Explore and Hike Mono Lake

Yosemite Mono Lake Tufta Reserve

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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.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Water
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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

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Activities:

Fishing, Photography, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

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How to Get There

10 months ago

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.

10 months ago

about 1 year ago

Very different

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

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Otherworldly

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.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

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.

almost 2 years ago

over 2 years ago

What an Odd and Interesting Place.

over 2 years ago

over 2 years ago

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!

over 2 years ago

over 2 years ago

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

over 2 years ago

Added by Justin Ritucci

I like to explore.

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