Mammoth Area Trails Report

August 28, 2013


With Labor Day coming this weekend, the symbolic end of summer vacation is upon us.  Get out and squeeze in an adventurous “last hoorah” if you haven’t already gotten back into the swing of a school schedule.  While talking about schedules and calendars, don’t forget the second California Free Fishing Day of the season, Sept. 7th.  For anglers over 16 a fishing license is required for the day but comes free of the typical one-day California sport fishing license charge of $14.61.  End summer on a thrilling note by reeling in a lunker at some of the most scenic fishing holes in California.

Friends of the Inyo Lakes Basin Stewards were able to enjoy the “view from the office” while working to remove those ankle twisting loose rocks in the tread bigger than a fist along the Mammoth Pass Trail.  The first mile of the Valentine Lake Trail corridor was brushed.  On the Duck Pass Trail this last weekend, numerous water-draining features were cleared of accumulated sediment, helping to keep this well used and loved trail in good working order with the forecasted rain showers this week.  

Many thanks are owed to everyone fighting the Spring Peak Fire near Bodie State Park and the Rim Fire adjacent to Yosemite National Park and the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.  These wild land firefighters have been kept busy this season risking life and limb to protect historically and environmentally significant lands through scorching temperatures and arduous labor. Smoke and firefighting activities are closing the Tioga road to visitors and traffic on August 28, and hiking in dense smoke is not advisable as it is hazardous to your health. Luckily the Mammoth Lakes Basin remains relatively free of smoke, and all roads, trails, and campgrounds remain open for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Your outdoor fun can vary endlessly from a casual saunter to a rugged multi-day wilderness marathon.  If you have questions about your future adventures the US Forest Service Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center specializes in setting you up for success.  It is a couple miles up on the right entering Mammoth on Hwy 203 coming from Hwy 395.  They can point you towards an adventure that matches your free time, fitness, and interest.  For overnight trips in the backcountry you must start there to be issued a wilderness permit.  This process is helpful to keep track of visitor use but also a helpful educational opportunity to check that you have the information and gear to safely enjoy your trip.

If you’re not yet ready for a multi-day trip on your own there are many commercially permitted guide companies that can help educate you about gear, outdoor skills, cooking, planning and execution of a great trip.  You could even get a little help carrying your gear from livestock packers.  A safety and courtesy note when in the presence of stock animals on trail is to move your group off the trail on the downhill side and talk normally as the stock pass in order to avoid spooking or intimidating the animals.  Your voice will help the horses and mules recognize you as a familiar, non-threatening human. 

Remember that extra layer on your upcoming outings because it is starting to cool off rapidly.  If you had your eyes on higher elevations this last week you might have noticed some frozen precipitation on top of Mt. Humphreys, Mt. Tom, and White Mountain.


This trail report is provided by Friends of the Inyo with support from the Town of Mammoth Lakes – Mammoth Lakes Trails System funding. The next opportunity to get out and give back to your public lands is September 21st – Coastal Cleanup Day in the Lakes Basin. Join the Inyo National Forest, MLTPA and Friends of the Inyo for the fifth 2013 Summer of Stewardship project working to improve and maintain these popular trails. For more info contact Drew Foster at