Should you find yourself in the area of Mammoth Mountain before winter sets in, make sure to get your family on the Panoramic gondola! Ascending more than 11,000 feet, one of the most stunning 360⁰ views in the state awaits you at the top.
THE GONDOLA RIDE
Before you even get to the end of the line, you will have already sailed high over plenty of scenery to suggest you’re in a pretty spectacular location. Many riders loaded mountain bikes into the little gondolas with the intention of riding them down one of Mammoth’s trails, a prospect that led to a split vote in my family as to whether that was such a good idea. I also found myself quietly trying to picture this massive mountain in the winter months and just how much expertise a skier or snowboarder may need to find their way to the bottom.
EXPLORE MAMMOTH INTERPRETATIVE CENTER
My family had come for a history and geological lesson on the day of our ride. We received both at the mountain’s interpretative center. There were hands-on activities and opportunities to help visitors understand the geologic history and human impact on Mammoth Mountain, including a collection of small telescopes where each of the seemingly endless peaks around us were named and positioned to provide a closer look. There were also stations where it was possible to learn more about animals living in the area, native people, and snow fall. Two well informed docents also made themselves available to field questions.
NOTE: Leashed dogs are welcome on the Gondola, in the interpretive center, and the trails around the building the center resides in.
THE ADVENTURE CENTER
Although it was impossible to top that gondola ride, my kids did enjoy the Adventure Center outside the Main Lodge after their return from peaks above.
Experiences for kids include:
- Climbing walls for varied abilities
- Zip line
- Bungee trampoline
- A bike park practice loop (They start them young here and get them up on the mountain quickly!)
ANOTHER NOTABLE ADVENTURE
You can also catch the mandatory shuttle to the Devil's Postpile, an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt, from this location as well. In an effort to keep traffic to a minimum, cars are not allowed in the area while the shuttle service is operating. The shuttle is dog friendly but you will be required to purchase a muzzle before your dog can board. Shuttle fare and the muzzle together can prove costly to get a family of four. While we understand the park service feeling the need for the rule, we did not want to pay $15 for a muzzle we will never use on our Golden Retriever again.
Disclosure: My family received complimentary passes for the Panoramic Gondola in order to complete this review. My reviews are always my own opinions and are not influenced by staff or its affiliates.
Though the village is much smaller than the bigger resorts such as Vail, it does have a little bit of everything, just smaller. The kids ski activities are great, between ski school and all day ski camps, we are able to ski most of the day while our kids are having fun too! I believe the ages for ski school are 3 and up? For the younger kids, they have a day care on the mountain as well as an awesome daycare center in the village. My 4 year old walked off while we were in the village one day and he found the child care center himself, walked in and since they were nice enough to let him play until we found him, he then didn't want to leave! I can add the town is extremely safe.. No I don't generally let my 4 yr old walk the streets alone, he is just very curious and clever... And keeps us on ourtoes.
With the village Gondola taking you directly to canyon lodge, (you need your passes and gear already) it couldn't be easier to get to the slopes!
The town itself does have an outlet centerforthose that want to shop, a great campground (with pool) for those that have 5th wheels. We rented a camper and stayed at the site for a week in the spring. Though I don't suggest THAT with young kids (motor homes are just too small with active children!) the campground was perfect and with everything in walking distance (and the free busses that will also take you anywhere,including up to the mountain). The forestation is awesome, if you have a little fireman/lady in your family.. They give great tours of the firehouse and have a huge picnic at the end of July that is great fun!
Summers are beautiful in Mammoth with all of the lakes to fish, hike, camp. Getting back with nature.. And it is big enough you are not tripping on other ditty escapees.
Overall, though a bit of a drive from the LA area, Mammoth is a destination worth the time. Beautiful, clean, friendly people. Easy to navigate and child friendly (ALL children, even the old ones!)
So worth taking advantage of the annual ski pass (if bought march-April? Deep discount applies) kids under 7 ski free. Buy used gear on eBay and you are all set. It is a drive (from LA) but so worth it! Summers are great for camping, hiking, hot springs.. Winter.. Well, winter sports! The people are very friendly, generally ski towns are but this is no exception. Free busses.. Outlet shopping and the firehouse is AWESOME! If you have a little fireman/girl in the family!
Although we aren't a family of skiers, we still enjoy the being in the snow. Purchase a Scenic Gondola ride lift ticket to enjoy a 7 minute ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 feet. The views are spectacular, and the gondola ride up the slopes is both exciting in among itself and offers a great view at close-up skiers and snowboarders.
At the top of the mountain, you can enjoy the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center which offers a few hands on activities educating guests on the origin of the mountains, earthquake information and history, and archeological finds. Stationary telescopes point to various mountain peaks in the area and give you the chance to catch your bearings in a 360 panorama.
