Outbound Collective logo

Explore Crowley Lake Columns

Mono County, California

based on 1 reviews


Added by Gregg Boydston

Explore one-of-a-kind chalk towers at this rarely crowded lake only 30 minutes from Mammoth Lakes.

Starting from Mammoth Lakes you head South on Highway 395 until you get to Benton Crossing Rd. (Green Church on the corner) and make a left.

From Bishop you head North for about 30-40 miles until you hit Benton Crossing Rd. and make a right.

From here, continue West and bending South for close to 20 miles. You will pass many turn offs, but you are looking for a dirt road that will be 2 miles after the Layton Springs Rd. turn off. The dirt road is not labeled at the pavement. If you hit Owens Gorge Rd., you have gone too far. My odometer was exactly 2 miles after Layton Springs Rd. to the dirt road turn off. You will then be able to follow the dirt roads and ignore the couple of turn offs, the tire tracks will be obvious. (Satellite view on Google Maps shows these dirts roads and you can follow along on there if needed). About 10 minutes of driving on the dirt road and it will spit you out on the beach of Crowley Lake. Don't go much further with a 2 wheel drive vehicle as the sand can be quite soft. Just park off to the side if you feel unsure. With an AWD or 4WD vehicle, you can make a left around the cliff sides and drive down the beach until the rocks start.

From this point you will start to see the columns or chalk towers along the cliffside. These will continue along the beach for a couple miles and you can walk as far or as little as you'd like. There area a few caves in the cliffside that are a bit of a walk down, as well as some of the bigger towers. (As pictured above)

The one spot that is challenging depending on your ground clearance is just beyond the steep hill pictured above. It looks like some people have been spinning their tires and making some weird holes, but I know the roads get grated every once in a while. I did this in my fairly low Subaru Impreza also pictured above.


  • It Can Be Windy
  • Fishing Has A Season in the Area
  • 2WD Vehicles Can Make This Trip (experience with dirt roads recommended)
  • Beach May Vary on Lakes Water Level
Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

Explore Crowley Lake Columns Reviews

We parked as close as we felt comfortable driving with snow on the ground. The walk ended up being an easy 4mi on hard packed snow. The columns were neat to see & Crowley was cool to see frozen.

This was an awesome day for me and my family. Thank you! So glad I stumbled upon this post and Outbound Collective! This place is one of a kind and otherworldly. Great rock collecting and exploring. Around every point you see something new and even more amazing that what you've already seen. Rivals Devil's Postpile and it's so serene and solitary. According to our calculations the turn off is closer to 15 miles, rather than 20, and someone had left a small cryptic hand painted arrow sign at the turn in that gave a clue we were on the right track. We were in a 4x4 Ford Explorer and a few of the steeper hills were slightly challenging, but we made it and so glad!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Wild Willy's Hot Spring

Soak in Mammoth's Hilltop Hot Springs

Crab Cooker Hot Springs

Shepherd Hot Springs

Photograph the Fall Colors of McGee Creek

Backpack to Red Slate Mountain