Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
640.00 ft (195.07 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
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Formed by underwater volcanic activity during a period of time when the surface of Mono Lake was much higher than it currently is, the landscape around Black Point on the lake's north bank is surreal, with a peak that provides panoramic views and an interesting set of slot canyons that can be explored on foot by those willing to hike in.

From the parking area, which sits at the end of a dead end dirt road, Black Point is a large mound of sand and stone rising immediately to the west. Visible from most other points of Mono Lake, the peak of Black Point offers its own panoramic views of this beautiful landscape. However reaching the peak and the fissures requires a slow slog through unmarked sand thickly dotted with sage brush.

There are no trail markings, so having a navigation aid would be incredibly helpful here. We had cell service for most of the hike, though it is best not to rely on this. The options for hiking here are heading straight toward Black Point (a long continuous uphill climb), or heading toward the shore and tracing more flat hard-packed sand toward the fissures before making the final climb up a steeper slope. 

If heading out on the shore route, pass by the arrow marker immediately next to the parking area and continue toward the water. We found that following other tracks through the sand is the best course of route-finding until nearing the stone, at which point we mapped it.

The fissures themselves were formed when volcanic heat combined with rapid cooling from the water, causing the large stone formation to split in sheer walls. Today sand lies at the bottom, and several slot canyon formations are wide enough to walk through and explore. Although the length of the canyons isn't too long, the uniqueness of a stone formation like this in this part of California is definitely interesting. 

It is possible to explore the fissures, and then retrace your route back out, or if you can climb a 10 foot wall, to continue from one end to the other and emerge not far from Black Point. 

At 3 miles, the loop hike isn't far, but is very slow. The landscape feels almost lunar, but the views and the canyon environment are impressive.

There are no amenities of any kind along the hike. There is also no trail, forcing hikers to make their own way, however there are tracks from past visitors which will generally lead you in the right direction.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Unique environment. Less traveled. Panoramic views.

Cons

No trail markings.

Trailhead Elevation

6,440.00 ft (1,962.91 m)

Highest point

6,950.00 ft (2,118.36 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Big vistas
Cave

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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