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It’s the season for interpretive activities at Mono Lake

June 30th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

Summer is a busy time in the Mono Basin, and the birds aren’t the only ones making the most of the warmer temperatures and longer days! Whether it is your first or fiftieth visit to the area, there are a variety of exciting interpretive programs for the whole family available at and near Mono Lake this summer.

Join a 10:00am or 6:00pm free South Tufa tour to learn about Mono Lake from a naturalist guide. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Gain an understanding of the ecology and history of the lake by stopping by charismatic South Tufa for one of the free, hour-long tours at 10:00am and 6:00pm every day, where you’ll have the hands-on opportunity to get to know the fascinating ecosystem and political history of the lake with the guidance of a naturalist. While the tours are free, South Tufa is a Federal Fee Area; adults are $3.00, children under 16 are free. Federal Fee Area Annual passes are also valid there.

For a unique perspective of the lake, join one of our weekly, hour-long canoe tours! Paddling through the tufa towers with your guide, you’ll stop to observe the creatures of the lake, catching brine shrimp and alkali flies as you learn about their life-cycle. You may even be able to see tufa being formed right before your eyes, or watch as the osprey feed their young! Tours begin at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00am every Saturday and Sunday, and cost $35 per person ($20 for children under 12). To reserve a seat, sign up here.

Interested in learning about the birds that live at and near the lake? Join a naturalist birder for an easy stroll down by the lakeshore at Mono Lake County Park, Fridays and Sundays at 8:00am, or at the nearby Lundy Lake Resort, Saturdays at 8:00am. With each walk lasting 1.5 to 2 hours, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the vibrant bird life of the Mono Basin, whether you are a seasoned birder or just beginning.

If you’re curious about the geology of the area and want to experience one of the youngest mountains in North America, meet your guide at the Panum Crater trailhead just South of the lake at 10:00am on Saturdays and Sundays. During a 90-minute walk, explore the ejecta ring and lava plug of a 700-year-old volcano up close and personal.

Discover the spectacular Lundy Canyon with a two-hour-long guided walk. An area rich with cultural and natural history, the green forests and talus slopes of Lundy Canyon are just seven miles North of Lee Vining. Listen for pika calling from the rocks as you learn more about the area from your guide. Meet by the historical marker at Lundy Lake Resort, Fridays at 10:00am.

Wrap up your visit by putting on jacket and bringing a blanket or chair down to South Tufa in the evening to settle in for an hour and a half to enjoy the beauty and mystery of the wide, summer skies with a National Park Service Interpretive Ranger. As the sky grows dark, you’ll learn how to identify stars and planets amid the tapestry of constellations above, listening to stories of their origins while the water of the lake laps on the nearby shore. The Stars Over Mono program takes place on Monday nights; at 8:30pm July 8–29, 8:00pm August 5–26, and 7:30pm September 2–16.

For more information, feel free to stop by our Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining, or call us at (760) 647-6595. We look forward to seeing you at the lake this summer!

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