Mono County

Feb 16th, 2010, 04:49 PM
  #1  
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Mono County

Okay, I’m re-thinking our July vacation from Sequoia/King Canyon to Mono County. Currently live in the Bay Area and haven’t been to these places yet. Love outdoors activities and somewhat adventurous: hiking, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, tours, museums, historical highlights, etc.

Anyone familiar with Double Eagle Resort? Looks like it would be a good central location for exploring Mono Lake, Bodie, and the area’s natural hot springs. We typically like to camp but I thought it would be nice to mix it up and perhaps stay at a resort for a few days [so I can get a massage ;-)] and then stay at a more rustic lodge the other days. How about Convict Lake Resort?

Any and all advice on lodging and activities much appreciated.
caribcarol is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 05:11 PM
  #2  
 
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You know that will be a tortuous, long drive from Sequoia to mono Lake area?
Placename is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 09:03 AM
  #3  
lvk
 
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I haven't stayed at the Double Eagle, but have been on the grounds and eaten at the restaurant several times in the winter. Our friends, who have a place in June Lake, also enjoy their spa. It is a nice resort, but there is not much else to do in June Lake, unless you are a fisherman. You could probably also get great rates at resorts in Mammoth Lakes in the summer as well. There you would have more choices in restaurants, etc.

Convict Lake is a bit farther south. I haven't been there, but the restaurant there is supposed to be top notch.

Other recommendations in the area: The Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining. www.whoanelliedeli.com/
Guided trail riding with Frontier: www.frontierpacktrain.com/
Eric Schat's Bakery in Bishop www.erickschatsbakery.com/
lvk is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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I've heard good things about Double Eagle---we were looking at staying there a couple of years ago, but ended up at a more rustic place at Mammoth lakes (Tamarack Lodge).

I don't know if the trails around June Lake are open to mountain biking. There is great mountain biking at Mammoth, as you probably know. They have the terrain park, and lots and lots of trails on the mountain as well as through town. We found some nice hikes there too, in the lakes area not the ski resort. And you can always drop down the other side to Devil's Postpile area and the john Muir Trail.

Coming from Sequoia, it would be s very scenic drive up 41, through Yosemite and out the east entrance to go over Tioga Pass. You might just spend a night there at Lee Vining and visit Bodie from there before heading south to June Lake or Mammoth. Be sure and stop in the visitor center run by the Mono Lake Committee---it's right in the center of Lee Vining. They will direct you to some good viewing points for Mono Lake, and sometimes there are kayak trips on the lake you can join.

I second the recommendation for the Whoa Nellie---it's the best food you'll ever find at a gas station!
enzian is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 12:21 PM
  #5  
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Thank you for your replies.
Clarification: We won't be drivng from Sequoia. We'll be coming from the Bay Area. What I meant was I changed our destination from Sequoia to Mono.
Would we take Tioga Pass to get there? Someone had suggested returning via Hwy 4 for a scenic trip.
Reason I mention Convict Lake is I thought we could stay there for a few days, exploring that area; then travel north to June Lake for a few days.
Activities: hiking is most important to us; we would have to rent mountain bikes. I thought I saw somewhere where there's hot air balloon trips. Anyone been to natural hot springs? Is Bodie worth seeing? May check out the horseback riding [thank you!] Will also visit/hike Mono Lake. What is Devils Postpile and Obsidian Dome?
Restaurants: Have heard of Whoa Nellie and will definitely stop there. Will also check out Erick Schat Bakery. Any other recommendations? We'll be staying at cabins with kitchens, so where's the nearest grocery store?
Accommodations: Any other suggestions?
Thank you all!
caribcarol is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 12:38 PM
  #6  
 
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I have been a number of times to many of the places you mention all in July. It can get pretty hot in the area during July.

Bodie is very interseting. There is however very little shade so go early if it's going ot be hot that day. Take water.

Same advice about Mono Lake. Really interesting - gets hot.

Obsidian Dome is very interesting. There is a steep but easy trail up tot it. When you arrive it’s a bit like being on the moon. We have pics of the kids with giant rocks held over their heads like they are super strong but the rocks are like air.

Devil’s Postpile is very interesting but eh walk is super easy form the parking lot or shuttle stop. Consider hiking on to Rainbow falls or take the shuttle to the reds meadow/rainbow falls trailhead and hike from there. You can also hike to Minaret Falls from the same parking lot as Devils Postpile. Very refreshing.

