The Devils Postpile national monument is only open from mid-June to mid-October, making Summer one of the most ideal times to visit the unique rock formation. Devils Postpile features 60-foot tall basalt columns that stack neatly on top of each other. The protected area also includes Rainbow Falls, which gets its name from the rainbows that form in its mist, and visitors can hike 2.5 miles from Devils Postpile to the waterfall.
While skiers hit Mammoth mountain in the Winter, mountain bikers take over in the Summer. The Mammoth bike park features over 80 miles of mountain bike trails, with jumps, berms, and drops. Novice bikers can start in the Discovery Zone, where the trails are smooth and wide. For those who prefer to stay off dirt trails, Mammoth also has scenic road cycling routes.
An easy day trip from Mammoth, Bodie state park is a mining ghost town. During the late 1800s, Bodie had close to 10,000 residents. But as the gold rush died down, the town was slowly abandoned and the buildings were left alone in the desert. Bodie became a historic site in 1962 to preserve the desolate state of the former boomtown.
For scenic views of both the mountain bikers and surrounding landscape, visitors can ride the Panorama Gondola to the top of the 11,053-foot tall Mammoth Mountain. At the top, there is a café, as well as a center with information on the history and geology of the mountains. There are also numerous hiking trails leading back down the mountain.
As might seem evident from its name, Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by numerous alpine lakes with clear waters. Lake Mary is a popular spot for kayaking, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), and fishing. Just a day trip away, Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve has a stunning landscape to explore. The salty lake is home to tufa towers—spires made of calcium carbonate that are visible due to the lake’s falling water levels. Visitors can kayak along the rare geological formation and because Mono Lake’s waters are 2.5 times saltier than the ocean, swimming in the lake is also a unique (and buoyant) experience.
With numerous trails, Mammoth has hiking options for every skill level. Trails around the Lake Basin take hikers to alpine lakes, while the Agnew Wildflower trail loops through meadows teeming with wildflowers. There are also hikes at the aforementioned Devils Postpile, Mono Lake, and Mammoth Mountain. For those who want to backpack, the John Muir trail passes through and goes up into Yosemite.