The more difficult ascent up Mammoth Mountain.


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FATMAP difficulty grade



The summit of Mammoth Mountain is an obvious and worthy hiking objective.

There are two main ways to reach it on foot: via the Mammoth Mountain Trail or via the Dragon’s Back Trail. The route mapped here climbs and descends the Dragon’s Back Trail.

This is the more difficult option for summiting Mammoth Mountain.

It’s the shortest and steepest route to the top of the mountain, gaining almost 2,500 vertical feet in just over 3 miles.

Adding to the difficulty, as compared to the Mammoth Mountain Trail, is that it’s more difficult to shorten your hike if you’re feeling tired.

If you hike the Mammoth Mountain trail to the summit and you don’t feel like hiking down, it’s easy to download on the gondola and return to your starting point.

Dragon’s Back, on the other hand, begins in the Lakes Basin area.

While hiking on this face of the mountain provides stunning views of the lakes below you, you would also need to use a shuttle bus in addition to the gondola to return to your car if you bail off of this route.

It’s best to complete the hike as mapped. The climb to the summit is steep, rugged, and ascends a never-ending series of switchbacks.

Expect a serious summit climb, and all the things that come with it, including bad weather and potential elevation sickness.

Just because you’re hiking to the summit of a well-developed ski resort doesn’t mean you can skimp on your big mountain preparedness! Sources: