It’s just 30-minute drive from Lee Vining to Mammoth Lakes, the major tourism hub in the Eastern Sierra. There’s giant ski resort here (dogs welcome on the Panoramic Gondola to the summit, but you’ll have to hike down) and tons of dog-friendly hotels, resorts and amenities, but the big attraction is the great outdoors. “Must sees” include Devil’s Postpile National Monument, a rare geologic formation set off by massive basalt columns towering 60 feet high.
Rainbow Falls is a stop-and-see feature within the preserve. Leashed dogs are welcome, but you’ll have to take a shuttle bus from Memorial Day into September to enter the monument. Dogs must be muzzled. As an alternative to taking the shuttle, why not treat your pup to a spa day at a local groomer or use one of our recommended dog sitters.
Be sure to spend a few days around Mammoth checking out the trails, lakes and local services, then head to Bishop, a high-desert town in the shadow of Mt. Whitney. Everybody but everybody stops at Erick Schat’s Bakkery, a regional landmark specializing in sheepherder bread since 1938.
Now, take a deep breath and head up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest to see some of the oldest trees on earth, dating back 5,000 years or so. This is a very high-altitude place that will have both you and you dog panting, but it’s worth the long and winding road. There’s no water and no cell service, so come prepared and do check in at the visitor center for maps and advice.
There’s one more 395 site to check out before you head back: Lone Pine, familiar from hundreds of TV Westerns and movies. Interpretive signs at the side of the road will help explain what went on here. Lone Pine is also the gateway to Death Valley National Park, but that’s another story!Posted on: August 10, 2022