We are bound for a week in early October to the Mammoth Lakes area to check out the fall color of America’s West. The elevations vary greatly in the eastern Sierra landscape from 5,000 to 10,000 feet so this means the trees peak at different times including aspen, cottonwood and willow. I hope we get the timing right after our disappointment at arriving too early last year see the fall colors of Vermont.
We fly into Fresno and then drive to Mammoth Lakes to the Mammoth Lakes Village Lodge which will be our home away from home for the week. The lodge provides full kitchen, heated pool, jacuzzi and high-speed internet. The first night we plan to dine at Nevados.
On our first full day, we explore Mammoth Lakes including Mammoth Rock Trail, Devil’s Postpile, Rainbow Falls and a possible drive to Bodie State Park. We are also planning to rent bikes for the week to take with us when we visit Yosemite Park. We read that renting bikes inside the park is very expensive. I have scoped out a potential foodie stop for the day at Mule House Cafe. Since the completion of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 1993, Red’s Meadow has become a well-known resting spot for hikers tackling the 2,663 mile trail. Red’s Meadow rests at the 900 mark on the trail, offering a hot meal, ice cream, and beer to those passing through.
The next day we get up early and drive to Yosemite National Park to join the thousands of other visitors. We read that this park is a busy place but hopefully off-season it won’t be so packed with tourists like ourselves. But with 100th anniversary celebration of the National Parks, we expect to not be alone. It costs $30 for an entrance fee that is good for five days. We want to see as much of the huge park as our legs will allow including hiking Lower Yosemite Falls and Mist Trail to find the Bridalveil Falls. I hope we are strong enough hikers to mount the steeper Vernal Falls and also have time to find the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees.
There is an ambitious 14 mile Cloud’s Rest Trail that we may try to work into the three days but definitely hope to drive up to Glacier Point if the weather allows. This area had their first snow dusting just last week so we are prepared to take our fluffy coats and walking boots.
We have reservations for lunch one day to dine at the Ahwahnee Hotel which recently changed names to Majestic Yosemite Hotel. The food is supposed to be above average but the architecture and the history are what I am most interested to learn. We looked into staying at the hotel but found the prices outrageous.
On our final day, we hope to check out some of the live hot springs and fumaroles (gas vents) and tour an old gold mine or two around Mammoth Falls. Final dinner reservations are located at a place near our hotel at Convict Lake just because I love the sound of it.
If you experienced travelers to the area have suggestions for RM and me, please share them with us. We know if we pack in food and drink, we are then required to protect these items in our car with bear-resistent food containers that we rent when we arrive. What other tips do you have for us?