The Mammoth Lakes region has interesting roots in its first inhabitants, the Mono people, as well as California’s Gold Rush days so it’s a great destination for history buffs. In fact, the name “Mammoth” comes from Mammoth Mining Company, which was founded in 1878. For an introduction to the Mammoth region’s history, try this:
Grab a hearty breakfast burrito, coffee and the latest regional newspaper at Stellar Brew, a locals’ favorite coffee shop.
Choose from two short hikes that lead to historical remnants of the Gold Rush era: one is the trail along Mammoth Creek to Hayden Cabin, which houses memorabilia and artifacts (open daily in summer). Higher up in elevation is the hike to the Mammoth Consolidated Mine, accessed via a short trail from the Coldwater Campground parking lot in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. This is the remains of bunkhouses and an engine used in a 1920s ore processing mill.
In the afternoon, check out historical and geological exhibits at the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center at the summit of Mammoth Mountain.
End your day with dinner at the Lakefront Restaurant at historic Tamarack Lodge, built in 1924 as a rustic fishing retreat for a vaudeville star.
Take a day trip north from Mammoth Lakes to Bodie Ghost Town, about two hours from Mammoth by car. The highway follows the edge of beautiful Mono Lake, where a Visitors Center shares history about the region’s native Kutzadika’a people. Bodie is an abandoned gold mining town that boomed in 1879 and is now preserved as a state park.
On the way back to Mammoth, stop for a bite to eat at the Tiger Bar in June Lake, which holds one of California’s oldest liquor licenses.