The Mammoth Lakes area, along California’s Highway 395, is one of the most beautiful places in the entire state. It is best experienced by setting out on foot and hiking along some of the area’s great trails. However, if you don’t want to do that, then another fantastic way to experience Mammoth is to take the scenic Mammoth Mountain Gondola all the way up to 11,000 feet. It’s an excellent trip for the whole family and one that, while pricey, will give you a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. Here is all the information.
- Cost: $29 (as of 2017)
- Last ride down is 3:30 PM
- This information was from my visit in 2017
After getting off on Highway 395 at the Mammoth Lakes exit, you will proceed through the town and follow signs for Mammoth Mountain. Parking is in the Mammoth Mountain lot near the bronze mammoth. From there, you can continue to the ticket booth to grab your tickets for the gondola.
After grabbing tickets, you will head over to the gondola building and get in the line for next available gondola. Depending on how busy it is, you may have to share with other skiers or snowboarders.
The ride takes about 11 minutes to get to the top, and along the way, it stops one more time to pick up more riders. It should, of course, be noted that if you are skiing or snowboarding, then you don’t need to pay extra for the gondola as it comes with the ticket.
The ride up and down are both beautiful as you look out over the mountains covered in snow (or not in snow during the summer).
When you make it to the top, you will be at just over 11,000 feet, and you can get out and walk around.
It was freezing when I was up here in the winter, but it was still awesome to explore.
The lookout provides a 360-degree view of the mountains and valleys all around you, and it is something you will not forget.
I could see all the way back to Highway 395 in one direction and out to Mono Lake in the other.
After walking around for a while, I headed back into the building.
The building has a small museum that you can see in less than 10 minutes.
In the museum, there are binoculars next to the window that show you what mountains you are looking at out in the distance.
There is also a small cafe here as well that has food and drinks if you are interested in purchasing them.
After spending as much time up here as you would like (don’t miss the last ride), you will head down.
The ride is less likely to be busy going down as all the riders were not taking it, so I was able to have a gondola all to myself.
This is a fantastic experience in Mammoth and one that I recommend for views both in the summer and in the winter. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.