Lake George
Some lakes have intriguing names, others are hard to pronounce, and then there’s Lake George. Don’t let the unassuming name fool you—this George easily dubs as “Gorgeous” George, a crown jewel of the Mammoth Lakes Basin set at 9,250 feet and reachable by car. George stands out for its intimate, hidden setting that packs in dramatic scenery along its tranquil shores. Thank the Sierra ridge that butts up to it: Crystal Crag, a formation resembling a giant cathedral, juts just beyond the cold, clear water. Stroll the shoreline or relax at one of the lake-hugging day-use sites. Fishing is popular, likely because of the solitude it offers compared to neighboring lakes (which are also beautiful but not as off the beaten path). Lake George also has a first come, first served campground—some of the best real estate around for an alpine overnight escape between the forest, glacier-fed water, and the mountains.

BEER BONUS: Mammoth Lakes Brewing Company has a fantastic tasting room (94 Berner St.) offering free samples of their award-winning microbrews. If you like hoppy IPAs, you’ll love the IPA 395 made with local hops, desert sage, and mountain juniper. Pick up your favorite to go!

ACCOMMODATIONS: For a good base camp in town, Snow Creek Resort offers a variety of condo rentals (including some dog-friendly options). Or go to visitmammoth.com for a list of other properites in the area.

Lake George is located just outside of town in the Mammoth Lakes Basin off of Lake Mary Rd. Camping at Lake George is available from late June until early September. Fees are approximately $18 per site, and all sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Dog-friendly!