Mono Lake's South Tufa Loop

Lee Vining, California

4.4/5
based on 7 reviews

Details

Distance

0.91 miles

Elevation Gain

39 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

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.

The South Tufa Loop is a short (less than a mile) loop, which offers great views of Mono Lake and your chance to capture a shot of the tufas. 

Consider a stop at Mono Cone for a delicious treat before/after your visit. 

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Features

Fishing
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

We had a great time; it is beautiful & also interesting to see the tufas & wildlife around Mono Lake. We brought our 2 year old, the trails are easy & she was entertained and able to enjoy the walk.

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.

This place is completely different than any other lake in the area, and well worth a trip to see.

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.

Interesting spot. Not a whole lot going on at the Tufa's, get there at sunset or at night for more interesting photo opportunities. Overall, kinda meh in the daytime.

What an Odd and Interesting Place.

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!

Such a fascinating place and definitely offers many photographic opportunities, especially for starry night skies. Beautiful place to visit!

Leave No Trace

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

Nearby

Explore the Mono Lake Tufas under the Milky Way

Hike Panum Crater Trail

Explore the Black Point Fissures

Camp at Mono Lake

Hike to Parker Lake

Hike to Upper Sardine Lake