How Long Will it Take Me to Hike from the Top of Mammoth Mountain?

How Long Does It Take to Hike Down Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth, CA

A visit to Mammoth Mountain brings you to the highest summit you’ll find at any resort in California. At just over 11,000 feet, it’s definitely an impressive sight to behold, and it’s one with an assortment of hiking trails surrounded by natural beauty. If you have plans to come to Mammoth Mountain soon to do some hiking from the top all the way down, read on to learn more about how long it should take you to accomplish this task, brought to you by the friendly team from Mammoth Bound, where you can find everything from cozy gaiters to trendy Mammoth logo wear.

Give Yourself about 3-4 Hours

Generally, this is how long it takes to steadily and gradually hike your way down from the summit to the base. However, the total time it takes to complete this 5-mile hike does vary based on how fast you’re going. It also depends on how often you stop to absorb yourself in the views of the San Joaquin River Valley and the Minarets, which are part of the Ritter Range.

Take Some Breaks

This particular hiking experience is on the strenuous side, so we recommend taking some breaks here and there. When you make the downward journey along what’s actually a large lava dome complex, you can do it directly from the summit via the Dragon’s Back/Twin Lakes Trail. This particular trail system takes you down to the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Enjoy a Scenic Ride Up before Hiking Down

You don’t have to hoof it to the top of the mountain to start your hike downward—unless you want to, of course. Another option is to take a comfortable scenic gondola ride to the summit, although you’ll need a ticket to do this. The Eleven53 Café and Interpretive Center are at the top as well. You’re welcome to treat yourself to a light meal here to get some extra energy for your hike down the mountain. Make sure to pick up a trail guide here, too. Mammoth’s summer app also comes in handy, since it features a fully interactive trail map.

Consider a Mid-Mountain Downward Hike

If you prefer to reduce your hiking time, consider starting from the midpoint of the mountain instead. It takes, on average, about an hour or so to hike down from the midway point. In this case, you’re starting at McCoy Station via the Main Lodge Trail. It’s also a more moderate hike if you start here instead of from the summit.

The St. Anton Trail that starts here is another possibility if you want an even more scenic hike. It takes about 2 hours to hike down if you go with this option, since this trail threads its way through a thick pine forest. But you don’t have to forgo the scenic ride up if you opt for a mid-mountain downward hike, since there’s a gondola stop here. There’s also a picnic area close to McCoy Station where you can bring some goodies with you to have a little nibble before starting your hike down the rest of the mountain.

Even in spring and summer, it can get pretty chilly at the top of the mountain in Mammoth. Beanies and gaiters offer perfect ways to stay warm while you hike, ride the gondola, ski, snowboard, and enjoy all that Mammoth Mountain has to offer. Stop by Mammoth Bound to pick up what you need! 

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