Hello camping season! Today, we will be featuring a blog post from one of our campers who visited us at Adventure in Camping for their trip to Mammoth. Meet Stephen and his family as they enjoyed their own Adventure in Camping!
OUR FAMILY TRIP TO MAMMOTH
The name of the company is Adventure in Camping and they certainly delivered. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this trip, but Russel, the kid from “Up” was the inspiration for this family vacation’s motto. Traveling five hours to a location I have never visited to rent a trailer I have never seen made me a little nervous. Would the trailer be decent? Would the campground and site be ok? What if we went all this way with four kids in tow to be disappointed? I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. We had an amazing time!
The drive down to Mammoth was even a pleasure. We are from Placer County and opted to travel up Highway 50 and through Tahoe and Minden, NV before heading south. The landscapes were beautiful and with geological and historic sites like Mono Lake and Bodie ghost town to visit along the way it’s difficult to get bored.
Upon arriving in the town itself I knew I would like Mammoth. Backpackers and cyclists dotted the sides of the road and the small shops had the same look as our beloved Lake Tahoe but with a small town feel. The drive up to the Twin Lakes campground was even better…and then we saw our campsite. I could get used to this. I took the following photo from the picnic table in our campsite. We were able to snag a beautiful first come, first serve site right on the lake. We arrived on a Tuesday so I’m not sure how difficult it would be to grab one on a weekend. This place seemed to be frozen in spring and reminded me of “The Sound of Music.” There was a beautiful waterfall just to our right and breathtaking mountains all around us. Wildflowers grew all over the place and it was so green. There was even enough wildlife for our son to get plenty of photos of his Fish and Wildlife Merit Badge.
The spot we got was very private and easy to pull in and out of. The friendly Adventure in Camping driver was very prompt and got the trailer parked and set up very quickly. He made sure we were familiar with the trailer and answered any questions we had before he left. It took no time at all for our kids to make themselves at home, claim their bunks and unpacks all of their things.
We stayed in a bunkhouse model that easily fit our family of six. We never even had to convert the dinette into a bed. The trailer was very clean and we were very comfortable. I didn’t notice anything that was ripped, stained, or broken in any way. My top five favorite features were:
#5 The awning. It is retractible and provided shade when we wanted it. It was nice to leave our EZ up at home.
#4 The dishes. We are pretty avid campers and we have a bin full of our camping dishes all ready to go for trips but with all the bikes we brought it was really nice to leave all the pots, pans, dishes and even our little stove at home.
#3 The refrigerator. It was so nice not to worry about buying ice! Also, I’m not sure our gigantic cooler could have fit in the bear box. We just kept our drinks in it outside and all the food went in the fridge and freezer.
#2 The furnace! We were in a site without hookups so only some of the electrical amenities didn’t work (TV, microwave, etc.), which was great. I used the microwave as an extra cabinet and who needs TV when you have this amazing scenery to enjoy? The furnace, however, runs on propane and it gets chilly at night at 9,000 feet. It was really nice to warm up the trailer before going to bed so we wouldn’t have to worry about the little kids getting cold in the night.
#1 The bathroom. Even though we had a campsite right across from the bathrooms it is SO nice to have one in the trailer. You know with four kids 12 and under someone inevitably needs to go potty in the middle of the night. Gettig up, putting on your shoes and trekking through a campground in the dark of night with a toddler is a treat for no one. With a bathroom right in our trailer they never even had to wake me up when they needed to go. Ah…blissful sleep!
The campground was quiet and pretty but the best part was all the great hiking. The trailheads leading from the campground were close and so fun to hike. My eight year old said his favorite part of the trip was the hiking. The trails we took weren’t incredibly hard and even our five-year old made it with a few piggy back rides here and there. The best part: never seeing any poison oak ANYWHERE! I am terribly allergic and it always makes me paranoid on hikes. Our family really had fun together on these trails. The views are amazing anywhere you go. We could have hiked every day up there.
If fishing is your thing then definitely bring your gear. There are people fishing in almost every lake and stream up there. We actually didn’t spend any time fishing on this trip, but the following photo is of a fish caught by a man and his daughter right next to us at Lake Mary. My son wanted to take a photo of it for his merit badge.
The lakes are so clear and pretty but cold so I wouldn’t recommend them for swimming. It was fun to take off our shoes and splash around a little, though. Only our youngest was brave enough to venture in up to his shoulders. We did see several places to rent kayaks, paddleboards, and fishing boats. Next time we may take some kayaks out on the lakes.
With all the adventures we had our family’s overall favorite activity of the week had to be the cycling. The recently completed bike trail system was really impressive. The trail was a small paved road that led all over town and all over the mountain as well. It runs alongside the road in most areas but is separate so we felt very safe taking our kids. We biked all over the place and took pictures everywhere we went.
We rode from our Twin Lakes campground up to Lake Mary where we stopped for lunch one day. The outlook for the waterfall we were camped next to is a little further up that path. The previous photo was taken from the top. We loved stopping to read all the markers along the paths too. I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to history and geology and I found all of the information fascinating. I couldn’t wait to find the next plaque everywhere we went. Little did my kids know, we were making their fun summer vacation educational too.
On our last full day, we made the 4-mile ride down to town and rode all over Mammoth. It was a nice way to check out all the cute shops we had driven past. We packed a lunch and found a park along the trail where we ate, rested and played for a while. Riding through groves of trees, passing historical sites and stopping to play in streams was great fun, but not even the best part.
By far, the coolest thing was coasting down the mountain and enjoying the beautiful view. We passed many other people on the path but I wouldn’t say it was crowded at all. Again, we weren’t there on a weekend, so I’m not sure how that compares. I mean, look at that…are you kidding? We could have ridden down that hill 100 times.
What about getting all those kids back up the mountain? No problem, the city provides a shuttle that operates all summer and it’s FREE! After riding around all day our kids were pooped. The shuttle was like a ride at Disneyland to them at that point. The cute trolley-looking buses with huge trailers full of bike racks were a welcome sight. Ride on over to the village at the bottom of the gondola and you can meet a shuttle every 30 minutes. The bikes were super easy to mount and very secure. The friendly drivers will drop you off at one of many stops all over the mountain. When we got off at our Twin Lakes campground we all decided it was too fun to be tired. We jumped on our bikes and rode right down the mountain again. This time, we went straight to the shuttle stop in the village and caught a ride right up to Lake Mary. We coasted from there back to our camp and our son was proud of the fact that he didn’t pedal the whole way.
After that full day adventure, it was nice to go back to the trailer and sit on something a little cushy. When we are camping we like to end the day with some cards or board games. We played late into the night a couple of times. We felt a little-spoiled playing games in a warm trailer in a lit room instead of crowding around a lantern on the cold picnic table.
The next morning cleanup was a breeze since we had no tent or EZ up to fold up no cots to pack or air mattresses to deflate. We packed our things, emptied the refrigerator, tidied up the trailer and were on our way.
On the way home we drove around the June Lake loop to check that out too. We had no idea these cute little towns and beautiful lakes and streams even existed. The lake itself seemed a bit warmer than the ones in Mammoth and we may spend some time there next year. It had some federal campgrounds as well but the bathrooms were a little far from the campsites. This is the kind of location where a trailer would definitely be nice to stay in.
Our family fell in love with Mammoth and we were all sad to leave. The memories we made were irreplaceable, the sights we saw were breathtaking and the adventures we had were unforgettable. It is a family vacation I would definitely recommend and be sure to bring your bikes. Thank you, Adventure in Camping for making our trip even more special. We can’t wait to go back next summer and repeat our cheesy catchphrase.