Mono Lake, a saline Great Basin lake of some unbelievable beauty, is only about a 50 minute drive from Mammoth Lakes. It is undoubtedly a highlight for anyone visiting the US 395/Eastern Sierra region. Some of the more famous spots around the lake include the Mono Basin Visitor Center, the Old Marina, and the South Tufa Reserve- we did not visit the South Tufa Reserve (sadly). South of the lake are the Mono Craters, a chain of cinder cones, the youngest of which is Panum crater. In the lake itself are Panum and Negit Islands. Mono Lake was threatened throughout the 20th century by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which diverted streams flowing into the lake to provide water for LA. Water levels dropped until David Gaines led a successful court battle against the LADWP, saving the beautiful lake you see today.
If you fancy a day off from skiing, Mono lake is a bit of a drive but well worth it, It is a lake for which the rights were sold to the LA council in the 20's (probably at gunpoint), they build a canal and all but drained it over the years and this has left strange, but beautiful salt stacks rising out of the water.
This inland sea is known for its bird population, scenic value and delicate tufa formations. The lake is located off U.S. 395, 30 miles north of Mammoth Lakes. The Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve offers interpretive tours of the shoreline, nature walks, slide shows and other activities.
Mono Lake has got to be one of the strangest places in the World. You just have to see it to believe it.
Mono Lake is just outside of the Mammoth Lakes area. It is an interesting place to explore, especially if you are interested in geology or ecology.