Double Eagle Resort and Spa
MAMMOTH LAKES AREA
Granite walls at the Double Eagle Resort
Hot springs near Mammoth
Bodie Ghost Town
Tioga Gas Mart: divine dining-really!
Obsidian Dome outside of Mammoth
The fun doesn't stop in Mammoth Lakes just because there isn't any snow on the ground. Check their web site for even more ideas on how to spend the cool autumn days at this ski resort.
Canoe/Kayak & Paddleboating
Paddle amidst the tufas of Mono Lake or the Long Valley Caldera on scenic Crowley Lake.
From here you can pick up a shuttle to the Devil's Postpile, take a scenic gondola ride, or access the bike park. If you don't want to hike uphill, just hop on the gondola and hike your way back down. It's important to note that the bike park and gondola rides are available only through late September.
Devil's Postpile National Monument
Columnar rock formations towering 60 feet create a rare geological wonder. Private vehicles are not allowed, so pick up the shuttle at the Adventure Center. It's a 30-minute bus ride and then another ten-minute (1/4 mile) hike to reach the Postpile. If you head downstream another mile and a half, it'll take you about a half hour to walk down the 300' incline to Rainbow Falls. If the sun is overhead, you'll be treated to a lovely rainbow over the falls. The shuttle is only available in the summer until late September.
Although a bit difficult to find, these can be worth the effort. You can pick up a hot springs guide or follow the trail to this hot spring. Hot Creek is one of the largest and most popular in the area, although it is temporarily closed to swimming due to increased thermal ground heating. If you'd like to visit and view from a distance, exit Hwy 395, at "Hot Creek Road" which is the airport exit. Depending upon your map, it could be named "Owens River Road" or "Fish Hatchery Road." Follow this road and pass the Fish Hatchery. It'll continue until there is a parking area on the left. You'll know you've arrived at the hot springs. Then follow the steep path below to the springs. It'll be worth the effort!
Rock Creek Lakes Resort
Locals didn't need Sunset Magazine to tell them about the restaurant's Dutch apple, rhubarb, strawberry or blueberry pies, but we're glad to learn about 'em! In addition, the restaurant serves up homemade buttermilk pancakes, chili, sandwiches and other delicious items for hungry families. The resort offers basic cabins and the great outdoors, but closes after Columbus Day.
Convict Lake Resort
Send the kids on a trail ride or join them, it's up to you, because children as young as seven are welcome without an adult. You can spend the day and rent boats, hike, fish, or dine in their restaurant. Or, book a cabin and enjoy all the resort facilities at your leisure. The lake is named for the infamous 1871 shootout between 29 escapees of the Nevada Territorial Prison and the posse organized to catch the murderous thieves.
Double Eagle Resort & Spa
A private cabin with down comforters, a roaring fire, a fully equipped kitchen to prepare hot chocolate, and a private deck with a grill is set against a background of golden leaves and granite walls. Send the kids off to hike or fly fish with Dad and sneak away to the resort's world-class spa for a Swedish massage enhanced with lavender. Stroll quietly to the restaurant for dinner, and you may be treated to the sight of deer grazing along the path.
Mammoth Dog Teams & Kennels
Meet the dogs that earn their keep by providing sledding rides in the winter months, Thanksgiving through April. During this educational tour, kids will have an opportunity to see how dog sleds are made, view the kennels and encounter the little pups.
Hot Air Balloon Adventures
Sunrise flights offer once in a lifetime, one hour adventures floating over Mammoth Lakes, the Crowley Lake Basin, and the Bishop area.
Mono Lake South Tufa Area
Unusual formations, called tufas, caused by underground springs and a mixture of calcium and carbonate are easily assessable on a one-mile self-guided trail. Formed only under water, these giant tufas, some forty feet in height, are visible only because the water levels in Mono Lake have dropped. Get a peak at still-forming tufas at the springs close to the shore. The area is always open, but guided tours are available on weekends through Labor Day. Call for reservations.
Mono Basin Volcanoes
See a real volcanic crater with towers of spires up to 50 feet high. These are the youngest mountain ranges in North America, with the oldest peaks only 40,000 years old. The youngest crater of the range, Panum, can easily be reached by driving three miles east on SR120 and following the path. Guided tours are available daily through Labor Day, then weekends dependent upon weather and staffing.
Tioga Gas Mart
It's not often you'll find a gas station included in a travel article, but when we asked where to have lunch in Lee Vining, we were always told, "go to the Mobil station." So, we went and were so impressed we returned for breakfast the next day. You can get a hot dog here or you can choose from items like herb crusted pork tenderloin with a brandy berry mountain glaze or barbecue chicken pizza with cilantro pineapple pesto. You've got the idea. Oh, you can also take care of all the other necessities you would at any gas station. It's right at the entrance to Yosemite National Park.
Bodie Ghost Town
This is a real ghost town. You won't find any gift shops, visitors' centers, or fast food, just a couple of flush toilets off the parking lot. Decent folk avoided Bodie in its hey day, as it was notorious for its killings and robberies when its population peaked 10,000 in the late 1800s. Everything is left as it was; you'll even notice goods on the shelves of the general store. The thirteen-mile dirt road becomes impassible in the winter months, and the last three miles are pretty rough. But if you like ghost towns, bring your camera, because you're in for a real treat.