Lake Mary, Mammoth Lakes

Lake Mary

Known for fishing, boating, hiking, backpacking, and camping (no swimming), the wildlife and natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada surround every visitor to Lake Mary. Lake Mary sits at 8900 feet elevation and is one of eleven lakes in the Mammoth Lakes region.   This recreation and camping area is only a few miles from the town of Mammoth on the east side of the Sierra.  The lake area is not open until late May or early June, after snow removal is completed.


Rainbow, brook and brown trout are stocked in Lake Mary.  Lake Mary is the most stocked of all lakes in the Mammoth area, so fishing is, generally, very successful.  A fishing license is required for anyone fishing in the State of California, who is over 18 years old.


Trails from the Lake Mary area lead into the John Muir Wilderness, ending at the tops of nine- and ten – thousand foot peaks.  Permits are required for overnight backpacking in the area. These can be obtained from Inyo National Forest.  Major hiking and backpacking trailheads are within nearby Coldwater Campground, including Duck Pass. The Duck Pass Trail, eventually, meets up with the John Muir Trail.  For day hiking purposed, Duck Pass reaches a few lakes before coming to the pass, so it’s rewards are plentiful, even on a short excursion.


Lake Mary Campground

Lake Mary Campground, at the northwest side of the lake, provides tight campground loops, some of which have views of the water.  Amenities include flush toilets, food storage lockers, water spigots, tables, campfire rings, and a campground host.

Coldwater Campground

Coldwater Campground is walking distance to Lake Mary, just around the corner from the marina at the south side of Lake Mary with boat rentals.  Coldwater Creek and Mammoth Creek run alongside the campground.  Most sites are on the water, or across the street from a creek.   Campground amenities include flush toilets, food storage lockers, water spigots, tables, campfire rings, and a campground host.


To find Lake Mary and its campgrounds, take U.S. 395 to Mammoth Junction and Highway 203. Go west on Highway 203.  Drive through the town of Mammoth Lakes to the junction of Minaret Road/Highway 203 and Lake Mary Road. Continue straight.  Drive 3.6 miles to Lake Mary Loop Drive. Turn right.  Drive 0.5 miles to the campground entrance or continue on Lake Mary Road to Coldwater Campground.


Nearby Crystal Crag offers alpine routes to the top, and sport routes at the base.

Gear Highlight

This MSR dromedary bag is useful in camp.  Water is collected from a spigot and the bag hung in camp for easy distribution.  You know, there are times when you will need to start a new cup of coffee, even though there is already one in your hand.

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