As someone coming to the Eastern Sierras for the first time, you will likely be enchanted with the small town feel and charm of the people you will find in the area. The culture is generally more laid back than the city and the residents thrive off the outdoor lifestyle. The activities available in the area are literally endless, with over 70 million acres of wilderness surrounding the area.
Outside the town boundaries you will encounter Devil’s Postpile, the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses, Yosemite National Park and The Pacific Crest Trail. There are thousands of lakes and rivers to be explored in the backcountry and a multitude of ways to access all the beauty to be found here. The most popular activities in the area include: skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, fishing, golfing, hiking, backpacking, paddle boarding, boating, yoga, cross country running, mountaineering, rock climbing and bouldering, skateboarding, camping, travelling by RV, motocross, mountain biking and road biking. You can find large organizations involved in each of these activities and many professional guides to help you get involved and even train for your sport. In addition, Mammoth has a world-class athletic facility at Snowcreek Athletic Club, which has been recently remodeled and offers fitness classes daily, personal training, tennis, racquetball, indoor pool, Jacuzzis, saunas and a day spa.
The town of Mammoth Lakes sits at an elevation of 7,880 feet while the top of Mammoth Mountain boasts an elevation of 11,023 ft in altitude. The population was 8,234 at the 2010 census, up from 7,093 at the 2000 census. 66% of the homes in the town are kept as 2nd homes and vacant for most of the year. Mammoth Lakes, CA boasts an average of over 300 sunny days per year while averaging 350” of snowfall per winter. The town is incorporated and has an active political scene. It is the hub of the culture, arts and nightlife and in the Eastern Sierras and boasts a new bowling alley and indoor golf center. There are high end hotels and restaurants here such as The Westin Monache and The Lakefront Restaurant at Twin Lakes. There is an active theatre group in the area producing live shows year round. The area has natural hot springs which are sometimes used after skiing. The town is surrounded by mountains: on the west, Mammoth Mountain looms over the town, while to the south, the Sherwin Mountain Range dominates the view.
History: The European history of Mammoth Lakes started in 1877, when four prospectors staked a claim on Mineral Hill, south of the current town, along Old Mammoth Road. In 1878, the Mammoth Mining Company was organized to mine Mineral Hill, which caused a gold rush. By the end of 1878, 1500 people settled in the mining camp called Mammoth City. By 1880, the company had shut down, and by 1888, the population declined to less than 10 people. By the early 1900s, the town of Mammoth was informally established near Mammoth Creek. The economics of the original town was based on logging and tourism. The first post office at Mammoth Lakes opened in 1923.
In June Lake, the town feel is much smaller with only about 629 year round residents, less than a tenth of the population of Mammoth Lakes spread out over about 9 square miles. 65% of the homes there are second homes and vacant
It is about a 20 minute drive north on the 395 Hwy from Mammoth Lakes and the town sits on the June Lake Loop. It receives about the same amount of snow and sunny days as Mammoth. Because the community is built on hills and meadows in this subalpine valley surrounded by high mountain peaks, it has been dubbed the “Switzerland of California.” The area is most famous for its trout fishing, which occurs in many modes: trolling or still fishing the lakes from a boat, float tubing, or shore fishing the many lakes and streams. Bait fishing is productive and popular, as are spin casting with lures and fly fishing. Rush Creek below the Grant Lake Dam is restricted to catch-and-release. The lakes are cool in temperature but swimming is possible in the midsummer months. There is a swimming beach on June Lake near the Oh! Ridge campground. Boat speeds are restricted on the smaller lakes but speedboats and personal watercraft are allowed on Grant Lake, making waterskiing and wakeboarding also possible. Hiking is a favorite pastime of the area: June Lake offers many trails that lead into the nearby back country of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
June Lake is well known for its amazing Double Eagle Resort with a world class day spa and five star dining in the woods. You will not find much open past 10 pm in June Lake, except for possibly the Tiger Bar, the local watering hole. There are no public schools in the area and most children have to travel to Mammoth or Lee Vining for schooling for grades K-12. June Mountain is open again after a year of being closed to the public. The area is being revitalized with the recent purchase of the rodeo grounds and the build out of a new luxury subdivision, The Highlands. Average home prices in the area are about 10% – 20% less than in Mammoth
Most of the hikes, including Fern Lake, Reversed Peak, and Agnew Lake are strenuous and vertical, with the exception of the Parker Lake Trail which is a 2 mile hike that only climbs 400 feet in elevation. The Frontier Pack Train at Silver Lake offers equestrian day rides, as well as backcountry trips. Ample opportunities exist for mountaineering, climbing and bouldering activities, mountain or road bicycling, off-highway vehicle travel, photography, bird watching, and more. In Autumn, an abundance of Aspengroves change from green to gold and red hues as winter approaches. Winter brings snow and cold temperatures, but there are many sunny days during which skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, ice skating, snowmobiling, sledding and snow play, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter mountaineering and touring may be enjoyed.
The June Lake Loop has been attracting people such as fishermen, hunters, and hikers since the 19th century. Its first inhabitants were the Paiute Indians. Although there was abundant mining activity in adjacent areas, the prospectors of the late 19th century found little of interest here. The area remained road less, and was recognized only for its scenic and recreational value, including fishing. Then during the decline of the mining era, interest developed in the new technology of hydroelectrics.
The initial construction project continued through 1917, and during this time an employee named Roy Carson started the Loop’s first private resort, known as Carson’s Camp. During this period, automobile touring had become quite fashionable, and with the completion of Tioga Pass, June Lake became a popular destination and way point for those traveling between Yosemite and Southern California. Notably, many Los Angeles area dignitaries and Hollywood celebrities made their way here.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power since 1923 had been seeking to purchase water rights in the Mono Basin to increase the capabilities of their aqueduct system. And, by 1935, the Mono Basin Project was underway.
By the summer of 1940 the June Lake Fire District in conjunction with the United States Forest Service constructed the first municipal water system for the June Lake Village area.
Crowley Lake sits at an elevation of 6,949 feet, covering an area of 2.8 square miles. The 2010 United States census reported Crowley Lake’s population was 875.
Crowley Lake, CA is popular because it gets about ¼ – 1/3 of the snow that Mammoth does. It has more sunny days on average than Mammoth and is known for its large man-made lake, Crowley Lake. It is the home of the fishing opener and also of the 4th of July fireworks show. It is known for its trout fishing: between 6,000 and 10,000 anglers hit the lake on opening day. The largest brown trout taken from the lake weighed 26 pounds. Crowley Lake Fish Camp, run in cooperation with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is the only way to access the lake and visitors can rent boats, book camping sites, and buy supplies at the Fish Camp.
About 75% of the residents here are year round residents and it is the place that many Mammoth locals look to buy property due to the lower prices and newer properties available for sale. The average home prices are about 25% lower than those of Mammoth and the lot sizes are considerably larger. The town is quite a bit newer than Mammoth Lakes and has a larger young community that owns property in the area. It is considered a family town as it is quiet in the evenings with absolutely nothing open after 8pm. The town has 1 gas station and small store with a restaurant. There are no bars in the town and there is an active church community with a highly rated private school.
History: Crowley Lake was created in 1941 by the building of the Long Valley Dam by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
It is known for its trout fishing: between 6,000 and 10,000 anglers hit the lake on opening day. The largest brown trout taken from the lake weighed 26 pounds. Crowley Lake Fish Camp, run in cooperation with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is the only way to access the lake and visitors can rent boats, book camping sites, and buy supplies at the Fish Camp.