Twin Falls

Inyo National Forest / Mammoth Lakes / Mono County / Fresno County, California, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
Twin Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Twin Falls drains Lake Mamie as it tumbles into the Twin Lakes near the Mammoth Lakes area (which is most known as a resort town for skiing). We were able to experience this reportedly 250ft waterfall from both its top and its bottom.

From the top, we were able to see the waterfall tumble down the cliff below us towards the scenic Twin Lakes Recreation area. In the afternoon, this was a great spot to take photos and perhaps even have a little bit of a picnic as the viewpoint was right next to a picnic area. But given that the afternoon sun was mostly behind us, it really brought out the colors in the Twin Lakes and the surroundings. We were also able to see that they might even turn off this waterfall as the outflow of Lake Mamie seemed to pass through a sluice gate before rushing below the pair of bridges on its way over the precipice. I have to apologize to my former office-mate for disagreeing with her that this was the waterfall they turn off. Apparently, she was right all along!

At the bottom, we were able to walk towards a bridge separating the two lakes comprising Twin Lakes, which I'll refer to as the Twin Lakes Bridge. In afternoon lighting, the lake was colorful, clear, and serene. So it was perfect for taking lake photos while basking in the chill atmosphere of people enjoying themselves amongst classic Sierra frontcountry. But in addition to the lakes, we could look against the afternoon light across one of Twin Lakes and see Twin Falls tumbling right into it.

Although afternoon lighting was good for looking away from the falls, it wasn't great for photographing the falls itself. Even though we were pretty happy with the waterfall exhibiting unusually high flow during our August visit in 2010, clearly the best time to photograph the falls from the bottom was in the morning. Julie and I first visited the falls back in September 2001 in the morning so it had nice lighting, but the falls had low flow. So we were never really able to get that combination of great flow and great lighting.

In any case, I think the best view of the waterfall is from this bridge. I recalled trying to get a closer look at the falls at its base, but after running into lots of overgrowth and obstructed views, I determined it wasn't worth it.

Finally, I'd have to say that for people enjoying themselves at the Twin Lakes (whether it's swimming, chilling, boating, fishing, etc.), Twin Falls made for a very nice scenic backdroop for all this activity. I couldn't imagine a better conglomeration of attractions in one place. I mean, it's got attractive lakes for recreation, a waterfall in the backdrop, walking paths, and mountains surrounding the scene. What more can you ask for?




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Just north of the Twin Lakes along Minaret Road was the access to the Devil's Postpile National Monument, which was named after these dramatic basalt columnsJust north of the Twin Lakes along Minaret Road was the access to the Devil's Postpile National Monument, which was named after these dramatic basalt columns
Just a few minutes drive south on the 395 from Mammoth was the access road to Convict Lake, which was a very attractive drive-to lakeJust a few minutes drive south on the 395 from Mammoth was the access road to Convict Lake, which was a very attractive drive-to lake
Twin Falls is very close to the Mammoth Lakes Resort Community, but back on the Hwy 395, in just a few minutes drive from the Mammoth turnoff is Hot Creek, which was once a good place for a warm soakTwin Falls is very close to the Mammoth Lakes Resort Community, but back on the Hwy 395, in just a few minutes drive from the Mammoth turnoff is Hot Creek, which was once a good place for a warm soak
Further north of Mammoth along the 395 was the access to the South Tufa Reserve on the southern shore of Mono LakeFurther north of Mammoth along the 395 was the access to the South Tufa Reserve on the southern shore of Mono Lake
Looking over the top of the falls towards the Twin LakesLooking over the top of the falls towards the Twin Lakes

Looking down at the Twin Lakes from the top of Twin FallsLooking down at the Twin Lakes from the top of the falls

Proof that this waterfall can be turned offProof that this waterfall can be turned off

Closer look at Twin Falls fronted by paddle boatersCloser look at Twin Falls fronted by paddle boaters

Looking downstream from the Twin Lakes bridgeLooking downstream from the Twin Lakes bridge

Looking over some submerged reeds towards Twin FallsLooking over some submerged reeds towards the falls

How Twin Falls looked across the lake back in 2001How Twin Falls looked across the lake back in 2001

As close to the waterfall as I was able to getAs close to the waterfall as I was able to get

A more direct look at Twin Falls from back in 2001A more direct look at the falls from back in 2001


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep from the very top of the falls


Bottom up sweep from the bridge at Twin Lakes zooming in on the waterfall at the end


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the Mammoth Lakes Village (roughly 6 hours drive north of Los Angeles), we drove west on Main St/Hwy 203 towards the traffic light at the intersection with Minaret Rd/Lake Mary Rd. We continued going straight at the light and followed the Lake Mary Road for another 2.2 miles eventually reaching the Twin Lakes Camp Store.

There's a spur road (Twin Lakes Loop Road) to the right leading to car park where we were briefly able to park the car and walk to the bridge.

Beyond the camp store, we drove further up the paved Twin Lakes Loop Road for about 0.4 miles before we turned right and followed the much busier Lake Mary Road for another 1.5 miles towards the Twin Falls Picnic Area right across from Lake Mamie (just beyond Lake Mary).




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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