Every dog has its day hike in Mammoth Lakes.

Shiba inu hiking in Mammoth Lakes at Crystal Lake

Krista Simmons

Shiba inu hiking in Mammoth Lakes at Crystal Lake

There’s nothing greater than hitting the road with your best friend—and that rings particularly true if your friend happens to have four legs. Thankfully, the West is packed with beautiful parklands to enjoy alongside your pooch, including one of our favorites, Mammoth Lakes, which we visited on a recent summer road trip.

Mammoth Lakes is a particularly dog-friendly community, with tons of restaurants and bars that’ll happily accommodate furry friends. Dogs are permitted on almost all the Inyo National Forest trails save those marked as bighorn sheep habitat, and you can also take them on the shuttle bus to Reds Meadow, which brings guests from Mammoth Lakes Village to Devils Postpile National Monument. (But note: The National Park Service requires all dogs to be muzzled to ride.)

Now is a particularly great time to plan you and your bestie’s trip, too. While Mammoth is known for its pristine alpine snow, summer in the Sierra is also spectacular for hiking, paddle boarding, and forest bathing. And nature really puts on a show in the fall, when the leaves begin to change color.

A view of Convict Lake in Mammoth
A view of Crystal Lake in Mammoth Lakes

Krista Simmons

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Some tips before you go: Don’t forget to pack your clip-on doggie bowl and extra water in these summer months, and plenty of snacks for both you and your pooch. It’s also wise to rise early to get going before the sun peaks so that your dog’s paws don’t get too hot. And because Mammoth Lakes lies at around 7,900 feet of elevation, it’s important to start with smaller hikes to get your pooch acclimated, or you might end up carrying them for some extra exercise like we did. (Now that’s what we call functional fitness!)

All that being said, if you plan accordingly, it’s sure to be a fun adventure for both you and your dog. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy Mammoth Lakes with four-legged friends. 

Where to Hike 

Convict Lake Loop Trail

Convict Lake in Mammoth Lakes, California
Convict Lake in Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes Tourism/Josh Wray

This 2.5-mile loop is mostly flat, and a cruisey hike to enjoy for all ages and species. If your pooch would rather be out on the water, dogs are allowed on the pontoons, so rent one and bring your buddy out on the lake for the day. 

Crystal Lake 

Enjoy sweeping vistas and fresh mountain air on this 3.1-mile hike in the Ansel Adams wilderness. The out-and-back route leads to stunning views and an aptly named crystal-clear lake for floating to cool off. The lake is also a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic with your pooch, so pack appropriately. 

Lundy Canyon

Scenic lakes and meadows lead to cascading waterfalls on this 5.6-mile hike in the Inyo Forest. The out-and-back journey also features a beaver dam, creek crossings, and plenty of wildlife viewing, so make sure to have your pooch leashed. Camping is also dog-friendly at this site, which you can read more about here.

Inyo Crater 

This 1.6-mile loop is great for dogs and kids alike, a bonus being that your dogs can even go off-leash in some areas. (We can’t say the same for your wild child.) The crater was formed by eruptive centers of the Long Valley Caldera, dating back to around 600 years ago, and is a true sight to behold. 

Crystal Creek's dog friendly hiking trail lead to stunning lakeside views
Crystal Lake’s dog-friendly hiking trail leads to stunning lakeside views.

Krista Simmons

Where to Eat

Mammoth Brewing Co.

After you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the always-buzzing Mammoth Mountain Brewing Co for burgs and brews at the outdoor beer garden. The rotating tap includes a local favorite, the Golden Trout Kölsch, named after California’s state fish. There are plenty of options for everyone, including a zero-proof imperial root beer on tap, too. Note that dogs must be leashed and attended.

The Yodler

After an epic day of hiking (or après-ski), stop by the beer garden style patio at The Yodler, which provides doggie bowls at every picnic table for four-legged friends. The Bavarian-inspired menu features bratwursts (we suggest a side of duck-fat fries with fondue cheese) and a blend of German and American brews on tap. Try the hunter’s plate stacked with brats, a fluffy pretzel, and other fixins. Don’t expect your pooch to be pleased if you don’t share. 

Shelter Distilling 

Craft cocktailing with your pet in tow? That’s something you don’t often get in the city. This Mammoth-based distillery founded by three snowboarders crafts spirits that mimic the spirit of the Sierra, and pooches are allowed to sit outside on the patio. The Old Fashioned with High Sierra whiskey is a perfect rendition of the classic. 

Where to Pick up Pet Supplies 

Tailwaggers is a great local spot to pick up treats and doggie booties, which may come in handy in the summer months as your pup’s paws can heat up on the trails, especially at peak heat mid-day. 

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