You are here

29 Nov 2022
Related Items: 
Mammoth Vacation Planning

There are many things that set Mammoth Lakes apart from other cities: the nature views, the wildlife, and of course, the world-class ski resort. But we're also one of the few places in the Western states that offers a public transportation system to take you anywhere in town! And did we mention it's free?

Learn more about how to get around town using the Eastern Sierra Transit free shuttle system so that you can relax and let someone else do the driving!

Getting to the ski lodges

No matter which Mammoth Mountain Reservations unit you have rented for your vacation, there is a nearby shuttle that can take you to the slopes: 

  • Catch the Red Line, which runs along Old Mammoth Road and Main Street all the way up to Main Lodge.

  • The Blue Line runs between the Village and Canyon Lodge

  • You can get to Juniper Springs Resort and Eagle Lodge via two different lines: the Yellow Line, which runs to the Village, and the Green Line, which will take you to the downtown (Vons) area.

  • The Orange Line runs from the Village to Tamarack Lodge

As you can see, there are plenty of bus lines that lead to the mountain. So, you don’t have to worry about parking at Main Lodge or braving the end-of-day traffic coming down the mountain.

Getting around town

Whether you’re headed downtown to do some grocery shopping or you want to take the family to the ice rink, there are two lines that you can use:

  • The Purple Line is the most extensive bus route in Mammoth, with stops at the Village, Welcome Center, Vons and the Library. You can spot the Purple Line because it is a slightly smaller bus than the typical Eastern Sierra Transit buses.

  • If you’re planning a night on the town, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the Winter Night Trolley. This classic red trolley with a green roof runs between 5:30pm and 2am

Tips for using the Mammoth buses

There are a few helpful things to keep in mind when relying on the Mammoth buses to get around town:

  • Be patient. The buses run frequently and consistently during the winter months. But, when there’s a lot of traffic in town or bad weather, delays are not unheard of. Loading and unloading can also take slightly more time than an urban city bus as carrying around ski and snowboard gear can slow you down!

  • Expect some wet seats. As we mentioned, most of the bus lines run to and from the various ski lodges around Mammoth. And that means that you’re liable to find quite a few wet seats as people track snow onto the bus. If you’re not traveling with snow gear yourself, keep an eye out before you sit so that you don’t end up with wet clothes!

  • It helps to know your stop number or nearest street. Navigating a new transit system can feel intimidating, but here in Mammoth, it’s pretty simple! If you can tell the driver your stop number or the street where your condo is located, they’ll be sure to drop you at the right place. 

How often do the buses run?

Not only is the shuttle service in Mammoth free, but it’s also convenient! The buses that run to and from the Mammoth Mountain ski lodges—the Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green Lines—run every 15 or 20 minutes. 

The Orange and Purple Lines as well as the Winter Night Trolley run every 30 minutes.

Even though the buses run frequently, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the time schedule of the stop nearest your condo. Stops are clearly marked and numbered so that you can easily navigate the public transit system.

You can also download the Transit App to get real-time updates on when the next bus will arrive.

What about during the slow seasons?

As a way to conserve resources, Eastern Sierra Transit reduces and increases service with the conditions on Mammoth Mountain. If the town is filled with people after the latest storm, you might notice that the buses come even more frequently than scheduled. 

But, if there aren’t as many people coming to enjoy the snow, operations may be adjusted to account for the decrease in use.

Can you ride with a dog on Mammoth’s public transit?

Yes! Eastern Sierra Transit allows dogs to ride for free on town shuttles. All you need to do is make sure that Fido is leashed and muzzled to keep them and other passengers safe while riding.

Keep in mind, of course, that the buses sometimes get filled with skiers and snowboarders carrying their gear. If your dog is nervous in crowded spaces or isn’t used to seeing people in helmets and other bulky equipment, they may not be well-suited to travel on the bus.

Other options to get around without a car

The Mammoth Shuttle system covers the majority of town, but if you want on-demand service or more flexibility, there are a few other options:

  • Dial-a-Ride. This shuttle service, which is also part of Eastern Sierra Transit, has offered on-demand rides for Mammoth residents and tourists for many years. You can call them up for a ride anytime between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, for a ride under $5. Disabled passengers are prioritized and ride for free.

  • Taxis or Ride-shares. To be sure, you’re not going to have as much luck with rideshare apps like Uber here in Mammoth than in a big city. But, luckily, there are a number of local taxi companies that you can rely on.

How do you plan on getting around Mammoth?

While it is very easy to drive around a small town like Mammoth, we would encourage you to take advantage of the public transit! It’s safe, free, and reliable. And, you’ll enjoy the excitement and energy of other Mammoth visitors in town! 

Planning a winter vacation? Check out our Mammoth Resorts to find the perfect stay.