While Mammoth is known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding during the winters, and for its world-class fishing, hiking, fauna and flora during the summers, many often overlook one of Mammoth’s most beautiful times of year: Spring.
Though not all trails are open yet (some are still snowed in), springtime hiking in Mammoth is one of the most refreshing ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Mammoth Lakes offers some of the most spectacular sights and amazing landscapes to pump anyone full of outdoorphins – here are some of the best places for spring hikes in Mammoth:
Agnew Meadows Wildflower Loop
True to its name, this hiking trail is known for a wide variety of wildflowers that bloom in the area during spring. Of all the spring hikes trails, it’s the most accessible hiking trail in Mammoth Lakes – Agnew Meadows Wildflower Loop is only 0.6 miles long and makes for a nice, leisurely hike while enjoying nature.
Convict Lake is easily the most popular hiking trail in Mammoth. With a total round-trip distance of two miles, it’s a great option if you’re not into long or steep trails. The trail circles the lake, with views of the mountain peaks and with wildflowers growing along the side of the trail. Convict Lake is one of the best choices for a spring hike since the south-facing side of the lake gets plenty of sunshine, which helps melt any remaining snow on that portion of the trail. It’s a loop that can be walked in either direction, but in the springtime it’s best to park near the marina and start from the right side. Once you reach the back of the lake, if it’s still snowed in, you can simply turn around and hike back along the same route.
Just outside of Mammoth Lakes is Sky Meadows. Roughly 4.2 miles long with an elevation of more than 900 feet, this hike is a bit challenging compared to the others. However, the incredible view makes it all worth it – especially when the local wildflowers are in full bloom. It has more of an off-the-beaten path feel to it, as there are not a lot of markers along the way, but the trail is still well-defined. Be sure to dress appropriately and bring layers – between the variable springtime temperatures, the elevation, and the fact that there’s a creek alongside the trail and parts of the route go through a pine forest, it can be on the cooler side. When it is warm, be sure to pack your bug repellant though as there can be mosquitos.
Off Sherwin Creek Road is the Sherwin Lakes Trail, which has a total distance of around 4.5 miles. It features steep ascents and some switchbacks, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Most of the hike is on an open trail, so pack that sunscreen – there’s no shade and it can get quite warm in the middle of the day. But as usual, the views make it all worth it. Along the way, you’ll get to enjoy views of both the Long Valley Caldera and the town of Mammoth Lakes. Once you reach Sherwin Lakes, you’ll be rewarded with the beautiful juxtaposed scenery of snow-capped mountains and colorful wildflowers growing alongside the lakes.
The McGee Pass hike has a total distance of 14.3 miles. While that sounds daunting, there is so much beauty along the trail that it makes for a challenging yet rewarding adventure. The trailhead starts at the end of McGee Creek Road and has a slight ascent going to an open desert-like landscape. The hike continues easily on a trail freckled with wildflowers and astounding views of both meadows and mountains. The distance may be long but the climbs are manageable, which makes it good for a long leisurely hike.
Looking for more spring hikes? See more hiking trail maps here!
What is your favorite spring hiking trail in the Mammoth Lakes surroundings? Let us know in the comments below so we can add it to our list!