A few weeks back we decided to take advantage of the long holiday weekend and go on a spontaneous little road trip. While we’ve done the California coast a few different times (and loved it!), we wanted to change things up and take the desert route. Enter: Route 395. Once we got out of LA, it was open desert, farmland, and a sprinkle here and there of bright gold poppies all surrounded by mountain ranges as far as we could see. We passed through the quirky little town of Bishop, stopped in Lone Pine, and settled in at June Lake.
Abi always rides in total comfort, obviously.
tourist behavior: taking a 2 hour walk in a snow storm. lol.
WHERE WE STAYED
We ended up staying at Double Eagle Resort in June Lake and LOVED it – the lodging and the town. I had been to June Lake as a kid with my family and was so excited to go back. We had our own little cabin nestled in between an icy creek and a few of the smaller lakes the area is comprised of. We especially loved the sleepiness of the town and the fact that it was only a short 20 minute drive to the more bustling scene of Mammoth. June Lake is called “the Switzerland of California” and we definitely saw why – it’s literally surrounded by drastically tall, snowy (at least in April) mountains on every side of you, which made for gorgeous backdrops to our daily walks to a nearby lake (wine picnic anyone? 😉 ).
WHAT WE DID
- walked/hiked We walked all over June Lake – from our cabin to Silver Lake, all about the actual June Lake, around the quaint town (although only one business was open in the whole place?) and we even drove 20 miles to Mammoth Lakes to walk about there. Safe to say, Abi LOVED all of the exploring she got to do 🙂
- snowboarded/spa One morning Austin went to Mammoth to snowboard (the ski resort will be open until July 4th this year!) while I went to the resort’s spa for an 80 minute facial. Complete with a paraffin wax treatment and vitamin-C infused mask, I HIGHLY recommend.
- explored Mammoth Mammoth is full of restaurants, bars, shops, and even their own brewery and a bowling alley. We took two different trips here to eat and shop around, even stumbling on a nearby snowy walking trail that took us into the woods and quickly out of them once we spotted GIANT paw prints on the ground.
- Mono Lake A quick drive North will take you to a gigantic lake with an even bigger history. Be sure to check out the visitor’s center to fully grasp the meaning of Mono’s comeback and find out what the heck those weird rocky things sticking out of the water are (hint: they’re called tufas!). Oddly enough, Abi really loved this part of our trip. We couldn’t get her to stop drinking the water even though it’s twice as salty as the ocean, and she thoroughly enjoyed wading (albeit, very cautiously) into it.
- Mammoth Scenic Loop A fun way to get to Mammoth from June, this little loop of a drive was completely snow covered and peppered with pine trees. I don’t know about you but there’s something oddly therapeutic about being able to see untouched, super fresh snow stretch out for miles.
- Kern River Upon coming home, we opted to drive all along the Kern River and it was so pretty. I just love how lush and green everything around a river is. This definitely inspired a serious talk about planning a white water rafting trip down it in the summer. Can’t wait!
*NOTE: We had planned to check out Inyo National Forest, a few hiking trails around Mammoth Lakes, and the ghost town of Bodie (the largest one in all of California), but many of the roads were still closed due to it still being there winter season. All the more reason to go back in the summer where a new set of adventures will be open 😉
I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for cows since childhood, so I had to jump out of the car every time we saw a herd close enough to the road. Unfortunately, the majority were terrified of me, except this (big) little guy, who came curiously trotting towards me the second he saw me. *swoon*
WHERE WE ATE
If you know us, you know eating had to play a large part of the trip, ha. Here are my top recommendations out of all of the places we ate:
- Merry-Go-Round Lone Pine. Great for classic Chinese food, a random celebrity sighting, and picturesque views of Mt. Whitney
- Eagle’s Landing June Lake. Great for breakfast (seriously, we tried pretty much every item and it was all delicious) and happy hour.
- Campo Mammoth Lakes Village. Great for wood-fired Neopolitan pizzas and handmade pastas (to die for), with a rotating, seasonal menu thanks to an adventurous and award-winning chef.
- Tiger Bar & Cafe June Lake. Great for its rustic character, bar scene, lunch fare, and the homemade potato chips.
- Whitebark Mammoth Lakes. Great for sushi, craft cocktails, and a date night ambiance.
Abi in her natural element, exploring the Kern.
SHOP THE TRIP: