or several higher-elevation campgrounds around Alpine lakes. In Yosemite, five other campgrounds can be found along Tioga Road, including the popular Tuolumne Meadows Campground.
South of Mammoth Lakes is Convict Lake, one of the prettiest lakes in the region. Inyo’s Convict Lake Campground offers cabins, campsites, and picnic tables for an easy camping trip. Further east, Crowley Lake and Rock Creek offer trout fishing, with Forest Service and BLM campgrounds to choose from. Further south, the town of Bishop draws climbers for the great bouldering nearby.
Winter and summer are the most popular times at Mammoth Mountain, though the area sees visitors year-round. From June to September, only campers may access Reds Meadow Valley and Devils Postpile National Monument with their own vehicle. Everyone else must use the shuttle. Spring and fall are the best times for trout fishing, while fall colors in the area are worth checking out. Winter weather can create road access issues.
No, you cannot camp anywhere in Mammoth Lakes. Camping is only allowed in designated campgrounds and specific areas. Mammoth Lakes offers a variety of camping options, including campgrounds managed by the U.S. Forest Service, private campgrounds, and RV parks. Some popular campgrounds in the area include Mammoth Lakes Campground, Red's Meadow, and Lake Mary Campground. For more camping options in Mammoth Lakes, you can explore Hipcamp.
While it is not always required to have a reservation for camping at Mammoth Lakes, it is highly recommended, especially during peak season. Many campgrounds in the area accept reservations, while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. To secure a spot and avoid disappointment, it's best to make a reservation in advance. You can find a variety of camping options in Mammoth Lakes, including cabins, lake, desert, and forest camping, on Hipcamp.
To reserve a campsite in Mammoth Lakes, you can use the following methods:
Keep in mind that popular campgrounds in Mammoth Lakes can fill up quickly, especially during the peak summer season, so it's a good idea to plan and book your campsite well in advance.
Free camping around Mammoth Lakes is available in the form of dispersed camping in the surrounding Inyo National Forest. Dispersed camping is allowed outside of developed campgrounds, and there are no facilities or amenities provided. Popular areas for dispersed camping near Mammoth Lakes include Glass Creek, Hartley Springs, and Big Springs. Keep in mind that you should practice Leave No Trace principles and follow any posted regulations when camping in these areas. For more information on camping around Mammoth Lakes, visit Hipcamp.