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Photos courtesy of Lyman Public Relations.
If you haven’t heard already, there’s a whole other side to this mountain town of Mammoth Lakes.
Many flock here for the powder snow and plethora of ski trails, but what about the hotter half of the year? Get your shorts, sunscreen, tennis shoes and party hats on—from spring to fall, this place is packed with festivals, food and wine events, and extraordinary outdoor adventuring. Here’s a list of reasons to visit the Eastern Sierra sans skis.
1. MOUNTAIN BIKING
No matter what level of cycler you may be, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park blankets the entire mountain—over 80 miles—with trails that will, literally, take your breath away. No wonder Outside Magazine ranked it as the “#1 Bike Park in America.” Begin your two-wheeled expedition at the Adventure Center where you’ll find tickets, rentals, repairs and retail. From here, you’ll be able to access beginner terrain (the Pioneer Practice Loop is amazing for kids) on Discovery Chair or take the Panorama Gondola to the mid-station or summit for intermediate-advanced terrain with some heart-pumping downhills.
Village at Mammoth Mall Summer.
2. THE WESTIN MONACHE RESORT
With it’s prime location, the Westin is just steps from The Village at Mammoth offering great shopping, restaurants, activities for kids, and more. The rooms are spotless and the décor exemplifies modern-meets-rustic; not to mention the resort is pet-friendly, has free local shuttle service, houses a 24-hour fitness facility, and pleases the masses with an outdoor heated pool. Did I mention its in-house Whitebark Restaurant, Bar and Lounge? I’ll get to that in a second.
Whitebark Restaurant, Bar and Lounge
3. MAMMOTH FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE
Taking place July 11-12 this year, the fourth annual event will feature seminars on both Friday and Saturday with wine experts and star chefs. Highlights for this year’s “experience” include the “Best-of-the-Best” Burger Battle, a Friday night wine walk at The Village amidst live entertainment, multiple options to dine with high-profile chefs, and on Saturday—the Grand Tasting featuring wineries pouring over 120 wines, dishes from five teams of culinary students from prestigious schools, and food prepared by star chefs. Tickets are available for purchase beginning March 1 at mammothfoodandwine.org.
4. WORLD-CLASS TROUT FISHING
Mammoth Lakes is world-renowned for trout fishing, especially considering the beauty surrounding you and your fishing pole! You can fish from shore, float tube an alpine lake, or rent a boat and find a stretch of water to call your own. McCoy Sports in The Village and the Adventure Center at the Main Lodge have all the gear you need for a day of angling. As well, you can find professional guides to show you the way to where the fish are biting. To download a fishing map of the area, visit mammothmountain.com.
5. 19TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF BEERS & BLUESAPALOOZA
One of Mammoth’s biggest events, in addition to Mammoth Fest, this four-day festival (July 31-August 3) showcases the finest craft breweries in the country and top blues performers. Started by Sam Walker, the event is recognized as one of the best beer and blues festivals in the U.S. This year, the line-up includes names such as Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Tab Benoit, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Niki Hill and more. For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit mammothbluesbrewsfest.com.
Mammoth Adventure Center
6. ADVENTURE CENTER
The Mammoth Adventure Center is your portal to fun—for both kids and adults! The Center includes the aforementioned world-class bike park, breathtaking views, and an interpretive center at the summit of Mammoth Mountain. At the base—for just $40 (per person; all-day pass)—let your kids loose on the “ultimate mountain playground” that boasts a rock climbing wall, zip line, bungee trampoline and more. Also from the Adventure Center, catch the daily shuttle to the magical destinations of Devils Postpile National Monument, Rainbow Falls, and Reds Meadow, just over the shoulder of Mammoth Mountain in the San Joaquin River Valley. Call 800-626-6684 for more information or to purchase tickets in advance.
7. GUILTLESS DINING
While not all vacations are alike, a trip to this mecca of nature doesn’t have to include salt, butter and preservative-laden meals. Mammoth not only preserves the health of its natural surroundings, but it also aims to keep its visitors in prime physical condition. While you can certainly indulge here, take for example the “world-famous” coconut mascarpone pancake at Toomey’s at The Village (OMGoodness...so heavenly!), there are also numerous other options for a feel-good meal. For breakfast, or to recharge after a day of biking, hiking and fishing, The Green V embraces the slow-food movement and offers juices, bars, salads, soups and entrées with options for vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free folks. For lunch, try Campo, one of Esquire Magazine’s 2012 “Best New Restaurants in America,” serving up the best in organic, local and seasonal ingredients on their menu of homemade pizzas, pastas and more. For dinner, Whitebark Restaurant, Bar and Lounge is where it’s at. Good food, that is. The all-natural cooking style combines classical French, European and Asian flavors with local fares to bring out the “true beauty of various cuisines.” The innovative dining options now include a new sushi menu, perfect for “cool” eating in warmer temps.
Toomey’s at The Village
8. AU NATUREL HOT TUBBING
No, I’m not referring to what may have happened back in college; instead, think: soaking in a Mother-Earth-designed spa surrounded by the aura of nature. Word to the wise, keep your clothes on—you can get ticketed for “tubbing” in the nude. Hilltop Tub is probably the best-known, most popular site to enjoy the natural hot water sourced from mountain hot springs. In the summer you can drive basically right up to the tub. Exposing probably the best view in the valley, you sit on a small hilltop perch with a 360-degree view of what some call “the world.” Other natural hot spring areas to check out are Hot Creek (no tubbing here), Wild Willy’s, and Crab Cooker.