Fossil Falls, Little Lake

4.8
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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Fossil Falls Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
37 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • Lava formations like you've never seen before let alone you'd think there was lava in this area. It's off the beaten part as they don't have good signage from the highway. It was worth the stop!  more »
  • Visited here one day in mid Nov 2017. Gravel road, but not too rocky. Limited parking, toilet, info signs. Very interesting. Lava formation that has been smoothed out by a river from the last ice age....  more »
  • 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 »
Google
  • I love that place!!! I tell you what, you want to see some mind blowing rocks.. Go. I will go again know that!
  • Officially one of my favorite places to check out on my way up the 395. The canyon is really beautiful!
  • Really cool volcanic rock shapes and formations. A good place for hiking, and spectacular view. A good place to bring kids, as there are lots of caves and giant holes in the rocks.
  • Amazing place to visit. The art work by the nature
  • A nice place with glass smooth volcanic rock can be climbed if you careful. Hot, so it's better in the cooler part of the days. Bats come out toward evening. I left my camera someplace there this time around.
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