Background of Mammoth Lakes

The Mono people were the first settlers of the Mammoth Lakes area, thousands of years ago. They settled in the valley but traveled by foot to other lands when trading with different tribes.
The European history of Mammoth Lakes started in 1877, when four prospectors staked a claim on Mineral Hill, south of the current town, along Old Mammoth Road. In 1878, the Mammoth Mining Company was organized to mine Mineral Hill, which caused a gold rush. By the end of 1878, 1500 people settled in the mining camp called Mammoth City. By 1880, the company had shut down, and by 1888, the population declined to less than 10 people. By the early 1900s, the town of Mammoth was informally established near Mammoth Creek. The economics of the original town was based on logging and tourism

More Recent Background of Sierra Meadows Ranch

In 1965, Lou Roeser and some fellow horseman were on their way back from working at “El Dorado,” a fictional western town constructed along Mammoth Creek for the filming of Steve McQueen’s “Nevada Smith”. Crossing the meadow, the men found themselves in one of those quintessential Mammoth afternoons, where the sky takes on that trademark “Sierra Blue.” As they neared Old Mammoth Road, one of Roeser’s companions remarked about how a beautiful little meadow across the creek from the Hayden Cabin would be a perfect spot to summer some horses in the high country. Roeser nodded his agreement; shortly thereafter, Roeser sought and obtained a special use permit to create Sierra Meadows Ranch.
Having seen the result of subsequent years of growth at (then) Dave McCoy’s Mammoth Mountain, Roeser envisioned Sierra Meadows Ranch as a family-directed resort which would preserve the key aspects of western culture, particularly equestrian skills and western heritage.
At first, the Ranch focused on equestrian services, but the success of the operation and the growing demand for public recreation facilities convinced Roeser to keep the Resort open in the winter as a cross country ski resort.
Additional activities followed, including hay rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter, often times followed by a barbecue dinner and live country or bluegrass music. The Ranch hosted riding and roping exhibitions in the arena, provided guided trail rides and riding lessons to those wanting to experience a taste of the western experience



The Hayden Cabin was a hunting and fishing lodge. Beds and meals were offered on a limited basis. Would you stay here? Many of the hunters and fishermen who used Emmett Hayden as a guide, stayed right here. Three of the four bedrooms were available for rent. Others camped on the grounds. Margaret kept the cabin and cooked for guests. The cabin was the scene of many social gatherings.


Downstream from Mammoth Creek Park, in a peaceful meadow off Sherwin Creek Road, stands Margaret and Emmett Hayden’s original Depression-era hunting and fishing lodge. A mapmaker from Southern California, Hayden was one of the first, in 1927, to secure a summer cabin lease from the Forest Service. He built the structure from local logs and granite, by hand, over the course of 10 summers. Today, carefully preserved as in its heyday, the cabin houses an intimate collection of historic furnishings, photos and artifacts from Mammoth’s 19th century gold-camp years to the 1940s.


Mammoth Creek

The primary surface watercourse in the Mammoth hydrologic basin and a major feeder to the Upper Owens River, Mammoth Creek drains the numerous lakes, streams and snowfields of the Lakes Basin, as well as Valentine and Sherwin lakes and the southeastern flanks of Mammoth Mountain. Meandering through the heart of Old Mammoth, the creek flows down valley to the east, across Highway 395, to its confluence with Hot Creek. Its point of origin is considered the outlet of Twin Lakes. There is good fishing access from various points along the Town Loop and from Sherwin Creek Campground.

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Mammoth Creek Park

Set on the banks of babbling Mammoth Creek, right on the Town Loop, with spectacular views of Mammoth Mountain and the Sherwin Range, Mammoth Creek Park is a favorite warm-weather spot for locals and visitors alike, featuring grassy lawns, play equipment, natural granite boulders, parking, restrooms and picnic tables.
There’s a nice shaded stream bank, too, where kids can wade in the creek and runners can soak their weary legs in water that only recently was snow.


– Marye Russell Roeser –
– Skandar Reid