People often say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. When driving to Mammoth Lakes, that saying takes on a whole new meaning.
If you’re traveling to Mammoth Lakes then you’re probably focused on the mountains and all their beauty that surrounds the town, but just beyond the Mammoth Lakes area are beautiful natural attractions and unique towns that will make the drive here another part of your vacation instead of a means to an end. We’ve listed some of the best things to see on your drive in to Mammoth Lakes based on starting point, check it below and plan your trip today!
Road Trip to Mammoth, Driving from Los Angeles
If you’re driving from Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes you’ll spend most of your trip on Route 395, but there’s plenty to do and see along the way during every season.
The first stop along the way is Mojave. Although Mojave is a small town, it is also a major crossroads so there are plenty of gas stations and places to eat if you need a rest. Soon after Mojave you’ll drive through Red Rock Canyon State Park. Whether you stop and visit or just drive past, you’ll see the spectacular and colorful rock formations the park is named after. As you drive further north, you’ll pass through several historic small towns where anyone interested in the old west or western movies will find something worth stopping for.
Finally, the last major stop before turning off Route 395 for Mammoth Lakes is Bishop. Like Mojave, Bishop is a small crossroads town that is a great rest stop for travelers. If you’re stopping in Bishop, check out Erik Schat’s Bakery, Meadow Farms Smokehouse, and the Laws Railroad Museum.
Driving from San Francisco
Your road trip from San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes relies on the time of year you’re making it.
The fastest route from San Francisco is on SR 120, which will take you straight through the heart of the Sierras, Yosemite National Park. However, this route closes during winter so you’ll have to plan a different route, most likely up near Tahoe, if you’re chasing Mammoth Mountain Powder.
There are options other than SR 120 in the summer, but the main stops will be outdoor attractions like campgrounds, rivers, and lakes along SR 4. If you or anyone you’re driving with loves the outdoors, then a stop in the Stanislaus National Forest or any other part of the Sierras before Mammoth Lakes is a must!
Driving from Las Vegas to Mammoth
If you’re driving from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes, you’ll experience the most extreme swing of temperatures and environments out of any mentioned here.
The main attraction along the way is Death Valley National Park. Death Valley is not only home to the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin but an extreme environment you’ll find almost nowhere else due to the incredible heat that batters the area. If you’re traveling through Death Valley between June and October, bring plenty of water and prepare your car for extreme temperatures.
After you’ve passed through Death Valley the next point of interest is Lone Pine. Lone Pine is a small town surrounded by incredible scenic beauty, most notably Mt. Whitney which is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Lone Pine is a great place to stop and rest overnight and is also a refreshing change from the scorching heat of Death Valley. Once you’re past Lone Pine and Mt. Whitney, you’ll travel through Bishop (see Driving From Los Angeles) and finally be in Mammoth Lakes!