Winter Recreation on the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts
The Inyo National Forest provides the following information to help visitors pursue winter recreation activities on their national forests safely and responsibly.
Maps: The Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Inyo National Forest have produced a new and free Eastern Sierra Winter Recreation Map. Pick up your copy at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, obtain it online or download to your mobile device using the Avenza map app (www.pdf-maps.com). A waterproof version of the map can be purchased at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.
Know Before You Go: Winter recreationists must plan their adventure considering the current conditions, the weather forecast, the terrain and geography that will be traveled, and the equipment needs of their party. Even when visiting one of the maintained ski resorts, planning ahead and knowing what to expect will make your winter visit safer much more enjoyable.
Anyone who may be traveling in potential avalanche terrain is encouraged to seek education and training resources; travel with a shovel, beacon, and probe; and have the knowledge required to use these tools. Visit the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center website for the most recent information on snowpack and conditions www.esavalanche.org.
Play with Your Pet Responsibly: Forest regulations require that all dogs travel on a leash in all developed recreation sites, including ALL groomed trails. Within the Town of Mammoth Lakes, all dogs must be on a leash. Dogs are prohibited on groomed trails in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and are required to be on leash if traveling through the Lakes Basin off groomed trails. Leaving pet waste behind on a groomed trail or in a developed recreation area is littering. Please pick up after your dog and throw it away in the trash. By doing so, you’ll help improve water quality and make everyone else’s recreation experience more enjoyable.
Nordic Opportunities: Visitors can pursue Nordic recreation in several locations. The Shady Rest Nordic Trails are open, but grooming will not resume until there is additional snowfall. All Nordic users should access the trail system by parking at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and using the trail portal in the Welcome Center Plaza. The Forest Service asks that Nordic users refrain from parking at Shady Rest Park; the park is a primary snowmobile staging area and parking is limited.
At this time, the Obsidian Dome trails do not have enough snow to allow for grooming, but are open and in use by skiers and snowshoers. Grooming will begin after the next significant snowfall.
The Miracle Mile from Mammoth Inn to Minaret Vista is open and groomed. Parking at the Main Lodge is limited and visitors are encouraged to ride the bus from town.
Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center is open and offering rentals, lessons, and tours to its patrons. All users of the groomed trail system at Tamarack must possess of a valid ski pass. To access the Mammoth Lakes Basin without a pass, users must travel on the un-groomed roads and trails on the forest.
Snowmobiling: The Inyo National Forest is waiting for additional snow accumulations to begin grooming the California Department of Parks and Recreation funded snowmobile trail system. With a shallow, low density snowpack, snowmobilers should use caution and refrain from traveling in areas where snow depths are minimal or vegetation or soil may be damaged. Snowmobile users are responsible for knowing all regulations and understanding closure area boundaries. The Eastern Sierra Recreation Map is a helpful tool and all snowmobilers are encouraged to obtain and read a copy in advance of their snowmobile outing.
Snowplay and other Winter Activities: The only designated snowplay area on the Inyo National Forest is Woolly’s Tube Park on Hwy 203 above the North Village en route to Main Lodge. More information can be obtained at www.mammothmountain.com. There are several areas on the national forest where visitors find it convenient and fun to play in the snow, although these sites are not maintained for these activities. Additional information is available at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and at www.mammothtrails.org.
Snow bikes or “fat tire bicycles” and all vehicles with wheels are prohibited from using groomed trails. Those wanting to ride bicycles on the snow may do so on any trail or road that is not maintained for Nordic skiing or snowmobiles and where bicycle riding is not otherwise prohibited.
The Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center is an excellent resource for winter recreation information, maps, and guidebooks. The center is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and can be reached at 760-924-5500. The Inyo National Forest and Mammoth Lakes Trail System websites are also excellent sources of information. Visit www.fs.usda.gov/inyo and www.mammothtrails.org.
inyo national forest, eastern sierra news, mammoth news, winter recreation, bishop news
Photo by Gary Young