Friday, November 29, 2019

Mono Lake - South Tufa Trail

   Years ago when the level of Mono Lake was higher the tufa formations would have been underwater. They’re created when calcium-bearing freshwater springs react with the alkaline lake water to form limestone. Mono Lake has no outlet and historically the water level only dropped through evaporation or because of scanty rainfall however in 1941 the City of Los Angeles began diverting the streams that feed the lake. In 1994 measures to protect the lake were enacted and lake level is slowly rising.
   Activities at Mono Lake include hiking trails, swimming, boating, dispersed camping, and visitor center programs.

   The visitor center was closed during our visit and we only had time to go on the South Tufa Trail. The formations on this trail are said to be the best in the park. The trail goes from asphalt to boardwalk to hard-packed dirt. Wheelchair users may need assistance. About 2/3 of the way around the loop the trail becomes narrow and overgrown so backtracking is necessary. The visitor center and two more trails are accessible.
   To access the Tufa Trail lot drive east about 4 1/2 miles on Mono Lake Basin Road then another mile on dirt road to the parking lot. This is navigable by any vehicle and the parking lot is large enough for RVs. The visitor center lot has long spaces and the other trails have lots that are large enough for RVs. The dispersed camping rules are a little vague so it may be best to check with a ranger.  Mono Lake  37.93871, -119.02715


  1. I bet it's cold out there now! Great area to explore.

    1. We only saw small part of it so we'll definitely be back!