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- 15 Things to Do in the June Lake Area
- 1. Drive the June Lake Loop
- 2. Swim in June Lake
- 3. Boating on Gull Lake
- 4. Explore Silver Lake
- 5. Fish in Rush Creek
- 6. Enjoy Water Sports at Grant Lake
- 7. Take a Hike
- 8. Kayak on Mono Lake
- 9. Ride Bikes at Mammoth Mountain
- 11. Admire Wildlife
- 12. Visit a Ghost Town
- 13. Soak in Natural Hot Springs
- 14. Dine in June Lake
- June Lake Camping
Situated at the base of 10,090-foot Carson Peak in Eastern Sierra Nevada, June Lake is a year-round mountain resort in California. Summer activities include hiking, boating and fishing along the June Lake Loop. In winter, the June Mountain Ski resort is a cozy getaway. Here are the top things to do when visiting. Add this stop to your Yosemite road trip.
15 Things to Do in the June Lake Area
One of the many nice features of the June Mountain area is that it’s a small, quaint community with invigorating, year-round outdoor activities. This California mountain town has four seasons, so you can enjoy fall colors, spring wildflowers, summer sunshine and winter snow.
Situated 12.5 miles south of Lee Vining in the High Sierra near Yosemite, the mountain town’s crowning glory is the 14-mile June Lake Loop with mountain views. The loop includes four lakes – June Lake, Grant Lake, Gull Lake and Silver Lake. Over the years, my family of five has enjoyed boating and hiking during the summer months. June Lake’s four lakes, rivers and streams make this a popular fishing area. In winter, we’ve skied at June Mountain, where kids under 12 ski and snowboard for free.
The town of June Lake is comprised of a general store, post office, library, taverns and mom and pop eateries. It offers full accommodations, camping and RV parks. There’s also a local craft brewery, a spa and fitness center.
From June Lake, it’s an easy, scenic drive to Mono Lake and Mammoth Lakes. Yosemite National Park is also a pleasant drive from June Lake. But plan to make a day of it to enjoy the road trip through the Tioga Pass connecting June Lake and Yosemite National Park.
1. Drive the June Lake Loop
Take a relaxing scenic drive around the June Lake Loop to see all four lakes. Bring a picnic, take photos and stroll along lake shores. Allow at least an hour for a leisurely scenic drive.
2. Swim in June Lake
June Lake lies two miles from the south junction of U.S. Highway 395 with California State Highway 158. There’s a popular swim beach at June Lake Beach. Water sports include sailing, boating and fishing.
3. Boating on Gull Lake
Apparently Gull Lake is known for fishing. We were almost embarrassed to be the only ones cruising (and not fishing) around the lake on our rented pontoon. But we had so much fun chatting, eating and watching our dog Trooper eyeing the ducks paddling alongside us. It was a blissful afternoon of sunshine and quality family time.
Of the four lakes, Gull Lake is the smallest, but a favorite with fishermen for the plentiful big trout. In addition, Gull Lake has a boat launch, a community park and center with playground and tennis courts, and a campground. Hiking trails here include the “Fisherman Trail” and the Gull Lake Trail.
4. Explore Silver Lake
Silver Lake is nestled deep within the heart of the Sierra Nevada at the base of Carson Peak. It’s also home to one of the Sierra’s oldest fishing and vacation resorts – the Silver Lake Resort. Established in 1916, the family-operated resort has a grocery store and cafe. The nearby Rush Creek Trailhead provides trail access to the Rush Creek Basin, the Ansel Adams Wilderness and Yosemite National Park.
5. Fish in Rush Creek
Rush Creek is a nearly 30 mile-long creek that begins as High Sierra snowmelt and runs down to June Lake. It passes by Gull, Silver and Grant Lakes, and into Mono Lake. Some of the best places to fish in Rush Creek are by the resorts at Silver and Grant Lakes.
6. Enjoy Water Sports at Grant Lake
Grant Lake is the largest of the four lakes on the June Lake Loop. So it’s no surprise that people flock to the lake for water sports, such as waterskiing, wakeboarding and jet-skiing. You can also fish here and at the other three lakes.
