Mammoth Pass Trail

While evidence of the original trail over the Mammoth Pass may be difficult to locate, modern day trails follow the general corridor used by American Indian traders both before and after Euro-American settlement. The trail connects the North Fork San Joaquin Valley to the Mammoth Lakes Basin by way of Devils Postpile.

At 9,300 feet, Mammoth Pass is the lowest point for more than 250 miles along the Sierra crest, and has been important to the history of this area. In the 1860s, sheepherders came over Mammoth Pass from the east to graze their flocks on the alpine and subalpine meadows in and around the Middle Fork Valley. The trail was also used by miners, U.S. cavalry patrols during the early history of Yosemite National Park, and American Indians. Use has continued today by Forest Service trail crews, hikers, and pack-stock outfits.

In the first decade after the monument was established in 1911, most visitors arrived by crossing the Sierra crest from the east by way of Mammoth Pass on the south shoulder of Mammoth Mountain. Between the 1950s and 1970s, the area became the focus of a citizen movement led by local conservationists, packers, and tourism business owners to prevent the construction of a trans-Sierra highway, which would have followed the general route of the historical trail. Due to the history associated with this trail, the Mammoth Pass Trail, extending from the North Fork San Joaquin Valley through Devils Postpile to the Mammoth Lakes basin, may therefore qualify for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as a cultural landscape.

Last updated: September 22, 2015

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PO Box 3999
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546


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