The Mammoth Lakes Basin is one of our family’s favorite parts of summertime in the Mammoth Lakes area. From the views to lakes to the camping and hiking, the lakes basin has much to offer you and your family.
As I sit down and write this, I can feel the summer breeze on my face – a light wind that smells of lake water and pine trees. I close my eyes, and I can hear the sounds of the head waters of Twin Lakes falls as they crash over the rocks, or the soft lapping of the lake against the shore. Now, the rustic smell of campfire is as clear as if I were sitting beside one right now.
All of this and more are calling your name at the Mammoth Lakes Basin where summertime is king at 9000 feet. This area of Mammoth Lakes is a jewel – perhaps why these lakes are what is referred to in Mammoth’s name itself. A whole series of lakes, creeks, trails and campgrounds await you there, but that’s not all. Both lake and creek fishing are accessible for stocked, trophy Alpers trout, and boat rentals are available with offerings that range from pontoon boats to kayaks.
Though there are close to a hundred lakes that you can hike to within an hour of the Mammoth Lakes Basin, there are 5 main lakes that you can drive to. Below is a write up of each one.
Twin Lakes (Elev. 8,540 ft.)
The first in the group of lakes is located three miles from the town of Mammoth Lakes. Twin Lakes is the home of three bodies of water that you can shore fish , float tube and boat in. All offer great catches of trout. This area also features the inlet to Mammoth Creek. These head waters almost always offer up trout.
Tamarack Lodge is a great place to stay if you want a true summer fish experience with a cabin on a lake. This area is one of my favorite parts of Mammoth in the summertime.
The fishing out of Tamarack is endless. With three bodies of water to be fished, you can work this area for a day and still be ready for more in the morning. At the far end of the lake, Twin Falls tumbles 300 feet into Upper Twin Lake.
The Twin Lakes Store serves as the main social point and gathering area for all the campers in the Twin Lakes area, and there are three campgrounds to choose from. They are all within a stone’s throw of the lake and fishing. Both the Twin Lakes Store and Tamarack offer boat rentals.
Lake Mary (Elev. 8,920 ft.)
This is the largest lake in the Lakes Basin as it stretches out about a mile long. Lake Mary is also the most popular lake for fishing, boating and sailing. There are many hot spots on Lake Mary for fishing. My favorite spot is down where the water exits the lake into Lake Mamie. I have caught and watched many fish be pulled in near that bridge.
There are two marinas around Lake Mary that offer both boat rentals and supplies. These are Pokonobe Resort and the Lake Mary Marina. They are each situated at opposite sides of the lake.
There are a couple different campgrounds around Lake Mary as well as cabins available through Crystal Crag Lodge.
Lake George (Elev. 9,008 ft.)
This lake can be shore fished from about 90% of the lake line. There is going to be a short to moderate hike from your car to access the fishing in this area. The rocks just to the right of the lodge always offer up a hook up and and a catch or two. Lake George is one of my favorite place to spend time at during the summer.
This is also a great place to take the family for a picnic. At the end of the parking lot, there is a trail that leads to numerous picnic tables right on the lake shore. Please always watch for bears.
There is also a marina with boat rentals available.
The Lake George parking lot is also the gateway to trail heads that will lead you to Crystal Lake and the Mammoth Crest. When taking these hikes, please plan accordingly and make sure you have enough food and water. Hikes can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
If you wish to camp around Lake George, there is a great campground available overlooking the lake.
Lake Mamie (Elev. 8,898 ft.)
This lake is a jewel to fish. Fishing at dusk is the best, but you better wear bug guard or you will get eaten by the mosquitoes. Fishing here can offer you some very large brown trout. Alpers Trout are also stocked in Lake Mamie. This lake is also perfect for Fly Fishing.
The best fishing at Lake Mamie is the inlet from Lake Mary at the backside of the lake.
There is no camping available around Lake Mamie, but there is the Wildyrie Lodge, which offers cabins and boats.
Horseshoe Lake (Elev. 8,950)
This is the only lake where swimming is permitted. This is a great place for a picnic and some swimming on a hot summer day. Do observe the areas were co2 danger signs appear.
This lake is a favorite for dog owners in the area. Be ready to see a lot of dogs running around. If you happen to have a dog, this is a great place to take them for a walk, just beware if your pet is not comfortable around other animals.
There is no camping permitted here.
Here is a list of many of the things you can see and do in the Mammoth Lakes Basin:
Tamarack Lodge, Tamarack Restaurant, Tamarack Campground, Twin Lakes Store and Marina, Twin Lakes Waterfall, Twin Lakes Chapel, Art Museum, Lake Mary Campground, Pine City Campground, Pokonobe Store and Marina, Lake Mary Store and Marina, Picnic Area, View Point, Horseshoe Lake, Co2 Kill, Horseshoe Trailhead, Lake Mamie, Lake Mamie Lodge, Lake George Lodge and Marina, Lake George Campground, Mammoth Crest Trail, Cold Water Campground Loop, Mammoth Mines, Duck Pass Trail, Bike Riding, Hiking, Walking, Canoeing, Pontoon Boating, Fishing Boating, Fishing, Fly Fishing, Climbing, horseback riding and more.