The top of this peak also has a restaurant: Top of the Sierra Café. Enjoy a snack or lunch to make the occasion even more memorable. The food is a bit pricey, but the location is unbelievable.
If you are a skier, feel free to head down the single and double black diamond courses surrounding it; in the summer, follow the Dragon's Back Trail on your bike all the way down to the Twin Falls area below.
The lift is open during both winter and summer months, weather permitting.
Disclosure: I was given complimentary Scenic Gondola lift tickets as part of my review of Mammoth Mountain. I was not required to state any particular view, and all opinions are my own.
My 6-year-old went to ski school and had a ball. To get better prices, you must reserve in advance for everything. The new Woolly's Adventure Summit was disappointing. On the day I went with my toddler, the lifts for tubing were not working and the free play area was still being set up. Can't tell anyone if this would have been a blast for my toddler. The Village is small and not very easy to navigate if you have a stroller. Granted I was in Mammoth after it had snowed a lot, but this is supposed to be a premier winter resort and charges as such. I expected that the streets would be cleared enough for more walking traffic than it was. The village also didn't have much to do in it. There are some outlet stores down Main Street but I didn't come here to shop. I was hoping for more family activities that were conveniently clustered and just couldn't find it. Bottom line: come here when the kids are older.
This is a great place to ski or snowboard - there are tons of runs at all levels, and the lessons, both group and private, are good. Do yourself a favor and put the kids in lessons - don't try to teach them yourself - they will be swooshing down the mountain in no time. Lots of nice family friendly hotels with kitchens abound and it's also a great place to mountain bike and fish in the summer.
My 5 year old took a snowboard lesson at Mammoth and my 2 year old went to the daycare for the day and both of them hda a great experience. My 2 year old didn't even remember what snow looked like and my 5 year old hadn't seen it in some time so both were very excited to be in the snow. Mammoth is just gorgeous! The ski resort is very well run and the staff is extremely helpful and friendly. There are many options for family friendly dining and lodging throughout the resort and town. Even if you aren't skiing they have ice skating, tubing and gondola rides all of which were a huge hit with my kids.
My family has had the pleasure of visiting Mammoth Mountain in both the winter and summer. It is truly like visiting two different mountains. In the winter, there are over a dozen lifts geared towards all different skill levels, making for some amazing skiing and snowboarding. They offer ski and snowboard lessons (which I will review in a separate post) to both children and adults. Even us non-skiers can enjoy the beauty of the slopes from either the comfort of the lodge cafeteria or the top of the mountain on the scenic gondola ride.
Yes, when most people think of Mammoth Mountain, they think of skiing and snowboarding. But my family recently found out there was so much to do at Mammoth Mountain in the summer.
First of all, if you mountain bike, this is the perfect vacation destination. There were mountain bikers of all ages everywhere. Trails meader down the mountain and fit all levels of skill.
Second- there is the gondola to the top. If you mountain bike, take you bikes on the gondola and head up to the top. If you have kids who can't ride bikes yet, like us, then ride the gondola up to 11K feet and hike the remaining 25 feet or so to the summit. The views are incredible!!!!! We could see all the Mammoth Lakes and even Mono Lake out in the distance. The Inyo National Forest and its dramatic Sierra peaks surrounded us and Yosemite loomed in the distance. It was amazing. There is even a restaurant at the top that is the perfect lunch time spot.
Back down below there is also a rock climbing wall and zipline specially designed for kids 12 and under. My kids weren't willing to zip but I did see kids that were probably 3 or 4 doing it! It was very cute and fun.
Mammoth Mountain is also where you can pick up the shuttle which heads down to Devil's Postpile NM and Rainbow Falls, two must sees in the area. I hope to come back in the winter and see a different side of Mammoth but I know another summer trip to this mountain paradise will be in our future.
Disclosure: Snow Creek Resort in Mammoth paid for our gondola ride at Mammoth Mountain as part of a press tour. They are not affiliated with Mammoth Mountain and did not ask that I express any particular opinion of the resort. All opinions of any activities or hotels will always be my own, honest opinion.
very near mammoth lakes, you could find a hot spring in middle of river. It is cold water when you dip into but swim to the middle, very nice temprature. There is a bath room and changing room for no cost. Some people bring their dogs and animal and kids can enjoy warm water.
Mammoth Mountain is the leading four-season mountain resort in Southern California, encompassing four day lodges, ten sports shops, nine rental/repair shops, one on-hill snack bar, three food courts/cafeterias, a ski and snowboard school, a race department, lockers, hotel and condominium accommodations, five restaurants, seven bars, child-care area, and game room. Rates for lodging, dining, and attractions are available in a wide range to fit any budget or taste.
There is no better skiing in the state of California than Mammoth Mountain. I loved every day I spent on this mountain, well, except the one time I had to be rescued during a blizzard, but it made for a great story! The slopes are amazing and there is plenty for every age and ability. Ski school is really great for the kids, they hire the best teachers!