7. Take a Hike
Of June Lake’s many hiking trails, our favorite is the Parker Lake Trail. It follows a river and leads to a breathtaking alpine lake. The hike begins with a steep, rocky trail but levels out and becomes more shaded. The river, wildflowers and deer sightings make this a pleasant family hike.
For those seeking a more strenuous hike, the Fern Lake Trail is a good choice. Find the trailhead by the Double Eagle Resort and Spa.
8. Kayak on Mono Lake
During a two-hour canoe tour, we learned that for many years the L.A. Department of Water and Power (DWP) diverted water from the freshwater streams that fed this ancient saline lake. By the 1980s, the water level dropped 45 feet. A deal was struck between DWP and Mono County allowing L.A. and Mono Lake to share the mountain streams enabling the lake to grow. We paddled by tufas, limestone formations that attract visitors from all over the world. Easily seen are the lake’s brine shrimp living in this unique ecosystem.
9. Ride Bikes at Mammoth Mountain
We ski at this world-class resort, but this was our first time riding mountain bikes here. We rented bikes and met our tour guide, Scott Canter, at the busy Adventure Center. After two practice rides on the “beginner slopes,” he led us on a long, scenic forest trail studded with some rocks and roots where I managed to fly over my handlebars without any injuries. After our exhilarating ride, we took the gondola to the summit at 11,053 feet. My daughters and I opted to ride the gondola back down but Scott, my husband and son braved the hour-long steep and bumpy trails to the base. This was my son’s favorite activity.
10. Ski in June Lake
In summer, enjoy waterskiing and other water sports at the full-service Grant Lake Marina and Campground. But come winter, June Mountain transforms into a winter wonderland.
June Lake in Winter
While Mammoth Mountain attracts more skiers and snowboarders, the intimate June Mountain Ski Area is a favorite with young families. It offers good terrain for all levels. Your same-day lift ticket is good at both ski resorts. More winter activities include ice climbing, cross country treks and snowmobiling.
11. Admire Wildlife
12. Visit a Ghost Town
Bodie State Historic Park is a former gold-mining community housing a ghost town with daily tours, a stamp mill and a museum. Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the ghost town is located near Bridgeport, Lee Vining, June Lake and Yosemite National Park.
13. Soak in Natural Hot Springs
Though it’s a drive, the Travertine Hot Springs is a popular place to soak. In Mammoth Lakes, there’s the Whitmore Pool and Rock Tub (at the end of an unmarked dirt road). The naturally heated pool includes six marked swimming lanes.
In southern Mono County, there’s the Hot Creek Geologic Site. While it’s not for dipping, you can admire the springs, geysers and fumaroles (gas vents).
14. Dine in June Lake
There are many dining options in and around the June Lake area. The eateries may seem rustic but the food is good!
- Eagle’s Landing at the Double Eagle Resort and Spa
Expansive windows with waterfall and mountain views bring nature inside the cozy dining room. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Silver Lake Café
A small eatery serving delicious large portions.
- Whoa Nellie Deli
On the grounds of a gas station, this delightfully popular deli/market serves burgers, sandwiches, pizza and hot entrees.
- Tioga Lodge in Lee Vining
The quaint Hammond Station restaurant is housed inside a historic building transported from Bodie, a nearby ghost town. A diverse, gluten-free menu.
15. Stay in June Lake
For many people, June Lake is a day trip from Mammoth Lakes or Yosemite National Park. But staying in June Lake offers a laid-back family vacation with easy access to the wilderness. Accommodations include cabins, vacation rentals and campgrounds.
June Lake Cabins
Double Eagle Resort & Spa. Our two-bedroom cabin – equipped with a full kitchen, outside deck and BBQ grill – had all the amenities we needed for a cushy mountain stay. Guests get complimentary access to the spa steam rooms, whirlpools, swimming pool, showers and lockers. Spa treatments cost extra. We made good use of the steam rooms and whirlpools each night.
Trooper was a happy camper, enjoying our daily walks alongside the creek by our cabin. Around sunset we would see half a dozen deer grazing. Towering Carson Peak and Horsetail Falls are a scenic backdrop. A short walk leads to the site where parts of Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, were filmed.
June Lake Camping
June Lake Campgrounds encircle the June Lake Loop at Gull Lake, June Lake, Silver Lake and June Lake.
The Oh Ridge Campground is located near the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake.