High Sierra--Highway 395
Mono Lake Off Hwy. 395, (760) 647-3000.
|trail leading to Mono Lake in Lee Vining in Eastern California|
John Muir described this desolate area as, "A country of wonderful contrasts, hot deserts bounded by snow-laden mountains, cinder and ashes scattered on glacier-polished pavement, frost and fire working together in the making of beauty." Situated at more than 7,000 feet above sea level, Mono Lake is a high-desert sea. It is one of the largest lakes in the state and the second-oldest lake in North America. Mark Twain called it the “Dead Sea of the West.” An ancient Ice Age lake, estimated to be at least 1 million years old, mysterious Mono Lake is twice the size of San Francisco and features an unusual terrain of pinnacles and spires formed by calcium-rich mineral deposits that spurt up from the lake bottom. It is filled with water that contains almost three times the salt found in ocean water and holds not a single fish—though tiny brine shrimp flourish. Perhaps this is what attracts the 50,000-plus vacationing seagulls that flock in during April to nest, stay into August, and then head back to the coast. The South Tufa Area, which is on Highway 120 about 5 miles east of Highway 395, is particularly nice for a walk in the late afternoon light—the best time for a comfortable temperature and to capture good photos. Fall is the ideal time for a visit Mono Lake. Campsites are available.
|unusual formations at Mono Lake in Lee Vining in Eastern California|
|photographers and seagulls among the unusual formations at Mono Lake in Lee Vining in Eastern California|
Mono Lake webcam
More things to do along Highway 395.
More ideas for exploring Northern California.
images ©2020 Carole Terwilliger Meyers