Mammoth Lakes Wedding Venue Guide: Hayden Cabin

May 31, 2020

Hayden Cabin is uniquely situated on the edge of town along Mammoth Creek in the zone where the pine forests start to give way to the high desert.

The space is built around a cabin that’s more than a century old just off Old Mammoth Road. 

The house is the focal point of the venue but the surrounding clearing in the trees and the sunset views of the mountains south and west of town are what make this spot great. In order to maintain such a wonderful property, hiring property management must’ve been done by its owner(s).

The first detail to mention is that it’s one of the few independent local wedding venues. 

Most of our spots operate under an umbrella company like Mammoth Mountain or are associated with a resort like Convict Lake or Double Eagle.

Hayden Cabin isn’t affiliated with anything. I’ll go into this in more detail below, but its independence has a lot of implications for organizing a wedding there. 

On one hand, it’s essentially a blank canvas. You can create the space to look and function in any way you might dream up. 

But with that freedom comes a lot of extra work that you’ll likely need some help with. The setup, food and drink, flow and styling is up to you.

*This is why I should mention our #1 tip for Hayden Cabin up top: hire an outside coordinator and caterer. We’ve done several weddings here and Green Fox Events, M&M Events, Rummage Girl Weddings and Mammoth Catering have been a part of almost every one. I can’t imagine what it would take to try an organize an event here on your own—a local coordinator will make this exponentially easier. 

The Hayden Cabin flow:

  • We’ve shot a few ceremonies there, but Hayden Cabin shines as a reception site so I’m going to keep this to the party. Most couples hold the wedding at one of the local sites like Forest Chapel or Sierra Star Golf Course, and then transport everybody over for the party.
  • The typical layout includes a dance floor right in front of the cabin with various types of bars (full-service and self-service) close by. 
  • Most couples bring in a tent to provide a warm and quiet refuge for dinner, but the majority of the festivities here take place outdoors. 
  • There’s great space behind the cabin for the catering crew to prepare food and the DJ typically sets up right in front of the cabin.

Here are some of the things that make Hayden Cabin the perfect spot to hold your reception:

  • Honestly, when the conditions are right, there’s no cooler dance floor/party space in Mammoth. With big pine trees on one side and a rad old cabin on the other, Hayden Cabin is tough to beat here. Throw in professional styling and lighting across the dance floor and it’s just such a magical spot to rage, wedding style.
  • It’s super close to town, yet just far enough away that if feels like you’re out in the wilderness. 
  • There’s something to be said for piecing together the celebration from scratch. You can pick and choose every detail that goes into the day without having anything built in like you have with most other venues. You can do your own food, coordinator, layout…everything is customizable. 
  • The views of the mountains closest to town here are incredible, especially at sunset. 
  • There is ample space to set up bars, lawn games, photo booths, seating areas, etc… 
  • We tend to do grand entrance/first dance here as the sun first hits the tops of the trees to the west and the light for that moment is usually amazing. You don’t really get that anywhere else in Mammoth. 
  • Weather dependent, there’s nothing like an almost-entirely outdoor reception. Most of Mammoth’s venues bring a lot the reception indoors. One thing I love about West Shore Lake Tahoe weddings is that everything is outdoors and there are only a few venues here that do that—none as well as Hayden Cabin. 

Here are some things to think about when planning an evening here: 

As I mentioned earlier—the lack of existing infrastructure requires a much more hands-on approach to the space. Hire a coordinator and let them do most of the work for you, but you’ll still have lots of options like…

  • Bathrooms: There aren’t bathrooms on site. You’ll have to import. We’ve seen the whole range, from construction site porta-potties to insane luxury mobile bathrooms on a trailer. 
  • Food and drink and everything that goes in to food service: You’ll need to bring in a caterer and bar tender, etc. Visit Mammoth has created a directory of them right here, check it out. 
  • Styling: This place is great when left mostly natural but it shines when properly styled. Check with Rummage Girl Weddings and Green Fox Events—I’ve seen them both make this space look and feel incredible without taking anything from it’s Mammoth charm.
  • A tent: We’re partial to the clear tent with a view of the stars, but the white tent with open sides is a great option as well. 
  • Heaters: Your more sober guests will thank you here—arrange for heaters to be placed around the dance floor and in the tent. Even if it’s 80 degrees during the day, it’ll be cold at night and these make a huge difference. 
A few more things:
  • There is plenty of parking here but it all happens on the long dirt road that leads in to the venue. A parking lot would be easier, like the one next door at Sierra Meadows Ranch, but Hayden Cabin makes you earn it. It’s worth the short walk. 
  • Make sure your guests are equipped for a cold evening. It’s never not freezing at 10:00 p.m. in Mammoth.
  • I’d always recommend hiring local vendors in Mammoth, but this is especially true here. The electrical system isn’t entirely modern and there are a lot of logistical issues that arise when holding a party at the end of a long dirt road. 
  • The cabin is a museum as well and, although they usually allow visitors to take a look around, it isn’t a space to be used for wedding prep or storage. You’ll have to create another space for that, if necessary. 
  • Hayden Cabin is well-protected from wind on three sides but it can still howl in there because…it’s still Mammoth. 

That’s it for Hayden Cabin. It’s one of my favorite reception spaces anywhere and is guaranteed to proved the backdrop for an epic mountain party. Like Camp High Sierra, it’s rustic and probably not for everybody but if an outdoor party is your jam and you don’t mind putting in the work to bring all the pieces together, you can’t beat this spot. 

Scroll below for a selection of photos from the last few years at Hayden Cabin.

Check out a blog post from Cassie & Buddy’s Hayden Cabin reception here.

Check out Hayden Cabin’s website right here for more from the source.

Head back to the Mammoth Wedding Venue Guide