Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, Lee Vining

4.6
#58 of 238 in Wildlife in California
Visit the intriguing Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, around a lake which has no outlet. Just outside Yosemite National Park, the lake collects salt, supporting an unusual ecosystem. Brine shrimp thrive in the waters, and they attract migratory birds. Admire the otherworldly tufa towers, which are limestone formations that look like fairy castles rising from the clear water. A conservation committee that formed to protect the area offers seminars, traditional tours, and guided canoeing and bird watching jaunts. Visit the committee's website to check the tour calendar and book a spot. Our Lee Vining journey planner makes visiting Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and other Lee Vining attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Reviews
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4.5
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  • Since the time I was a little girl, going to Mono Lake has been a yearly tradition. The unique beauty of this site is worth the drive.  more »
  • Just before dusk and post dawn may be the best times to visit this place. Great location for landscape photography, come prepared for a tripod. Lots of folks also came by after sunset for star gazing.  more »
  • This has been on my "bucket list" since I learned this is where the classic "High Plans Drifter" was filmed. Then I read a James Rollins novel that started here. Fascinating geology, fascinating "Chin...  more »
Google
  • The parking lot is quite a bit far from the actual stufas. It's a nice 20 minutes walk in the sun. Be sure to keep a sunscreen with you when you are planning to visit this place during the day. They're is a $3 fee at the parking lot. Be sure to carry the cash with you. If you are planning to come at night for some night photography keep a torch with you. It would be a great idea if you can reach your appt before or gets dark and lay your camp chair and wait for the moment. It gets real dark at night. And sounds a bit spooky due to the continuous sound of the waves around you. Place is awesome for astrophotography though. At night the lights from the freeway doesn't touch the end of boardwalk that often.
  • Beautiful location, interesting learning about the tufa formations. The museum has a nice gift shop and educational area, but the smell of the septic system from the bathroom was overwhelming.
  • This is a cool natural mountain lake. Great views of the surrounding mountains.
  • The rock formations are absolutely beautiful. The parking lot is tiny and can fit about 10 cars. The visitor center is at a different exit less than .25 miles away
  • During summer, day time can be very hot. The early evening, with the backdrop, it's beautiful. Nature is amazing. The new visitor center is very nice as well. There are several ways that you can access to the lake as you drive along...

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