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Government Shutdown Causes Yosemite National Park Closure


What to do now that Yosemite is closed

You may have heard that, due to a Federal Government shut down, Yosemite National Park is closing, along with all National parks across the country.  Yosemite will keep their roads open to through travelers only.  No stopping, hiking or recreating will be allowed and doing so may result in a ticket.  All concession facilities and commercial visitor services are completely shut down as well.  Day use visitors are being asked to leave the park immediately and visitors who are staying overnight at hotels or campgrounds will be asked to make alternate arrangements.

We would like to invite you to continue your stay in Mammoth Lakes. Please check out out our deals page for Exclusive Deals for Yosemite Visitors.

You still can still enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery and recreational opportunities in the Nation. Here are our top picks for activities and sightseeing, right here in Mammoth Lakes! 

Fall Color Viewing

fall colors near mammoth lakes

Fall colors are beginning to peak in the high country at elevations of 8,000 feet and above, while slightly lower elevations (7,500 and below) are seeing rich fall color.

Check out these top 5 color viewing spots within 30 minutes of Mammoth Lakes. For more information on fall colors in Mammoth Lakes, download our handy Fall Colors Pocket Guide.

Sherwin Creek Campground

Directions: Follow Old Mammoth Road to the Sherwin Creek Road. Turn off at Sierra Meadows Ranch. Follow the unpaved road 2 miles to Sherwin Creek. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a short hike to Sherwin Lakes for breathtaking views.

The Mammoth Lakes Basin

This beautiful alpine setting with five lakes is just minutes from the center of town. Five lakes are nestled below jagged peaks and pine forests. Easily accessible by car, the lakes are favorite spots for picnics and day hikes.

Directions: Follow Main Street to Lake Mary Road, and continue 2 miles. The lakes offer fantastic fishing, and you’ll find several trail heads in the area for easy day hikes.

Convict Lake

Situated in a spectacular setting of rugged mountain peaks, Convict Lake’s inkwell-look is heightened in the fall as the trees that line the lake come into color. A hiking trail winds around the lake and the fishing here is fabulous.

Directions: 6 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off Hwy 395

June Lake Loop

This scenic drive is a treat any time of year, but fall colors make this route especially pretty. Follow Hwy 395 north to the south junction of Hwy 158. The road winds past the community of June Lake, which sits on the shores of its namesake.

Directions: 20 miles north of Mammoth Lakes off Hwy 395

McGee Creek Canyon

While you can observe some fall color from your vehicle, McGee Creek Canyon is best seen on foot. Park at the trail head at the end of a dirt road. A long, somewhat strenuous hike rewards you with magnificent views of Red and White Mountains.

Directions: 10 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off Hwy 395

Take a Hike

hiking near mammoth lakes

Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by two million acres of Inyo National Forest, including the pristine John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses. The Inyo National Forest will remain open to the public during the government shutdown.

The number of trails you can choose from seem endless, and the vistas, fields, meadows, wildflowers, fall colors and granite peaks you can see from the trails will amaze and delight you. 

Here are our top three hikes just a few miles from Mammoth Lakes. Check out for a complete listing of hikes and activities near Mammoth Lakes.

Crystal Lake and Mammoth Crest

The trail head to both Crystal Lake and Mammoth Crest is to the immediate right of the parking lot entrance at Lake George

Crystal Lake (3.5 miles round trip)

Climbing above Lake George through stands of mountain hemlock, the trail offers striking views of the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Mammoth Crest (6 miles round trip)

Use the same trail head as Crystal Lake. The trail splits to the right, heading for the Crest about one mile along the trail. You'll be rewarded with expansive views of the Minarets, Mammoth Mountain, and the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Barrett Lake and TJ Lake

(0.5 mile/ 1 mile)

The trail head is on the backside of the parking lot at Lake George. A gorgeous meadow can be found at the upper end of TJ Lake.

