Just past the eastern terminus of the Tioga Pass, the entryway to Yosemite National Park, is the quietly beautiful Mono Lake. The area is unique due to its salinity and eerie tufa rock formations that jut out from the water, which give it a completely unreal appearance. Flickr user Pacheco took this amazing photo of the moonrise after a two-day mission to get the perfect Mono lake photo. He absolutely succeeded.
The surrounding area is fantastic as well because it has these little roads that stretch on into the mountains that are perfect to drive on and are often empty of anyone else. California is not often associated with its mountainous landscapes, but in large part thanks to it huge size, it has some of the best natural beauty in the United States.
It has been a bountiful year for snow in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, where big storms have continued to drop fresh powder all season long. In fact, it has been so good that Mammoth Mountain has already announced that it will be open for snowboarding and skiing at least until Memorial Day (May 27) and most likely beyond.
At the moment, Mammoth is boasting a base depth of snow that is measured at an astounding 7 to 15 feet depending on where you are on the resort’s 3500 skiable acres. All of that snow means that even though spring is here, it’ll take some time for it to melt away. And with the long-term forecasts calling for more cold weather and snowfall ahead, it’s likely that the resort will remain open into June.
Mammoth is well known for having one of the longest ski seasons in all of North America, but this year has the potential to expand that reputation even further. Regular visitors to the resort who grabbed a season pass in time for opening day last November have now been skiing for more than five months. And with the resort staying open at least until late May, I’d say they managed to get their money’s worth out of those passes.
If you’re not quite ready to put your skis or snowboard away just yet then the news of Mammoth’s extended winter will be welcome. With more than 158 runs, most of which are groomed, the resort has a little something for everyone from beginners to experts. Find out more about Mammoth Mountain, purchase lift tickets and book accommodations here.
The Bearpaw High Sierra Camp, located inside Sequoia National Park, is one of the toughest accommodations to book in the entire park system. Typically reservations open in January and sell out completely in a matter of just a few hours. But this year a legal issue regarding permits delayed the opening of the camp and now that that issue has been resolved there are rare open dates for August and September.
Bearpaw is a unique and scenic destination that is unlike any other campsite you’ve experienced. It sits at an altitude of 7800 feet and overlooks the Great Western Divide, a mountain range in the Sierra Nevada that separates King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park. Getting to the site requires an 11.5-mile hike through secluded California backcountry that rewards guests with a private and peaceful setting upon arrival.
The camp features six tent cabins, each furnished with two twin beds, and room for three, provided one of the campers is willing to sleep on the floor. A separate shower house provides modern bathroom facilities including flush toilets and hot showers, which are always welcome at the end of a long hike. Both breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate as well, ensuring visitors don’t go hungry while staying at the camp.
Legal issues arose earlier this year over permits that allow the use of pack-mules within national parks. The animals are used to shuttle supplies, such as food and water, to the remote location where Bearpaw is located. The camp couldn’t open until the situation was resolved, but now that permits have been issued, resupply of the camp can take place. That means that no one could book a reservation to stay in the camp until now. As a result, a camp that is traditionally very difficult to book and stay in now has some openings for the months ahead. This is a great opportunity for travelers to experience Bearpaw and all that it has to offer.
For more information or to book your stay, visit VisitSequoia.com or call 866-449-4902.
Leap Year only comes once every four years, and if you happen to be one of those special few whose were born on February 29th, you know how seldom you truly get to celebrate your birthday. This year, Mammoth Mountain Lodge, located in California‘s Sierra Nevada range, is helping to make the 29th especially memorable by offering free lodging to Leap Year babies who visit the resort on their special day.
Leapers have the option of staying at one of four Mammoth lodges – Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort, The Village Lodge, and Tamarack Lodge and Resort. The free room offer is good for the night of Wednesday, February 29th only, and a valid ID showing proof of the Leap Year birthday is required at check-in. To take advantage of this deal, simply call 800-MAMMOTH or visit MammothMountain.com.
Of course, the free Leap Year lodging isn’t the only reason to visit Mammoth in February. The mountain continues to get plenty of fresh snow and has a current base of between three and five feet. That means that all 3500 skiable acres, and every chairlift, is open for business. The resort is even offering family discounts on lift tickets throughout the entire month as well, making it more affordable than ever to hit the slopes.
Winter was a bit late in coming this year, but it is definitely in full swing now. Take advantage of it while you can, and hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding fun.
If the Sierra Nevada mountains warm your heart, welcome to the club. This voluminous range houses Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft.), the highest point in the contiguous United States. The Sierra also features Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe, three parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments. Covering land in both California and Nevada, the Sierras are a much-loved destination for those traveling in the West–especially those who are into winter sports.
Heavy snowfall in the area this winter has translated to happy skiers and snowboarders. And while those on the slopes have been having a blast, the recent snowfall has simultaneously replenished nearby reservoirs. Wondering what ‘heavy snowfall‘ means? Nearly 20 feet of snow in the combined months of November and December.
This shot was snapped by a creative photographer out of California, Hilary Hulteen. If you’d like to submit your best photos for our Photo of the Day, just upload them to the Gadling Flickr Pool.