Mammoth Lakes, California

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Town of Mammoth Lakes
View of Mammoth Lakes and the resurgent dome from along road to the Lakes Basin
View of Mammoth Lakes and the resurgent dome from along road to the Lakes Basin
Official seal of Town of Mammoth Lakes
Location in Mono County in the state of California
Location in Mono County in the state of California
Coordinates: 37°38′55″N 118°58′19″W / 37.64861°N 118.97194°W / 37.64861; -118.97194Coordinates: 37°38′55″N 118°58′19″W / 37.64861°N 118.97194°W / 37.64861; -118.97194
Country United States
State California
County Mono
Incorporated (town) August 20, 1984 [1]
 • Mayor Rick Wood[2]
 • Total 25.306 sq mi (65.541 km2)
 • Land 24.866 sq mi (64.402 km2)
 • Water 0.440 sq mi (1.139 km2)  1.74%
Elevation[4] 7,880 ft (2,402 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,234
 • Density 330/sq mi (130/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93546
Area code(s) 760 and 442
FIPS code 06-45358
GNIS feature ID 1659042

Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community. It is located 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Mount Morrison, at an elevation of 7,880 feet (2,400 m).[4][5] The population was 8,234 at the 2010 census, up from 7,093 at the 2000 census.


"Welcome to Mammoth Lakes, California"

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.3 square miles (66 km2), of which 24.9 sq mi (64 km2) are land, and 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2) (1.74%) water.

Mammoth Lakes lies on the edge of the Long Valley Caldera. The area around the town is geologically active, with hot springs and rhyolite domes that are less than 1000 years old.

Visitors can take State Route 203 from the town of Mammoth Lakes to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, over Minaret Summit, then down to Devils Postpile National Monument, with access to the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

The area has natural hot springs which are sometimes used after skiing. Other features include lakes, a soda springs, and an obsidian dome. Mammoth Lakes is north of the Owens Valley, a scenic area with extensive hiking opportunities.

The town is surrounded by mountains: on the west, Mammoth Mountain looms over the town, while to the south, the Sherwin Range dominates the view. This hilly terrain and the high altitude makes the area great for high-altitude athletic training.

The town is surrounded by acres of forest and is bordered by the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness Areas. The eastern entrance of Yosemite National Park is located 32 miles (51 km) north of town. The town is situated in the southwestern, mountainous part of Mono County, California.

Due to its high elevation, Mammoth Lakes has a dry-summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dsb), with long, very snowy winters, and warm, dry summers. Snowfall is particularly heavy from December through March, and averages 206 inches (5.23 m) per season. On average, there are 21 days of 80 °F (27 °C)+ highs and 5.2 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually.

Climate data for Mammoth Lakes, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 40.1
Average low °F (°C) 14.8
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.60
Snowfall inches (cm) 43.1
Source: NOAA (temperature normals 1981–2010),[6] WRCC (precipitation, snow Dec. 1993–Sep. 2012) [7]


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Mammoth Lakes has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[8]


The European history of Mammoth Lakes started in 1877, when four prospectors staked a claim on Mineral Hill, south of the current town, along Old Mammoth Road. In 1878, the Mammoth Mining Company was organized to mine Mineral Hill, which caused a gold rush. By the end of 1878, 1500 people settled in the mining camp called Mammoth City. By 1880, the company had shut down, and by 1888, the population declined to less than 10 people. By the early 1900s, the town of Mammoth was informally established near Mammoth Creek. The economics of the original town was based on logging and tourism.[9] The first post office at Mammoth Lakes opened in 1923.[5]

In 2004, the Mammoth Ski Museum opened in town. The museum featured many vintage artifacts, photographs, and posters. A movie documenting the life of the founder of the ski resort (Dave McCoy) and those of early famous skiers in the area is shown. In 2010, photographs taken by Dave McCoy were featured in an exhibit at the museum.

Due to its high altitude, Mammoth Lakes has become popular among elite long-distance runners, who live and train in the thin air.[10]


Historical Population
Census Pop.
1980 3,929
1990 4,787 21.8%
2000 7,093 48.2%
2010 8,234 16.1%
Est. 2011 8,296 0.8%


The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Mammoth Lakes had a population of 8,234. The population density was 325.4 people per square mile (125.6/km²). The racial makeup of Mammoth Lakes was 6,643 (80.7%) White, 29 (0.4%) African American, 49 (0.6%) Native American, 128 (1.6%) Asian, 5 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,151 (14.0%) from other races, and 229 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,772 persons (33.7%).

The Census reported that 8,076 people (98.1% of the population) lived in households, 158 (1.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 3,229 households, out of which 942 (29.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,401 (43.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 177 (5.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 144 (4.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 293 (9.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 13 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 899 households (27.8%) were made up of individuals and 153 (4.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50. There were 1,722 families (53.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.

The population was spread out with 1,719 people (20.9%) under the age of 18, 1,050 people (12.8%) aged 18 to 24, 2,833 people (34.4%) aged 25 to 44, 2,100 people (25.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 532 people (6.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.6 years. For every 100 females there were 121.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 127.0 males.

