Travel like a local.


Skiing in July, Hot Springs & Ghost Towns in Mammoth Lakes, California

I’m really excited to interview Paul Lanyi about Mammoth Lakes, California. Paul’s tips for the best things to do in Mammoth Lakes are awesome because he and his family have been visiting Mammoth about once a month for the last 10 years. Although he’s not a local, his frequent visits should make him an honorary one.

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Best things to do in Mammoth Lakes California Paul Lanyi Convict Lake boat ramp

Boat ramp at Convict Lake

Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, and fishing. The lakes are situated on the edge of an ancient caldera (an extinct volcano). As a result, there are many natural hot springs, like Hilltop Hot Springs, that dot the map surrounding Mammoth Lakes. For a map and recommendations, visit the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.

The local ski resort is Mammoth Mountain. It has some of the best skiing you’ll find in California and was one of my favorites when I lived in California. It is an IKON Pass ski resort and one of the first places my son learned how to snowboard. The snowpack is so thick at Mammoth that skiers regularly hit the slopes into July. In 2017, there was so much snow that the resort was open until early August!

June Mountain is another option for IKON Passholders (about 30 minutes away) where kids under 12 ski for free.

The snow is great, but there are so many other reasons to visit throughout the year. In fact, Paul says that Mammoth Lakes is magical during the summer. You can hike, fish, ride bikes, and so much more in and around the lake. The nearby town of Bishop is popular for bouldering and rock climbing. Devil’s Postpile National Monument is a short drive away and is great for hiking. The ghost town of Bodie is about an hour to the north, and Yosemite National Park is only 45 minutes away.

Paul’s favorite time of year to visit is in the fall. From Labor Day through Thanksgiving, the area is pretty quiet. Families are back in school and the skiers don’t start visiting until the lifts start running in mid-November. The vibrant fall colors are truly a sight to behold.

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit Mammoth, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

JetSuiteX BUR to Mammoth Timmy

I flew with Timmy from Burbank to Mammoth on JSX (formerly JetSuiteX) in January 2017.

Getting around Mammoth Lakes

The local airport is Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH), which is a 10-minute drive to Mammoth Lakes.

Paul says that, if you’re staying in the village, there’s no need to rent a car. The area is very walkable and you can always take the free shuttle that circles throughout the city. There is a mix of year-round, summer, and winter routes, so make sure that you’re looking at the right map from the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority.

Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around. If you need to rent a car, click here for the best offers from Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

Best things to do in Mammoth Lakes California Paul Lanyi Woolly's Tube Park and Snow Play

Timmy and me at Woolly’s Tube Park and Snow Play in January 2017.

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Paul Lanyi about Mammoth Lakes, California. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Mammoth Lakes, California
  • Green dots = best things to do in Mammoth Lakes, California
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Mammoth Lakes, California

Who is Paul Lanyi?

Paul Lanyi has booked over 200 trips and upgrades using credit card points and miles and has traveled to 35 out of the 50 United States plus 38 countries. He enjoys exploring new places with his wife and son. Recent trips include France, Japan, Hawaii, and a safari in Tanzania.

Helping old and new friends reap the benefits of points and miles (adjusting to the ever-changing rules) is exceptionally satisfying for Paul. He and his family live in Los Angeles (0.6 miles from LAX) and Paul is a marketing journeyman by day.   

Big thanks to today’s podcast partner – Bluffworks

This episode is brought to you, in part, by Bluffworks. Whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to have clothes that make me look good AND feel great. I wear Bluffworks jeans, slacks, dress shirts, and blazers because they’re wrinkle-free and are designed for the modern traveler. And if they get dirty, a quick spin in the washing machine and they’re good as new.

Go to and use the promo code from the image below to save 10% off your order. There are many styles to fit your needs so you can stay wrinkle-free when you travel.

Best things to do in Mammoth Lakes California Paul Lanyi panoramic view at Mammoth Mountain

Panoramic view at Mammoth Mountain

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Albuquerque New Mexico Ashley Biggers headshotListen to the next episode when Ashley Biggers, an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of Secret Albuquerque, shares the best things to do in Albuquerque, NM. Ashley and I talk about the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, historic pueblos, and the Sandia Peak Tramway. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Mammoth Lakes? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Related episodes

To learn more about central and northern California cities, listen to these other episodes: