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Mammoth Lakes in California

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

The Mammoth Lake area is a beautiful summer destination, in addition to a great winter ski resort. The paddling season starts late spring, as the lakes are at 9000 foot elevation, and the area gets a ton of snow. Mammoth lakes themselves are small, but very scenic. Perfect for quick trips, lounging, fishing, or a couple hours of paddling with the family. We found easy put ins at the 5 main lakes, Twin, Mamie, Mary, Horseshoe, and George. We enjoyed Twin and Mamie ourselves. We spent several mornings paddling around with our two young boys seated in our laps. Just watching the ducks, fish, and mountains. We found it to be very relaxing and nice quality time together as a family. We were all nicely packed in one Loon 160T. Which ever lake you choose, you will be surrounded by lovely pines and tall Sierra mountains.

There are many other lakes in the area, including June Lakes, Convict Lake, Crowly Lake, and Mono Lake. Mono lake is the destination for those looking for a big paddle day. The launch site is listed as Navy Beach on the south shore. But everyone I talked to warned of very strong afternoon winds blowing you across the lake.

The surrounding area has all the summer outdoor activities you can think of. Including hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and 4 wheeling on a network of forest service dirt roads. There are many sights for photo buffs. Fishing is big in the area, including lake and stream, fly and casting. Bodie Ghost town is very interesting, and worth a day for sightseeing and photographing. It is about an hour drive north of town. The town of Mammoth Lakes is full service, including a Vons grocery store, fast food to fine dinning, outlet shops, and sporting good stores. You wont run out of things to do, no matter how long you have to spend there.


Whatever you want or need. Camping at the lakes and in town. Condos and motels in town. Deluxe Lodge rooms at Mammoth Mountain Inn at the ski resort.


None for use of the lakes.


US highway 395, north from LA/San Bernardino area, or south from Reno. East on CA highway 203 off of 395. Go straight through the town of Mammoth lakes to the lakes themselves. Route 203 bears off to the right to the ski resort, but go straight and the road becomes Lake Mary road.


The official ski resort web site is

Inyo National Forest
351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip, 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location