There were 9,626 housing units at an average density of 380.4 per square mile (146.9/km²), of which 1,502 (46.5%) were owner-occupied, and 1,727 (53.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 33.6%. 3,464 people (42.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 4,612 people (56.0%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census of 2000, there were 7,093 people, 2,814 households, and 1,516 families residing in the town.[15] The population density was 286.2 people per square mile (110.5/km²). There were 7,960 housing units at an average density of 321.1 per square mile (124.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 83.21% White, 0.41% African American, 0.49% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 12.35% from other races, and 2.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.20% of the population.

There were 2,814 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.1% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 38.4% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 4.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 131.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 141.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $44,570, and the median income for a family was $52,561. Males had a median income of $31,280 versus $25,106 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,526. About 8.7% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Mammoth Lakes is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Ted Gaines, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kristin Olsen. Federally, Mammoth Lakes is located in California's 8th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican Paul Cook.


Mammoth Lakes' economy is primarily tourism-based. The importance of this industry to the local economy is made clearly by the existence of Mammoth Lakes Tourism. Additionally, the income from Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort which is top ski destination in California. A 13% tax is added to the rental of any lodging facility and campgrounds for stays of less than a month. There are more than 4,599 rental units in Mammoth Lakes and the lodging industry generates around two-thirds of the Town of Mammoth Lakes gross revenue.

The Mammoth Lakes real estate market has gone through ups and downs over the past few decades. In 1980, an earthquake with magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter scale sent area property values plummeting on fears of a potential volcanic eruption similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. A huge real estate surplus formed after this, Mammoth Lakes had a total of over 1200 properties on the market. The development of Mammoth Mountain ski area has had a direct effect on housing in more recent years. The tourist market has led to an explosion of property values. This peaked in 2003 when the median property value reached $750,000. Another peak occurred in 2006 with the sale of Mammoth Mountain ski area to Starwood Capital Group.[16] As of February 2010, the median listing price was $460,000. This represents a drop of over 38% from the peak reached in 2006.[17]

On Monday July 2, 2012, Mammoth Lakes filed for bankruptcy in the face of a $43-million breach-of-contract judgment brought against the town by a developer.[18] Later the same year, the bankruptcy was dismissed.[19]

Mammoth Lakes is home to Mammoth Brewing Company.

Municipal government[edit]

The Town Offices of Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes is governed by a town council of five members: a mayor, a mayor pro tem, and three council members. Law enforcement is provided by the Mammoth Lakes Police Department and fire protection is provided by the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District. Emergency medical service is provided by Mono County operating out of Mammoth Lakes Fire Station #1.

In 2008, after a jury trial, the Mono County Superior Court entered a $30 million judgment against the Town of Mammoth Lakes for breach of a development agreement. The California Court of Appeal, Third District, affirmed the judgment in December 2010.[20] The California Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal on March 23, 2011.[21]


Mammoth Lakes is in the Mammoth Unified School District, which has its main office in town. An elementary school and a high school (Mammoth High School) are located in Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth Lakes also has a continuation high school (Sierra High School). Mammoth Lakes also has a branch of the Mono County Library. It also has a community college called Cerro Coso out of the Kern Community College District. The Cerro Coso campus at Mammoth Lakes is one the ten community colleges in California to have dorms. [22]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Town Council". Town of Mammoth Lakes Official Website. Town of Mammoth Lakes. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ U.S. Census
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mammoth Lakes, California
  5. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1182. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  6. ^ "Station Name: CA MAMMOTH LAKES R.S.". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  7. ^ "Period of Record Monthly Climate Summary". Western Regional Climate Center. November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  8. ^ Climate Summary for Mammoth Lakes, California
  9. ^ Reed, Adele (1982). Old Mammoth. Mammoth Lakes, California: Genny Smith Books. ISBN 0-931378-04-4. 
  10. ^ Baxter, Kevin (2012-03-24). "U.S. distance runners get into tip-mountaintop shape for Olympics". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  11. ^ "California – Ch. A, B". 1980 Census. Washington D.C.: US Census Bureau. 1981. pp. 6–13. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "1990 Population Estimate". US Census. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  13. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. Census 2000. "Census Demographic Profiles, Mammoth Lakes, CA" (PDF). CenStats Databases. <>. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Mammoth Lakes town". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ Sahagun, Louis; Roger Vincent (October 5, 2005). "Hotel Mogul to Buy Mammoth Ski Area". Los Angeles Times. 
  17. ^ "Mammoth Mountain Median Listing Price". Zillow. 
  18. ^ Thomas, Pete. "Mammoth Lakes, famous California ski town, files for bankruptcy". The GrindTV Log. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Church, Steven. "Mammoth Lakes Bankruptcy Case Ends After Accord in Suit". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  20. ^ Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, LLC vs. Town of Mammoth Lakes (California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, Case No. C059239, 30 December 2010). Text
  21. ^
  22. ^ Mono County Libraries
  23. ^ Jerry Rice (January 29, 2014). "Team USA going to Sochi Olympics draws 6 from Mammoth Lakes". SnoWonder. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ Stephen Krcmar (February 3, 2014). "Small town, big Olympians; Mammoth Lakes home base for six Sochi athletes - Quiet California resort provides big training opportunities". Grind TV. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]