Trees change colors all over America during Autumn, but you won’t find falls colors like those in Mammoth Lakes anywhere else.
Leaves turn warm orange, fiery red, and golden yellow due to a combination of cold temperatures and moisture. In most places the leaves change uniformly, but in Mammoth Lakes the range of elevations caused by the mountains allows for the leaves to change in a wave as the cold fall air moves down from higher elevations. As a result, the leaf watching season is not only beautiful but long in Mammoth Lakes, and you don’t have to look far to see for yourself.
To help you see Mammoth Lake’s fall colors, the ASO Mammoth team has put together a quick guide to the most accessible places to see the best fall colors the Eastern Sierra’s has to offer. Check it out below and plan your trip today!
When you think of Mono Lake you probably don’t think of fall colors, but in the mountains surrounding the lake are home to Lundy Lake, one of the best places to see fall colors in all of the Eastern Sierras.
Lundy Lake is about a 45-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes, but if you make the trip then you’ll be rewarded with a secluded alpine lake surrounded by wooded mountainsides with amazing fall colors all accessible from your car. If you decide to leave your car, then you’ll have the choice of fishing in the lake, walking around it, or simply sitting on the lakeshore and enjoying the beauty of the Eastern Sierras.
Moving closer to Mammoth Lakes, Convict Lake is about a 20-minute drive south of Mammoth Lakes and is one of the most popular spots in all of the Eastern Sierras.
Thanks to the road and walking path surrounding the lake, nearby resort, and marina, Convict Lake draws visitors year-round. When the leaves begin to change colors though, there is a surge in visitors hoping to enjoy to spectacular fall colors that paint the surrounding mountainsides. Whether you decide the walk or drive around the lake, walk the surrounding path, or have dinner at the Convict Lake resort, there are plenty of options to enjoy Convict Lake’s fall colors!
Mammoth Lakes Basin
One of the simplest ways to see fall colors in Mammoth Lakes is by taking a drive through the Mammoth Lakes Basin.
There are plenty of campgrounds in the Mammoth Lakes Basin to get closer to nature, but if you just want to visit then you can take Lake Mary Road from Mammoth Lakes into the Basin and enjoy the natural splendor that awaits you. You can also bike and walk through the Lakes Basin by taking the Lakes Basin Path, a paved walking path that runs all the way from just outside of the Village to Horseshoe Lake.
If you’re up for a short hike into the Eastern Sierra wilderness, then the hike to Heart Lake from the Mammoth Lakes Basin is perfect for seeing fall colors.
Although this hike is rated as moderately difficult, its proximity to Mammoth Lakes and the beautiful display of fall colors makes the walk worth every step. You can access the Heart Lake trail from the Mammoth Lakes Basin by passing the Coldwater Campground where the Heart Lake trailhead sits just off Coldwater Creek Campground Road.
When you visit Mammoth to see the fall colors, please remember to leave no trace. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to stop by ASO Mammoth before you head out to the mountains!