Getting To Mammoth Mountain

Getting To Mammoth Mountain

Where is Mammoth Mountain California?

The Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort sits above the town of Mammoth Lakes in Eastern California in Mono County. Mammoth Mountain CA is 313 miles (about 500km) north of Los Angeles, 360 miles west of San Francisco (in winter), 168 miles southeast of Reno Nevada, and 140 miles from South Lake Tahoe.

Despite some folks describing Mammoth Mountain as being part of the Sierras and the restaurant at the top of the ski resort being called “Top of the Sierras”, Mammoth isn’t actually located in the Sierras from a geological perspective. All the surrounding mountains are part of the Sierras and have glaciated granite, yet Mammoth is a volcanic mountain and part of the Great Basin Desert.

The area around Mammoth Lakes is home to Yosemite National Park and some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

Flights to Mammoth Lakes

The Mammoth Yosemite Airport is only 7.8 miles (12.5km) from the town of Mammoth Lakes. There are daily direct flights from Los Angeles airport (LAX) and also seasonal flights from San Francisco and Denver. Flights are generally rather inexpensive. The Mammoth airport isn’t particularly exposed (say relative to Telluride Airport), but at times it is prone to closure due to wind issues.

Most visitors won’t need a car once in Mammoth, and getting between town and the local airport is a piece of cake with the complimentary free shuttles for Mammoth-owned lodging (Mammoth Mountain Inn, The Village Lodge, Juniper Springs Resort). Alternatively there are taxis or other shuttle services at the airport.

Driving to Mammoth California

The drive from LA to Mammoth takes about 6 hours (depending on weather and traffic), whilst the drive from San Francisco takes about 7 hours in winter because some of the roads around Yosemite are closed, necessitating a longer route. The multitude of Lake Tahoe ski resorts are an easy 3 hour drive away, and the route along US Highway 395 heads near the fascinating Bodie State Historical Park (ghost town).

You can check with Caltrans for mountain pass and road closure information during winter. You don’t really need a car once in Mammoth, so if renting a car you’ll probably get away with a 2WD rather than a 4WD. However if combining time at Mammoth with Lake Tahoe ski resorts, we’d recommend a 4WD.

Different chain control restrictions are in place when the road is snow covered, and occasionally chains are required on all types of vehicles (which can be a bit of a problem if you’re in a rental car!). Tire chain installers are stationed on the highway as you enter town and will don your chains for a fee (no chain sales available).

Private Transport Providers

If you don’t want to drive or fly to Mammoth, there are a few bus companies that provide transport between Los Angeles and Mammoth.

Getting Around Mammoth

There are various parts to Mammoth, including 3 primary base areas for the Mammoth Ski Resort, there’s the Village at Mammoth further down the hill, and then the town of Mammoth Lakes further down again.

Road distances around Mammoth:
  • Main Street of Mammoth Lakes to the Village at Mammoth (at the base of the Village Gondola) – 1 mile
  • Village to Main Lodge and Mammoth Mountain Inn – 4 miles
  • Village to Eagle Lodge base and Juniper Springs Lodge – 1.6 miles
  • Village up to Canyon base – 1.2 miles
It’s really easy to get around the area if you don’t have a car via the free transport. Firstly the Village and Canyon base are connected via the Village Gondola. The Village is the hub of the shuttle bus system and there are buses that connect the town, Village and ski resort base areas. In the evenings the town trolley heads between town and the Village (goes until 1:30am). Many of the Mammoth lodging providers also offer complimentary shuttle services.

For those self-driving to the resort each day from town, it can be a bit of a walk from the Main Lodge parking lot up to slopes (the employees take all the close parking!). There’s a parking shuttle but it’s not as regular as it could be.

Other Ski Resorts

Nearby June Mountain is just 22 miles by road to the north of Mammoth Mountain. June is skiable on the same lift pass as Mammoth Ski Resort and offers a family friendly and quieter alternative.

The Lake Tahoe ski resorts are about 3 hours away. Heavenly Mountain Resort is 139 miles to the northwest whilst Mt Rose is 165 miles away.