Mammoth Cross Country and Snowshoe Ski Trails
Almost anywhere with snow on the ground offers opportunity for the
cross country skier or snowshoer. Snowshoeing has taken hold very big in Mammoth and as there are no costs associated with the activity, except your shoes or skis, it is a great way to stay in shape and not have to pay for that gym membership! Here are a couple of suggestions:
Hot Creek (4.9 kilometers Round Trip) Beginner.
route follows the road into Hot Creek from the end of the plowing
near the Hot Creek Ranch to the Hot Creek Geothermal Area. This
route is shared by skiers, hikers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers.
Conditions can be highly variable depending on the amount of snowpack
present. Inquire at the Ranger Station for current conditions.
Minaret Vista (4.9 kilometers Round Trip) Beginner.
route begins at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Park in the ski area
parking lot and take the shuttle to the main lodge. The route follows
the upper portion of Highway 203 which is snow-covered in the winter.
Follow the flat route located directly west of Chair 11 and adjacent
to the entrance to the Mammoth Mountain Chalets. The first 1/4 mile
of this route follows a ski trail where downhill skiers are descending,
so stay to the side of this trail. The route is shared by walkers,
snowmobiles, and a dog sled operation which takes people up to Minaret
Vista. The view from the vista is impressive. The Minarets, Banner
and Ritter Peaks, and the upper San Joaquin River drainage can be
seen. The narrow, steep road beyond the vista descends 800 feet
in the first 2.5 miles and crosses a major avalanche path. It should
only be attempted by experienced winter travelers.
SHADY REST TRAIL SYSTEM
Located at the east side of the town of Mammoth Lakes, these 7.4
kilometers (4.5 miles) of trails weave through the forest over fairly
level terrain, and offer easy and sheltered touring. These trails
are marked with blue diamonds and junction signs placed in trees.
In addition copies of this map are posted at each junction with
'you are here' markings. It is important to keep track of the blue
diamonds as these trails turn on and off of campground roads. There
are three loop trails, the A, B, and C.
The A Loop (4.1 kilometers - 2.5 miles) can be started at either
the front of the Ranger Station (4.3 kilometers 2.6 miles)or at
the Shady Rest Winter Trailhead. By using the A Trail Shortcut (
3.0 kilometers 1.8 miles) the distance for this loop can be reduced
The B Loop (1.5 kilometers - .9 miles) starts approximately 200
feet west of the winter closure point on the Sawmill Cutoff Road
on a road accessing the Forest Service employee housing area.
The C Loop (1.7 kilometers - 1.1 miles)crosses the snow-covered
Sawmill Road at two locations and connects the A Loop and B Loop.
All of the loops contain short steep sections which will challenge
the novice beginner skier. The beginner can negotiate these sections
by making wide traverses or by side stepping.
If you need to use the restroom, you will find them adjacent to
the parking lot at the Shady Rest Campground or inside at the Ranger
Station. Have fun and be safe and don't forget your smart winter
Cottonwood Lakes (13 miles ) Intermediate.
tour is a great introduction to backcountry ski touring, combining
a high trailhead with very gentle terrain. Once in the Cottonwood
Lakes Basin, the views are alpine and there are many opportunities
for day tours and bowl skiing.
Sabrina Area (33 miles) Advanced.
This tour begins at the
spectacular Lake Sabrina. After skiing around the drained lakeshore,
follow the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek as it climbs up benches to
the beautiful Blue Lake. You even can link up with the main route
by skiing over the low saddle to the west and dropping down the
very steep slopes to Moonlight Lake.
Rock Creek Area (20 miles) Intermediate/Advanced.
has long been considered the finest in the range for backcountry
skiing. Treasure Lakes, at the base of Mt. Dade and Bear Creek Spire,
is arguably the finest spring base camp location in the Sierra.
For More Information
Mammoth Forest Service