Cross Country Skiing
XC Ski center Trail Map (283K)
There are three commercial X-Country ski centers in
the Mammoth Lakes area. Tamarack
Lodge operates a large area in the Lakes Basin offering
groomed trails, rentals, instruction, and food/lodging
Creek Lodge in Rock Creek operates a unique ski-in
ski-out lodge/ski facility.
In addition, the town of Mammoth Lakes has marked out
a series of ski trails generally following some of the
summer bike trails, offering free skiing on ungroomed
trails. There is almost always someone else who gets
up earlier than you, so rarely do you not have a broken
trail to follow on the town trails. If you want to break
your own trail, there are miles and miles of forest
around town, some steep, some flat, all snow covered.
Choose your place.
Cross-Country Ski Center
45 kilometers of groomed track and skating lanes. Rentals,
lodging, and instruction. Meals available. Fee required
to use groomed trails in the Lakes Basin. Because of
it's high elevation (over 8,000 ft), Tamarack is guaranteed
a long season with good snow conditions, even when spring
has come elsewhere. There is a great lodge at the center,
where you can leave your skis outside your door, and
take off on the trails whenever you want to. Check out
Web site for complete information.
At the threshold of the John Muir Wilderness, Rock Creek
Lodge offers a unique winter backcountry experience
for beginning and advanced cross-country skiers alike.
The wood stoves in the insulated cabins will keep you
cozy morning and night. Eight cabins offer running water
and bathrooms, while six cabins remain rustic, with
guests using the central shower building for restroom
facilities. The fantastic, hearty meals breakfast
and dinner served family-style in the dining room
satisfy even the biggest mountain appetites. Visit the
Creek Lodge Web site for complete information.
Trails around town
The town of Mammoth has established a great system of
marked trails in and around the town area. Almost always
someone else has been there ahead of you, so trail has
been broken and well-defined. None of the trails wander
very far from town, so they are better bets for the
inexperienced or timid backcountry user. None are steep
or difficult. Many of these trails begin at the USFS
Visitors Center, and use the forested areas in that
area. These are particularly popular trails when the
weather is wailing. The wind and snow isn't as nasty
as it can be up in the Lakes basin during a storm.
Blue Diamond Nordic Routes
The Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered to reestablish the historic ungroomed Blue Diamond Nordic ski and snowshoe routes in the Inyo National Forest. In 1981, before the Scenic Loop Road was constructed, the Young Adult Conservation Corp. (YACC) joined forces with the Forest Service to establish twenty-five miles of Nordic trails by placing Blue Diamond markers in trees along designated routes in the Mammoth area and Obsidian Dome.
More than two decades later, cross-country skiers participating in Sierra Club Winter Outings noticed that many of the Blue Diamond markers were missing or in disrepair, making it very difficult to follow these routes. Local Sierra Club leaders wondered, “Shouldn’t these old trails be preserved?” The Range of Light Group (ROLG) approached Ed Armenta, the Inyo Forest Supervisor, with this idea. He was supportive and gave his approval. Jon Regelbrugge, Mammoth District Ranger, asked if ROLG was willing to be a partner on the project. The local group agreed and began planning the restoration.
For the past 3 years, Sierra Club volunteers have been busy cutting and painting new metal Blue Diamonds. Out in the forest, these volunteers scaled tall ladders to attach the new diamonds to trees and to repaint faded diamonds already on the routes. To date, approximately twelve miles of the old routes have been restored. The final step was to record the routes using GPS. This positioning data was then sent to a cartographer, so that updated maps could be prepared. The new maps are available (free of charge) at the Mammoth Welcome Center and at select businesses.
Click here to view the Blue Diamond Trail Map
Range of Light Group hopes everyone will enjoy and explore the Forest using this map. They invite other out-door enthusiasts to help sustain the project.
Inyo Craters Trail
8 km round-trip, moderate/easy. A classic easy Mammoth
ski tour. Relatively flat, well used so you won't be
all alone, with a good destination. Take the Scenic
Loop road out of town for 3.5 miles until you see the
Inyo Craters sign. There will usually be cars parked
here, so park here and go.