40 miles SE of Yosemite; 319 miles E of San Francisco; 325 miles NE of Los Angeles

High in the Sierra, southeast of Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by glacier-carved, pine-covered peaks that soar up from flower-filled meadows. It's an alpine region of sweeping beauty and one of California's favorite playgrounds for hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, skiing, and more. It's also home to one of the world's top-rated ski resorts. At an elevation of 11,053 feet, Mammoth Mountain is higher than either Squaw or Heavenly, so the snow stays firm longer into the year for spring skiing. You won't find Tahoe's long lift lines, either -- just more mountain and fewer people.