Our Eastern Sierra road trip continues to Mono Lake, California. I’ve always been fascinated by Mono Lake. Water rights have been a long contested aspect of the north/south divide in California. Long ago, when Los Angeles started to grow faster than their water supply could handle, they relied on their neighbors to the north to divert water in order to meet L.A.’s growing demand. Between the rapid decrease in water levels and the lack of outlets to the ocean, the salinity levels in Mono Lake began to rise giving the lake its moonlike appearance.
The Tufa Reserve on the south side of the lake is where you will find the majority of the spires one associates with the lake. They are formed by the interaction of the freshwater springs and the alkaline lake water. Mono Lake is an astounding 2.5 times saltier than the ocean. The visitor center is open April 1 – Nov. 30 with park rangers providing tours of the coastline and tufa reserve. Mono Lake is a good stopping place on your road trip to stretch you legs while getting a mini geology and California history lesson!
Tips for seeing Mono Lake:
- allow 1-4 hrs depending how much you’d like to tour and learn about the lake’s history and ecology
- bring food and water as there aren’t services nearby
- no swimming