Explore and Hike Mono Lake
Yosemite › Mono Lake Tufta Reserve
Added by Justin Ritucci
- Explore one of the oldest lakes in North America
- Photograph the unique shoreline
- Duration: 1-2 hours
Mono Lake is was formed at least 760,000 years ago, making it one of North America's oldest lake. Explore the coastline of this unique lake filled with unusual rock formations called tufas. Photograph the tufa towers with the majestic mountains in the background. The towers can make for some very dramatic photos, especially at sunset.
The water has a very high salt levels which makes a swim in the lake a very memorable experience. Boats are also allowed on the lake. Mono lake is also a very popular spot for bird photography.
- Hiking Shoes
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Fishing, Hiking, Photography
Spring, Summer, Autumn
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Unique Photo Opportunities
Mono Lake is extremely easy to access. It is literally a couple hundred yards off of Hwy 395. The Lake is very strange, but it does offer some unique photo opportunities because of how different it is from most alpine lake.
The mineral spires or "Tufas" definitely make for an intriguing and abnormal sight. I checked out the NW lake access off Cemetery road as well as the South Tufa Reserve. The South was far more impressive. If you are heading this way on 120 be sure to look to the right at the fields of shrubbery and eerie leafless bushes. On a rainy day the colors are vibrant and the fields appear bright red. Also if you want a high level view of the lake, take 395 North about 7-10 minutes around a bend. There is a viewing platform / vista which yields cool views.
Many different locations to visit around the lake. Can be very windy but offered some great bird watching and photography opportunities. They do ask that you donate at the South Tufa entrance. Also, Lee Vining has a couple shops with information about the lake and its history. Free stickers!
More Adventures Nearby
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If you are visiting Mono Lake, the Panum Crater Trail is not to be missed! From 395, take highway 120 east for about 2.5 miles.