A very special and unique place.

Mono Lake is one of the really great things to see in the Eastern Sierra. Start your visit at the Visitors Information Building — but be sure to drive down, park at the lake, and walk around. The tufa formations, trillions of visible shrimp floating through the lake, and the hordes of tiny flies at waters' edge, feeding on the shrimp (the flies don't bother people, they mass on the ground at waters' edge) are very memorable. Mono Lake is one of the few places the California Gull reproduces — safely protected on the mid-lake islands (as the water dropped, the islands became connected to the shore, allowing predators easy access to breeding and young gulls. The higher water level put an end to that for all except the coyotes who own boats).

Just a few of the activities you can participate in at Mono Lake include swimming, kayaking, birdwatching, and simply taking in the magnificent sights by walking the many trails. The very high salt concentration makes for an interesting and bouyant experience, should you choose to take a swim. Of course, the water can be very cold, so you won't do it for long. For something really fun, rent a kayak and paddle the lake. A major stopover on the pacific flyway, Mono Lake hosts over 98 species of water birds and in 1991 was dedicated as an International Shorebird Reserve. The diversity of habitats in the surrounding area creates a wide range of birding opportunities. Visit Mono Lake in the summer and fall for the best birdwatching available.

Mono Lake is on Highway 395, and adjacent to Lee Vining. You can see it from Mammoth Mountain and Tioga Pass as you come down. Mileages from Mono Lake:

Death Valley — 232 miles
Mammoth — 30 miles
Yosemite Valley — 81 miles
Los Angeles — 336 miles
San Francisco — 292 miles
Virginia City, Nevada — 118 miles
Reno, Nevada — 135 miles

Former Park Ranger David Carle knows Mono Lake probably better than anyone, and over the years he has written a lot about it. He has graciously allowed us to include his writings:

The Mono Lake Environment

Take A Tour: An Overview From A Ranger Guide
Strange Water - Mono Lake Gourmet: An Unusual Recipe
Tufa Thoughts: Scenic Limestone Towers
Mysterious Tufa Towers: Hercule Poirot Explains All
Flies Of Fancy: Alkali Flies
The Once And Future Shrimp: Brine Shrimp
A Star Is Born: California Gulls
The Phalarope: A Shorebird Global Traveler
Mystery Of The Red-Eyed Bird: A Million Eared Grebes
Book Review: Mono Lake Viewpoint

Visiting The Lake

Swimming In Mono Lake: A Unique Experience
Ski Mono Lake?
Happy Quiet: Winter Wonders

The Water Issue

An Overview And Update Of Current Status
Thanksgiving Day, 2014: Twenty Years Later At Mono Lake
Drain It And Pave It
It Ain't Over 'til The Fat Bird Sings
Ouzel Omens: Stream Restoration Efforts

Mono Lake Committee
The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center
Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve
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