Get Outside with The Kids in Mammoth

6 Family-Friendly Ways to Enjoy the High Sierra

When daily life gets swamped with work and school it can be hard to really connect with the family, even more so in a world of iPods, video games and television. The perfect family vacation takes everyone out of that busy, high-tech world and gets them out into great outdoors. Mammoth Lakes is ideal for getting the kids out and active in the gorgeous setting of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Whether it’s for a family ski trip in the middle of winter, or for a summer getaway in the California sunshine, Mammoth has lots of ways to play together and experience this magnificent wilderness.

Hit the Hillskids skiing and snowboarding in mammoth

  • Do: Go skiing or snowboarding
  • Why: Nine terrain parks and over 150 great trails of some of the best skiing and boarding in California – not to mention more than 400 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine every year.
  • Kid Friendly Because: A quarter of the ski runs are beginner level, there’s a great beginner snow park and there are lots of ski lessons available for every age and skill set from ages three and up.

Mammoth Mountain is the tallest ski hill in California, and one of the most popular - It's one of our Best Ski Areas for Groups. There are  so many trails that families can spend days on the slopes and still not hit them all. Mammoth has a wide variety of classes available for skiers and boarders of every age. Teens can learn new snowboarding tricks in the Stormrider Teen Sessions, the Little Pioneers group lessons teach three and four year olds the basic ski skills, and there are all kinds of lessons for every age in between.

There is child care available right in the Main Lodge, as well as combination ski school and child care packages if a full day on the hills is too much for the little ones.  At the end of the day, head to Main Lodge, Eagle Lodge, or the Village, where there are numerous family friendly dining options as well as places for Mom and Dad to grab a refreshing drink.

Play in the Snowtubing in mammoth

  • Do: Go tubing or play in the snow at Woolly’s Adventure Summit.
  • Why: Every kid loves rushing downhill on a snow-tube. 
  • Kid Friendly Because: There are fun snow activities here for kids of every age, from the smallest toddler to the biggest thrill-seeking teen.
Mammoth Mountain now has a great snow tubing and play area called Woolly’s Adventure Summit that has activities to please kids of any age. For the adventurer there are six groomed tubing lanes serviced by convenient lifts. For the little kids there is a fun play area to build snowmen, throw snowballs at targets or ride the Merry-Go-Round. There is also a place to grab a hot chocolate and stand under a heater.

Tickets are available for two hours or a whole day, and there are free buses back and forth from the parking lot at the Village at Mammoth Mountain. Woolly's Adventure Summit is right on Minaret Road, about halfway between the Village at Mammoth and the  Main Lodge.

Explore the Backcountry…on a Horse!horseback riding in mammoth with the family

  • Do: Go horseback riding
  • Why: It’s the perfect way to enjoy breathtaking scenery without the kids complaining that their feet are tired.
  • Kid Friendly Because: There are a wide variety of horseback riding adventures available, from one-hour excursions to full-day treks, and it lets kids feel like a real cowboy!
This corner of the Sierra Mountains is some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States, and getting out on a horse is the best way for families to enjoy a glimpse of the what unspoiled west must have been like.

Several outfitting companies around Mammoth Lakes offer horseback riding trips into this stunning wilderness. You can get a taste of beauty on a one or two hour ride, or have an adventure with half-day and full day trips that bring visitors out to see old abandoned gold mines, sparkling lakes and rugged canyons. Two-hour trips are good for smaller kids, and include a guided visit to Convict Lake and McGee Canyon.
Sierra Meadows Ranch is popular for everything from one-hour horseback rides to all-day trips, and Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit is great for trips into the Inyo National Forest and John Muir Wilderness that range from an hour to a week long.

Go Geo-Caching

  • Do: A high-tech treasure hunt with your kids
  • Why: Geo-caching combines the latest technology of GPS with all the adventures of a great outdoor treasure hunt. It’s the perfect activity for older kids and teens who may need a little convincing that time in the great outdoors can be high-tech and cool.
  • Kid Friendly Because: The kids get to run around, use tech gadgets and find cool surprises...and what kid doesn’t love a treasure hunt?

