Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
410.00 ft (124.97 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.30 mi (3.70 km)
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Alternating between riparian and desert scrub environments, the Lee Vining Creek Trail is a small foot path tracing the creek's route from the town of Lee Vining toward its destination of Mono Lake.

While the creek deposists into the lake, the path veers off soon before and climbs toward its end at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Visitor Center. A round trip totaling 2.3 miles, the path begins in town immediately south of the Lake View Lodge buildings at a seemingly out-of-place metal interpretive sign set along Highway 395. From the sign, the trail descends on a couple switchbacks until it meets with Lee Vining Creek.

Lee Vining Creek itself is a success story, as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power had diverted 4 of 5 natural streams that feed Mono Lake by the early 1940's, causing a signficant drop in the lake's level. Over time, locals formed committee's fighting to restore water flow to Mono Lake, which has caused the lake level to rise and led to a healthier ecology overall around the lake area.

The trail parallels the creek before climbing up to its terminus at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Visitor Center building. Overall the trail is a generally easy meander with a little bit of climbing.

From the Visitor Center, visitors can explore exhibits and a gift shop. Hikers may opt to continue on the Mono Lake Trail, adding another 2.3 miles to round trip to Mono Lake's edge and back. 

Roadside parking is available throughout Lee Vining at no cost. There is a small entrance fee for those parking at the Visitor Center.

Hikers and visitors can stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in central Lee Vining for a wealth of information on the area and free trail guide on the Lee Vining Creek Trail.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Centrally located. Access to Mono Lake Visitor Center.

Cons

Trail can remain covered in snow late into season

Trailhead Elevation

6,770.00 ft (2,063.50 m)

Highest point

6,770.00 ft (2,063.50 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Fishing
Big vistas
Family friendly

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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

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