Awesome in scale and with natural beauty in abundance, Mammoth Lakes, California remains one of America’s best kept secrets. As well as offering a huge selection of cultural events throughout the year, it’s also the chosen destination (and home) for many of the world’s finest athletes. From music and yoga festivals to horse drives and ice climbing, here are seven of the most unmissable events and activities in Mammoth Lakes.
1 – Rock out
Summer and outdoor live music go hand in hand, and there’s nothing like listening to music surrounded by stunning snow-peaked mountains. Mammoth Lakes has no shortage of festival options, from jazz and reggae to classical and rock. For jazz fans, try Mammoth Jazzfest, a weekend of wine walks, jazz acts and food and drink. For rock enthusiasts, Mammoth Rock N Rye – a colourful celebration of arts, culture and spirits – is a must.
How: Mammoth Rock and Rye runs from 30 August to 1 September; admission is free
2 – Join a horse drive
Celebrate tradition on a fast-paced and exciting mission, as you move herds of horses and mules like the cowboys during California’s Gold Rush. This five-day drive – which follows many of the same trails used by cowboys of the past – includes camping along the trails with full-service campsites as well as hearty meals. When the sun sets and the stock is settled for the night, the evenings are filled with campfires, entertainment and camaraderie as you relax after a day in the saddle.
How: A five-day tour with Mammoth Pack starts from $1290 per person; 15-20 June 2019.
3 – Scale frozen waterfalls
Whether you’re a novice looking to experience the thrill of your first climb or an expert seeking a challenge, Mammoth Lakes provides a range of terrains for an exhilarating rock climbing experience. Not for the faint-hearted, there is the option to try ice climbing during winter (which can often run from November to July), picking your way up a frozen waterfall with crampons and axes.
How: Rock climbing – From $200 for one person ($85 each additional) for 4 hours with Ground Climbing Guides in the summer. Ice Climbing – From $170 for one person for 1 day on the ice with Sierra Mountain Centre in the winter.
4 – Find your zen
Draw inspiration from the tall peaks of the Eastern Sierra and healing energy from nature and take your yoga practice outside. Set in California’s spectacular high sierra, the Mammoth Yoga Festival draws yogis from all over the world and includes a weekend of mediation, yoga, speaking panels, live music and artisan markets. This year’s keynote speaker is Cheryl Strayed, the author of the #1 New York Time’s Bestseller Wild.
How: From $350 for a 3 Day Pass with Mammoth Yoga Festival, 13-16 June 2019.
5 – It has some of the best running trails in the world
A region favoured by athletes from all over the world for its high altitude and challenging verticals trails and multi-sport diversity, Mammoth Lakes, California offers incredible scenery and an abundance of trails along with a healthy running community for active travellers to explore. Legendary track coaches Joe Virgil and Bob Larsen brought marathon superstars to the region in 2001 and ever since, it has become the home of the most decorated distance running club in the U.S, training 12 Olympians who have earned two Olympic medals as well as three major marathon wins. There’s an endless list of trails – including the magnifying Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow Falls and Thousand Island Lake.
6 – Take a luxury snow ride
Take a ride on a Snowcat for one of the most unique excursions in the region. Experience the beautiful backcountry from the heated comfort of a luxury snowcat, an enclosed truck-sized cab designed for snow. Witness unparalleled views of Mammoth Lakes’ signature skyline and picnic atop a mountain and indulge in a charcuterie board, paired with a glass of wine and chocolate covered strawberries.
How: From $89 per adult Friday-Sunday & Select Holidays with Mammoth Mountain.
7 – Sample brews by the infamous Mammoth Brewing Co.
Located in the heart of the village, Mammoth Brewing Company has been brewing award-winning beer since 1995. Pints are available year-round with a beer garden during the summer months. With bottled beers, growlers and kegs on sale, Mammoth Brewing Company is the perfect place to stop for a taste of local flavour. Try a year-round brew like the piney Yosemite Pale Ale or a more seasonal brew, a medium-bodied Blondibock.
Getting there: United Airlines offers return flights from London Heathrow to Mammoth Lakes – changing in Los Angeles International Airport – from £900 return per person.