Mammoth Lakes is majestic in a way that I didn’t even know possible. The natural beauty is grand and the name speaks to the size of the mountains, the expanse of the valleys, and the endless opportunities for adventure. I created a winter Mammoth bucket list with the greatest snowy experiences in the area. Regardless if you’re traveling with your family, your partner, or on your own, these adventures will rock your winter world.
Winter Mammoth Bucket List
1. Take a ski or snowboarding lesson
2. Stay at The Westin Monache Resort
3. Dine on local foods, craft beers, and custom tequilas
4. Ride the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain
5. Explore the back trails on a snowmobile
6. Go tubing with Woolly
7. Explore the village of Mammoth
8. Test your skills at bowling
9. Enjoy an ice skating session
10. Experience a luxury snowcat tour
How to Make it Happen
Where to Stay
You’ll need a few days to cross off your winter Mammoth bucket list items so finding a central hotel is essential. Offering views of Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Village, The Westin resort is 4 minutes walk from the ski lifts and across the street from the village. You can ride the free shuttle to almost everywhere in Mammoth and it stops directly outside the hotel.
After a full day of exploring, relax in one of their spacious rooms featuring a fireplace and kitchenette. If you’d rather be waited on for dinner, Whitebark restaurant has a Mammoth Cookie Sandwich made with chocolate chip cookies and filled with vanilla ice cream. It’s bucket list worthy on its own. If you have a Mammoth appetite, there are a few other majorly worthy restaurants to check out in Mammoth.
Mammoth Lakes boasts over 70 restaurants throughout town, offering everything from casual, family-friendly fare to sophisticated, upscale dining.
Gomez’s (The village of Mammoth)
Gomez’s is home of the famous Mammoth Margarita. The restaurant features over 500 tequilas & mezcals, authentic and Mexican fusion cuisine, and happier hours daily.
I opted for the Sizzling Fajitas, delicately sauteed with bell peppers and onions and served with guacamole, sour cream, rice, whole black beans, and tortillas on a cast iron skillet. Once I coupled it with a tasting of three unique tequilas, poor Michael, the owner, couldn’t get me to stop talking. He’s a remarkable man. Well-traveled, a family man, funny, adventurous, and kind, it’s worth it to visit Gomez’s just for the chance to meet him. His focus on family is reflected in the way the restaurant is run and the environment created.
I’d suggest visiting Gomez’s on your first night in town. The only problem is you’ll love it so much that you might not want to visit anywhere else.
The Mogul (1528 Tavern Rd – outside the village but parking available)
The Mogul is one of the finest spots for a steak in Mammoth. The restaurant started out as a cook-your-own-steak place, and operated very successfully in that mode for 14 years. It now offers a unique concept where the grill cooking is in the dining room, done by the servers. You can actually watch your server cook your food on open grills throughout the restaurant.
I went with my favorite steak pick, Filet, with a peppercorn sauce and a baked potato with sour cream. The Mogul filet lived up to the hype; it was cooked to perfection and the sauce added flavor without taking away from the natural juices of the steak. What surprised me, though, was the deliciousness of the dessert. Be sure to ask for their dessert specials because the off-menu items are scrumptious.
The Yodler Restaurant & Bar (Main Lodge, Mammoth Mountain)
The most surprising dining experience in Mammoth was at The Yodler Restaurant & Bar. Located at Main Lodge, Mammoth Mountain, I expected to get over-priced, mediocre food in a crowded setting. Instead, we had exceptional service in a quaint setting with delicious food. The Yodler serves an authentic Bavarian menu featuring schnitzel sandwiches, bratwursts, fondue, kid favorites like spaetzle mac and cheese, and fun drink specials for young and old. They have a large sundeck outside and warm fireplaces inside. We both ordered the chicken schnitzel sandwich. It was a crispy chicken breast with Swiss cheese, pickle chips, and house mustard served on a toasted garlic bun. After a morning of tubing, it was the ideal place to warm up and enjoy delicious food.
Skiing or Snowboarding Lesson at Canyon Lodge Sports School
Conveniently located in town and accessible by shuttle, gondola, or car, Canyon features plenty of amenities. We booked a morning ski lesson for Athena and watched as she got acquainted with Mammoth Mountain. Since it was her first time on skies, we opted for the Pioneers Group Lesson. It was a small group with a playful, fun-loving instructor who allowed Athena to progress at her own pace. All of the staff created an environment where children could thrive and we felt welcome to watch and encourage Athena from a viewing area.
Woolly’s Tube Park
The best part about Woolly’s tubing – you get a leisurely lift to the top of the mountain where you can fly down as fast as you dare in one of the high-speed snow tubes. Woolly’s has six groomed lanes of varying difficulty, spectacular views, options to go as a group or individually, a heated deck, hot cocoa, snacks, and adult drinks. If you’re lucky, you might see Woolly posing for photos and riding the life to zip down the mountain next to you.
Ice Skating Session at Mammoth Ice Rink
Mammoth Ice Rink offers traditional family fun and gorgeous mountain scenery at the Mammoth Lakes outdoor ice rink. Located behind the Mammoth Lakes public library and nestled against a beautiful alpine meadow, the ice rink provides stunning 360-degree views of the Sherwin Range and the White Mountains. If you’re hoping for the best views, head to Mammoth Ice Rink just before sunset when the colors and light are spectacular.
Mammoth Rock N Bowl
Bowling might not seem like as much an adventure as the other bucket list items, but with 12 lanes of bowling, 3 golf simulators, foosball, darts, ping pong, 2 restaurants, a full bar, lounge, and the best views in town, Mammoth’s Rock N Bowl is sure to keep you entertained.
Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures (Near Main Lodge)
Did you know that your whole family can spend the afternoon snowmobiling? Riders as young as five can join parents on a guided snowmobile trip. There are over 100 miles of groomed trails available, as well as thousands of acres of expansive, open terrain. Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures is the perfect outfitter for first-timers or seasoned experts. Experienced guides lead us across California’s greatest playground – backcountry trails, spacious meadows, and lush pine forests. With Athena comfortably seated on the snowmobile, we followed the guide far from the beaten path to a winter wonderland of adventure.
See it for Yourself
Mammoth Mountain Gondola Ride
From Main Lodge, we rode the gondola to the summit of Mammoth Mountain. At 11,053 feet, there are 360-degree views and plenty of photo opportunities. Be sure to breath in that fresh mountain air and snap a selfie at the summit sign before descending on the comfy gondola ride back down.
Ride in heated comfort to take in stunning, expansive views from Minaret Vista. Indulge in champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries or a hot cocoa bar for kids while observing a spectacular alpine sunset.
If you’re ready to have an epic adventure-of-a-lifetime, then head off to Mammoth for these winter Mammoth bucket list experiences.