While in the area check out the lakes in Mammoth especially Horsehoe Lake - very interesting. The others Mary George and Twin Lakes are very pretty.

You can easily hike to Barrett and TJ lakes out of a trail head near Lake George.

Do stop in at Whoa Nellie Deli - it is worth it.

Schat's bakery in Bishop is better than the one in Mammoth.

For groceries... you staying in June Lake or what? There is a Vons in Mammoth.

We always stayed in Mammoth. Stuff to do after a day of hiking and it's central to everywhere. We would go as far south as Bishop and as far north as Bodie/Lee Vining/Yosemite
Suzie is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 01:15 PM
  #7  
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Suzie, thank you. Will check out the lakes you mention; won't be going as far south as Bishop.
Thought we'd check out Convict Lake Resort for a few nights, then head north to June Lake at the Double Eagle Resort.
caribcarol is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Well for groceries you may have to go to Mammoth. You can try the June Lake General Store.

I suggest you shop before you leave and bring an ice chest. That's what we do. Then we just fill in with milk and some other perishables.
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Feb 17th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls access requires you take a shuttle bus from Mammoth Mountain parking lot unless you are staying in the Red's Meadow area.
Tioga Pass in a scenic route from the Bay Area to the Eastern Sierra Region, kinda slow through Yosemite, but it's OK because there's a lot to see.
On the return either 108 (Sonora Pass) or 89/4 (Monitor & Ebbetts Pass) are both interesting alternatives.
boom_boom is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 11:52 PM
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We've stayed at the Double Eagle three times for an annual family mini-reunion. The hotel-type rooms are nice, but we've found that the maintenance of the cabins and the condition of the trout pond have deteriorated. The indoor pool and spa are terrific, and we've had many good meals in the restaurant. The last I heard, the resort is for sale which may explain some of the maintenance problems we saw last September. Nothing major; stuff like mis-matched dishes, silverware, missing glassware, odd collection of towels, etc. It feels a little like garage sale or outlet mall acquisitions. Mostly it's annoying, considering the daily rate. We're booked to return in September 2010. We bring almost all of our food from home.

Our family (ages 27-87) hikes every year to Green Lake in 20 Lakes Basin. We drive to Saddlebag Lake (just east of the YNP gate), have breakfast in the resort general store, and then take the water taxi to the other end of the lake. From there we take a short hike to Green Lake where those who don't want to hike farther can hang out for the day. The rest set off on all or part of the 8-mile loop through the basin. We usually take the water taxi back (you need to make reservations in the morning), but there is also a short, direct trail back to the general store. Driving back to the Double Eagle, we stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli for either ice cream or an early dinner (or both!).

http://www.saddlebaglakeresort.com/

We've also had dinner a few times at the Convict Lake Resort. Very good, but it's gotten expensive.

http://www.convictlake.com/index.php
Jean is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 08:26 AM
  #11  
 
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Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls access requires you take a shuttle bus from Mammoth Mountain parking UNLESS you start your journey before the shuttle buses begin. We wake up super early and pass the Minaret entrance station before it opens.
Suzie is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 10:02 AM
  #12  
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Thank you, Jean. Saddlebag water taxi sounds exactly what we're looking for! Hmm, now have to re-think Double Eagle.
Any cottages in the Virginia and Lundy Lakes area?
Suzie, thank you for the shuttle tip ;-)
Boom Boom, thank you for the alternative routes.
caribcarol is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 11:25 AM
  #13  
 
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caribcarol, I think the Double Eagle is as nice as it gets unless you go the Mammoth. If you're not interested much in the DE's pool and spa facilities, you could stay in a condo nearby. My sister and her family have rented a nice place within walking distance of the DE. My husband and I and my 87-year-old mom continue to stay at the DE because my mom swims in the pool every day and likes to have a massage after our hikes. Non-guests can use the DE's facilities by buying a daily guest pass, and the restaurant is open to the public.

Here's the condo my sister rents:

http://www.junelake-rentals.com/units/details.cfm?ID=52
Jean is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 12:10 PM
  #14  
lvk
 
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Such great suggestions here. I really need to get up there in the summer.

We have used this company for rentals in June and have been very happy with them: www.rainbowridgerealty.com/

The June Lake grocery store is very limited. There is a Von's in Mammoth which is better stocked.

