Increasingly, the Sierra is providing a wider range of summer attractions: bike trails, sushi bistros and gastro pubs. Here's the 411 on summer 2015:
Although it's better known as a ski resort, Mammoth is becoming a leading mountain-bike destination. Just about anybody, from beginners to advanced riders, can hop on a bike and have a great time on 80 miles of trails. This summer Mammoth has upgraded the park, connecting two downhill routes, Upper Recoil and Twilight Zone. There's also a new Bike Park Basecamp next to the Main Lodge for brews and snacks.
Info: (760) 934-2571, http://www.mammothmountain.com
A $2-million makeover has added some bounce at the Snowcreek Athletic Club. New floor-level trampolines, unveiled in October, let snowboarders practice tricks, with safety harnesses and 20-foot ceilings. They are available to boarders of all skill levels. Meanwhile, the health club's new Bistro East Restaurant serves up a reasonably priced menu, including miso soup ($3.95), five-piece sashimi (from $5.95) and spicy tuna roll ($4.95). The club and restaurant are open to the public.
Info: (760) 934-8511, http://www.snowcreekathleticclub.com
June Mountain is opening to the public for summer operations. (Last summer, it was private events only.) The J1 chair will bring guests to the June Meadows Chalet Summer cafe. Hours are limited, and some Saturdays are reserved for weddings, so check the website. But certainly make note of one of the most beautiful view spots in the West.
Info: (888) 586-3686, http://www.junemountain.com
The big news in Yosemite this summer — and next — is the closing of Mariposa Grove. A two-year restoration project begins after the July 4 weekend. The work includes demolishing the parking lot in the center of the grove, which prevented water from reaching the roots of the ancient Sequoias. Tram tours in the area are also being discontinued permanently. The park's two other groves — Tuolumne and Merced — will remain open. At the same time, the park will open the Badger Pass ski area for parking and shuttle service to Glacier Point.
Info: (209) 372-0200, http://www.lat.ms/1GhMHj9
Looking to stretch your legs on the way to Mammoth or Yosemite? Check out downtown Bishop's pedestrian-friendly stretch on Warren Street, featuring new lighting, sidewalks and back entrances to businesses along Main. The entire downtown now offers free Wi-Fi.
Info: (760) 873-8405 http://www.bishopvisitor.com
This rustic fishing town is one of the most authentic spots in California. But even a retro Main Street can use a little entertainment. The Mountain Rambler Brewery, which opened in November, offers live music with a casual menu featuring Thai meatballs ($4), flatbread pizzas ($8) and burgers ($8-$11). Of course, this brew house also has some inspired foamy creations.
Info: 186. S. Main St., Bishop; (760) 920-7544, http://www.mountainramblerbrewery.com
Though now in ruins, the mines and mills of Bodie roared more than 70 years ago. See the remnants on a new four-hour guided driving tour called Mines, Mills, Rails and Ruins. Bodie, a 45-minute drive northeast of Lee Vining, is one of America's largest and best-preserved ghost towns. June 28, July 9 and 22, Aug. 5, 9 and 13. $40 a person.
Info: (760) 647-6564, http://www.bodiefoundation.org
Mountain bikers will race through Bodie and surrounding hills in an inaugural race Aug. 22. The race, billed as the Bodie Bowl, will begin in Bodie State Historic Park and offer two courses: expert/sport and recreational. Both courses will be at 8,000 to 9,000 feet. Riders will enjoy views of the White Mountains, Mono Lake, Mammoth Mountain and the Eastern Sierra.