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.
Plan to visit Fossil Falls and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Little Lake attractions using our Little Lake road trip planning tool .
Source
map
Create an itinerary including Fossil Falls
Fossil Falls Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
34 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • October 5, 2017
    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 »
  • September 10, 2017
    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 »
  • June 19, 2017
    This was a gorgeous place to visit. The hike was short .21 miles to the falls. The campground has no shade. There is a water pump and out houses for the campground. I don't recommend this when it is o...  more »

Plan your trip to Little Lake

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Little Lake

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in California Desert by other users

15 days in Scottsdale & Palm Springs BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in Twentynine Palms BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 7 days in Twentynine Palms BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Palm Springs BY A USER FROM CANADA October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES January, hidden gems PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 23 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES January, hidden gems PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 1 day in Mecca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Mecca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in California Desert BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in La Quinta BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans