It’s a beautiful drive whether coming from north or south on Highway 395, the Eastern Sierra byway that rivals (if not exceeds) the more famous coastal Highway 1 in terms of scenery. The year-round resort area centered around the Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain ski areas welcomes winter DogTrekkers with dozens of dog-friendly places to stay and endless wild open spaces to explore.
Start, perhaps, by making base camp at a cozy place like Tamarack Lodge, whose dog-friendly cabins are just fetching distance from 10 kilometers of groomed, cross-county ski trails open to humans with well behaved canine companions at Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center. Some snowshoe trails (maintained separately) are also dog-friendly. And there’s no cost to ski or ‘shoe the public access trail that runs along Lake Mary Road.
Another excellent choice: Convict Lake Resort, just out of town in one of the prettiest settings imaginable. Grab your skis, snowshoes or hiking boots, depending on conditions, and make a short circuit around the lower portion of gorgeous Convict Lake, an oval of blue surrounded by towering and very colorful granite peaks (the complete trail isn’t open in winter due to avalanche danger).
Almost all hotel and restaurant properties in town are dog-friendly (dogs required to be on leash at all times), and the U.S. Forest Service lands surrounding the destination are webbed with trails groomed for snowshoeing and XC skiing. In addition, more than 20 miles of blown-and-plowed public access trails for hiking and walking are available. Check out the possibilities with the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Access Foundation.
Wherever you go, be sure to pick up after your dog and leave no trace. If you don’t do it, who will?