If the prospect of packed shuttle buses puts you off, skip the trip into Devils Postpile this August and head instead to a lesser known stop, Minaret Vista, one of the Eastern Sierra's best-kept secrets.
To reach the little landmark, take Minaret Road and follow the signs toward the Mammoth Main Lodge. Minaret Vista is approximately two miles up past the ski area. The parking lot is to the right, just before the ranger kiosk at the Devils Postpile entrance.
Minaret Vista offers a 360-degree view of Mammoth Lakes' greatest hits, including the iconic Minarets themselves, which look like a little cathedral God started to build and then abandoned. To their right, are two other landmark peaks, Ritter and Banner. Behind you is the backside of Mammoth Mountain, the highest ski area in California.
Of course, if you have a half day, Devils Postpile National Monument and the Reds Meadow Valley are very worthy of your time. The park features easy hiking and scenery similar to Yosemite. Buses run daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children.
Don't forget that Mammoth's gondola runs all summer and includes educational hikes that discuss the area's interesting geology. The mountain's Discovery Zone is another fine family activity and a great way for kids and adults to get comfortable on a mountain bike.
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