Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

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  • Rains over Mono Lake.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Mono Lake shoreline.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Black Point and Mono Lake.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • The famous Mono Lake overlook.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • A school group is dwarfed by the calcium carbonate tufa pillars. - Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Travellers pull over to take in the scene at Mono Lake overlook.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Negit and Paoha Islands seen from Panum Crater.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Mono Lake South Tufa and the Sierra Nevada.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • South Tufa Trail.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • South Tufa.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Calcium carbonate pillars formed by underwater springs.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Mono Lake seen from Panum Crater.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Boat dock and Sierras at Mono Lake.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
  • Mono Lake.- Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Photogenic. Cool geology. Open year round.
Cons: 
Crowded. Cold water. Not all roads are maintained in winter.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

With the Sierra Nevada looming in the west and the Great Basin to the east, Mono Lake is a gem in an environment of extremes. The 65-square-mile saline lake is host to the often photographed tufa towers and millions of migrating birds.

Because of the arid location in a rain shadow, life in the Eastern Sierra has been shaped by the ownership and availability of water. In 1941, the City of Los Angeles began pulling from Mono Lake’s freshwater sources and compromised the lake’s fragile ecosystem. Water levels began to drop over the subsequent decades, and an epic environmental battled ensued.

Mono Lake Committee founder David Gaines and a group of 1970s activists began a campaign to save the lake and restore water levels. Beginning with a 1983 California Supreme Court ruling, champions of Mono Lake have been victorious in a series of actions to save the lake. Today water levels are on the rise, and protections as a state natural reserve ensure Mono Lake will be there for future generations to enjoy.

The banks of Mono Lake are laced with trails granting access to popular features such as Black Point and South Tufa. 

Break from the shoreline crowds by kayaking or swimming in the uncannily buoyant waters. Watch for submerged tufa and high afternoon winds.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(64 within a 30 mile radius)

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