Right now, all over the Earth, in more than 220 countries, there are small waterproof containers hidden in hundreds of thousands of places, each one containing some small toys or trinkets or souvenirs. These boxes are called geocaches, and the idea of geocaching is that that anyone with a GPS can look up coordinates on the internet and set out to find these treasures. Once they are found, the geocachers can take the treasures in exchange leaving behind something of their own for the next person to find. 

There are 55 geocache sites all around Mammoth Lakes, near trails, on the mountain or near historic attractions. There are all kinds of websites dedicated to geocaching with all the information to get started, and anyone with a GPS is free to take part.

Go for a Hikemammoth hiking for kids

  • Do: Hit the trails for a nice walk with the kids.
  • Why: There are hundreds of trails up Mammoth Mountain and around Mammoth Lakes, and each one offers a chance for families to get up close and personal with fields, flowers and animals.
  • Kid-Friendly Because: It's is a refreshing activity for everyone from restless teens to curious youngsters to babies in baby carriers – and it's healthy and free.
City kids don't typically get to see fields of wildflowers or hawks circling in a bright blue sky. In Mammoth Lakes there are countless trails winding through forests and up the mountain where families can breathe the fresh mountain air and see nature at its best.

There are challenging trails for older kids and easy one-hour loops for a slow strolls with toddlers.  The Mammoth Mountain Trail is a three hour hike for older kids who want exercise and excellent views of the San Joaquin Valley, and the Panorama Dome is an easy one-mile hike for the kids that also has a nice valley view. Serous hikers can organize guided hiking trips with many of the same organizations that offer horseback riding trips.  Trail maps are available online, at the Main Lodge, or at the ranger station. Pack snacks and be sure to bring water for a perfect day absorbing the beautiful outdoors.

Encourage a Little Shutterbugteach kids to love photography in mammoth lakes california

  • Do: Teach the kids how to use a camera and let them loose outside.
  • Why: The Ansel Adams Wilderness Area is right next to Mammoth Lakes, and if one of the world’s most celebrated photographers can get his start here, so can your family!
  • Kid-friendly Because: Kids love taking pictures, and giving them control over the camera can give them confidence and self esteem – and create some truly unique and wonderful family photos.
Cameras today are so easy to use, and the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area has inspired the greats. Even the smallest toddlers can have some fun here with a kid’s camera, creating some lasting memories of the family trip. To make it even more fun, give the kids a list of objects to take pictures of – a mountain, a cloud, a flower, an insect, a bird, a river, a sibling or parent – and offer prizes for the best pictures of the day.

The Ansel Adams Wilderness area sits between Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, and there are many stunning trails running right through its heart.  Imagine the inspiration it can offer to your children.

The Sierra Nevadas are full of hidden gems for families. Our travel guides to the California Gold Country and High Sierra have even more ideas.


Family-size vacation homes in Mammoth Lakes:

Luxurious, Upscale, Immaculate New Home - Next to the Village

This luxurious private home is only a 3 minute walk to The Village for entertainment, dining (Ben & Jerry’s, Whiskey Creek, Pizza, Mexican Restaurants, New York Deli & Bagel, Fine Dining, etc.), General Store, Gondola, ticket/rental office, bike/s...

Beautiful Chalet Home Nestled in the Forest

This newly built five-bedroom Chalet home evokes the feeling of being in the Swiss Alps, with the National Forest as your back yard. Located in the Mammoth Knolls, it's only a five minute walk to Mammoth Village, the premier spot for shops and res...

Exclusive Mammoth Townhome - Next to Mammoth Village

This elegant home was constructed in 2006 and is the perfect retreat for any type of Mammoth getaway. Ideally Located...: this property is nestled in a forest of mature pines and is a short five minute walk from Mammoth Village, the Gondola, Ski ...

St Anton Condos # 18

click here to view virtual tour This is unit #18- A two bedroom, two bath non-smoking side unit with views of the pool, Jacuzzis, gondola and mountain. Beds: Master bedroom, California King Select Comf...

St Anton Condos #48: 2 BR / 2 BA n/a in Mammoth Lakes, Sleeps 6

Click here to view Virtual Tour and Larger Photos This is unit # 48- A two bedroom, two bath side unit with morning sun and a view of the courtyard. Beds: Master bedroom, Queen, Living room sofa...

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