Have you looked into the Twin Lakes area?
lvk is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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lvk: looks like a good website; thx; so much to choose from! Haven't looked at Twin Lakes area; don't know if I want to go that far north (?) Thought we would explore from Virginia Lakes, down to Convict Lake; is that doable in say 4 days? This is our first time to the area so not familiar with the lay of the land.
Jean: First, kudos to your mom; hope I can say the same when I'm 87 ;-) That particular condo is too large for us; it's just hubby and self. May have to re-think DE; thought it would be convenient for massage/spa but could use their guest pass. Or, are there other massage services in the area?
For accommodations, we like clean, quiet, private, not touristy. Hubby does like to fish so I'm thinking a lodge on a lake. Anyone familiar with Virginia Lakes Resort?
caribcarol is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 01:15 PM
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Jean---your Twenty Lakes Basin hike sounds like heaven. We'll have to give that a try.

caribcarol---did you see that Virginia Lakes Resort has a one-week minimum?

I'm not sure which Twin Lakes lvk is referring to, ans there are lots of "Twin Lakes" around. The cabin we rented at Tamarack Lodge is on the Twin Lakes at Mammoth Lakes:

http://www.tamaracklodge.com/

These rent by the day, not the week. Fishing is pretty good at the higher lakes there, like Mamie and Mary, or at least it was the last time I fished there (years ago). The area is still very "fishing-oriented".
enzian is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 01:23 PM
  #17  
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Enzian, no I don't see where VL has a one week minimum; they do list daily rates; I'll have to call.
How was Tamarack Lodge?
caribcarol is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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caribcarol, were you thinking of a cabin at the DE or a hotel room? If a cabin, I'd check the rates at the condo too. You might be pleasantly surprised, or the company that handles the condo rental might have something else that would work.

For those who are intrigued by 20 Lake Basin, it's possible to hike from the Basin to Tuolumne Meadows. I've forgotten the distance, but it's a two-day hike which means you have to get a backcountry permit, a bear box (rentals available) and figure out how you're going to get back to your car at Saddlebag. If you leave the car at the entrance to Saddlebag on Tioga Road, you can take the bus from YNP heading to Lee Vining, but you'd have to hike from the road a couple miles before you even get to the water taxi.
Jean is online now  
Feb 18th, 2010, 08:21 PM
  #19  
 
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caribcarol---Tamarack was fine; we had a 3-bedroom cabin and enjoyed using the outdoor barbeque one night. The restaurant there is supposed to be very good---lots of celebrity photos in the main lodge, but we didn't try it.

But I would rather have been farther up in the Mammoth Lakes basin, at one of the smaller, higher lakes. I mentioned several on your other thread (along with two hikes we did ther). We could not find a cabin at those others that would accommodate all of us (we had 7) so that's why we chose Tamarack.

The one-week minimum at Virginia Lakes is somewhere on their website---it applies from mid-June to Labor Day. But maybe they make exceptions in this economy.
enzian is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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I agree with the recommendations of Whoa Nellie (great food and great view of Mono Lake) and the restaurant at Convict Lake, and, as I mentioned in your fishing thread, the Lakefront restaurant at Tamarack Lodge.

You can take the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain; you and have great views and visit the nature center. Some days there are guided nature walks at the top.

Bodie is very interesting. Try to take the guided tour of the Mill. Mono Lake is also very interesting. Try to take the guided canoe trip (weekends only, I think), go on the (free) guided morning birdwatching walk (weekends only, I think), and the evening stargazing program (also free; one night a week).

Devils Postpile is worth a visit. As others have noted, you need to take a shuttle bus, from around Mammoth Mountain Inn, to get there. The bus stops at other places, e.g., Rainbow Falls, Agnew Meadows, that offer great hiking options.

Horseback riding is offered in several different places in the Mammoth area.

Bikes (regular or mountain) can be rented in Mammoth (e.g., at Brian's or Mammoth Mountain Sporting Goods). There are nice bike paths in town off the streets. I tried mountain biking on the ski mountain once and found it very frightening.

There's a huge Vons market in Mammoth.

I think you'd be best off staying in Mammoth, probably in the Lakes basin, and making day trips to the other places.

Will you go going through Yosemite at both the beginning and end of your trip?
judilie is offline  

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