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Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Cairns, Australia
Level Contributor
15 posts
12 reviews
Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Hi,

We are a party of 4 flying into LA December 1st (from OZ) We are killing time before heading to New York and have 10 days.

We've only been to California in the summer spring and Autumn so this will be new.

None of us have seen mammoth lakes area and we all are into snow sports so we intend to drive up there and stay in an RV at RV parks along the way.

We are aware it's very early season.

Any hot tips for the drive.

ALTERNATIVELY we are thinking of just hiring a car and staying at the mammoth lakes cabins. The good thing about that is that we will have a more versatile car to see some other things.

What are people's thoughts?

9 replies to this topic
Elk Grove...
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong
Level Contributor
19,836 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

RV is typically more of a burden than an asset in traveling, unless you plan to go set up shop a few days at a time and fully enjoy the stay. As a transportation mean, no. Especially in the winter time in the mountains. And be honest, would you feel comfortable staying in a tin-can like structure in freezing weather? Or more comfortable in a motel/hotel with heaters?

You will be traversing through US-395, a major artery highway to Mammoth. Road conditions, being early in the season, is probably not an issue. If a snow storm is rolling through, you may have some delays regardless of the vehicle chosen. Snow should be okay at Mammoth, as it is a snow magnet. But check with the resort's statistics.

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,556 posts
2. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

I would look at RV Park amenities vs cabin amenities. I know there are some nice condos with indoor pools, outdoor heater pools, hot tubs, saunas. etc. which might be nice.

Also look at parking at Ski Resorts (where is RV Parking, do you want to unhook RV to park there). And look at transportation to Ski Resorts- can you use shuttles, gondola or whatnot.

I think a regular car will give you more flexibility.

Edited: 20 September 2018, 16:01
Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
Level Contributor
31,425 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Don't rent an RV in winter, take a car - but you'll need AWD or 4WD and carry chains.

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
4,767 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Water and sewer hookups at RV parks will be turned off for winter. The tanks and lines in the RV can also freeze.

So Cal
Level Contributor
11,783 posts
75 reviews
5. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Have you driven an RV in snow? Have you driven a regular car in snow? If not, I would definitely go with the car + cabin or condo (Mammoth has a million condos for rent).

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
30,164 posts
6. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Dec 1st isnt quite winter, still Fall, hard to predict the weather now but if its snowy an icy Id prefer to have a car, but it also could be dry? Id check ith RV parks to see if ammenities (water, etc) are still available in late Fall before you look into RV's.

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,254 posts
432 reviews
7. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

Drop the RV idea.

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
13,609 posts
120 reviews
8. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

You would need a thoroughly winterized RV. Add at least 20% to your driving time for an RV on the 395. Be aware that if they close the road to any vehicles that don't have chains (usually happens at night, btw, really rare in December during the day), you will be stuck in the RV at the side of the road. Apparently, most RV's have a propane heater for that - but you have to worry about the water lines freezing (so winterized - and if you can find one that you can afford to rent, let us know!)

I'd do the cabins in Mammoth. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in one of those parking lot type RV places (so that you can heat the RV at night). I too would check with the RV parks (and so far, no one has come along who RV's in that region - at least not in the commercial parks and not in winter).

If there is snow at Mammoth, it will be crowded, so it's crucial to make your cabin reservations ASAP, as pricing will go up as the time approaches (and availability will be virtually zero if it's a weekend and there's snow in Mammoth).

Have you looked into Mountain High and Big Bear?

LA
Level Contributor
11,479 posts
1 review
9. Re: Driving RV from LA to Mammoth lakes for winter sports

It might be easier to fly into Reno and then rent an SUV to ski in Tahoe. Multiple options at various elevations.

If the snow is not great, you could then drive down Highway 395 to Mammoth.

An RV is just not at all practical in the cold weather, regardless of whether there is snow or not. Early December is early enough in the ski season that you could find a condo accommodation quite easily and have a nicer experience.

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