Panorama Dome is a 1.6-mile round-trip snowshoe and cross-country ski destination that is good for those with beginner-to-moderate abilities and that climbs to a vista in the center of the Mammoth Lakes-area peaks.
Beginning at the Lake Mary Road winter closure, there are two ways to reach the top of the dome. The clearest and easiest is by continuing up Lake Mary Road for about 0.4 miles. The tree-covered slope to your left will become less and less steep. Near the intersection with Old Mammoth Road (also closed during the winter), a hairpin left turn will put you on the ridge up the backside of Panorama Dome. Trace the ridge up, or follow tracks from previous climbers to the top of the dome. Here you'll have an unobstructed view of Mammoth Mountain to the north (the ski resort is on the other side), Mammoth Crest toward the west, and dominant Sherwin Ridge immediately to the south, along with views of the White Mountains across the Owens River Valley.
From the top you can retrace your route back toward Old Mammoth Road with the option to continue up Lake Mary Road to one of the nearby lakes such as Horseshoe Lake, or you can head through the trees down the steeper north face of the dome to reconnect with the Lake Mary Road path near the trailhead.
Make sure to stick to the public access trail on the left side of Lake Mary Road. Tamarack Lodge maintains the groomed trails for day use fee users and prices range from $5-$29 as of 2017.
There are no amenities at the road closure trailhead.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.