Duck Lake

(10 miles round trip)

 The Duck Pass trail head is located above Coldwater campground. Duck Lake has an intense deep blue color and is reached by ascending the steep switchbacks of Duck Pass. Along the way are Arrowhead, Skelton and Barney Lakes.

Go for a Mountain Bike Ride

mountain biking near mammoth lakes

Panorama Dome

(2.2 miles one way)

This single-track trail winds through fresh-smelling pine forests and ends at Panorama DOme, which affords sweeping views of Mammoth Lakes and the Owens Valley beyond. for more information and directions, go to

Mammoth Rock Trail

(2.6 miles one way)

This single track trail can be enjoyed on a bike, on foot, or on horseback. This mostly downhill trail starts off of Old Mammoth Road and ends at a staging area off of Sherwin Creek Road, and cuts across the base of the Sherwins, offering spectacular views of the Snowcreek Meadow, Mammoth Lakes, and the Owens Valley and White Mountains. For an extra challenge, turn around and ride the trail back up. For more information about biking on Mamomth Rock Trail, visit

Family Biking on the horseshoe Lake Loop

(1.7 miles)

This easy, packed-soil loop has a mere 4% typical grade, making it perfect for younger children. Soon after leaving the parking lot you'll meander through a pine forest amid birdsong and spectacular views of Horseshoe Lake. Look for the rock foundation and chimney of an old cabin on the backside of the lake.

As you head out on the trail you'll quickly leave behind the parking lot, pets and beachgoers and enter a more serene world dominated by birdsong and the rustling of the wind in the massive pines. Listen to the brooks as you cross 7 distinct bridges. After rounding the backside of the lake, the trail widens, giving you room to ride side by side with a friend. - See more at:

For more information about family biking on the Horseshoe Lake Loop, visit

Other Things to Do

As you head out on the trail you'll quickly leave behind the parking lot, pets and beachgoers and enter a more serene world dominated by birdsong and the rustling of the wind in the massive pines. Listen to the brooks as you cross 7 distinct bridges. After rounding the backside of the lake, the trail widens, giving you room to ride side by side with a friend. - See more at:

Mammoth Lakes also offers golf, fishing, horseback riding, climbing and off-roading this time of year. For more Things to Do in Mammoth Lakes, go to

Click for Lodging and Dining Deals for Yosemite Visitors


Wonderful alternative! Thanks for all the information. Mammoth is beautiful and exciting year round! Enjoy!
Posted @ Tuesday, October 01, 2013 1:09 PM by Phyllis Majdick
I don't think the national forests are open either. If not, then what are the outdoor options?
Posted @ Tuesday, October 01, 2013 9:55 PM by Jane
The Inyo National Forest (Mammoth Lakes area) is not "closed" per se. Day use areas may have bathrooms locked and our Welcome Center may be closed, but visitors and residents can still hike, bike, backpack and enjoy the great outdoors in our area.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 02, 2013 2:00 AM by Barbara Richter
I had heard they would be ticketing anyone who parked in national park and forest areas. I would love to enjoy the National Forest but I also don't want to break the law...
Posted @ Wednesday, October 02, 2013 7:15 AM by Susan
Which if any campgrounds are still open? Or is there an area you would recommend for dry camping?
Posted @ Wednesday, October 02, 2013 12:46 PM by Sarah
I read that Rock Creek is "accessible" but have not been able to figure out if any of the campsites are open, and I can't get the chamber of commerce to answer the phone! Anyone know about Rock Creek camping?
Posted @ Thursday, October 03, 2013 2:44 PM by Lisa
The US Forest Service has mandated that all campgrounds on US Forest Service land be closed, including campgrounds in the Rock Creek Area. The Mammoth RV park has both tent sites and RV sites with full hookups.  
Their number is: (800) 582-4603 and their web address is: 
Posted @ Thursday, October 03, 2013 2:53 PM by Christie Osborne
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Posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 2:01 AM by James
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