Fossil Falls, Little Lake

4.7
The Fossil Falls is a unique geological feature, located in the Coso Range of California in the United States. Volcanic activity in the mountain range, along with meltwater from glaciers in the nearby Sierra Nevada, played a role in the creation of the falls. They are located near Little Lake, Inyo County, California, 1.0mi off US 395 (at a red cinder cone called "Red Hill") on Cinder Road to Red Hill, with signs to Fossil Falls.GeologyDuring the last ice age, glaciers formed in the Sierra Nevada. Meltwater from the glaciers pooled into large lakes, including Owens Lake and the Owens River. The river traveled through to Indian Wells Valley, and its course was diverted several times by volcanic activity. The falls were formed when the river was forced to divert its course over a basalt flow, polishing and reshaping the rock into a variety of unique shapes and forms.All the lava flows at Fossil Falls are basaltic. The Coso Volcanic Field brought flows from the north east and later Red Hill, which can be viewed from Fossil Falls, released the younger lava. The flows occurred between 400,000 years ago and 10,000 years ago. During this period, the glacial flows would run through Fossil Falls and smooth the vesicular basalt. The erosion found at Fossil Falls was formed by the youngest glacial runoff, called the Tioga, from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range about 20,000 to 10,000 years ago.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
35 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This was such a neat place to visit and it was completely unexpected to see what we saw. It's a short drive in, and a short hike in from the parking lot. Highly recommend stopping here! As we were lea...  more »
  • Spent a little time exploring there. Not far off highway 395. Good spot to take a road trip break and see some really neat natural formations. More captures posted on my site. Thank you! Vmp-designs.c...  more »
  • We finally decided to stop here on our way back from our Labor Day trip. What an awesome attraction. This is amazing. Now, to be clear, I'm an amateur rock hound and will stop at local geology attract...  more »

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