Tufa towers stand tall in turquoise Mono Lake water, with snowcapped Sierra Nevada mountains behind it.

South Tufa area at Mono Lake has reopened

After a months-long closure, the South Tufa area and Navy Beach have reopened.

These two popular visitor locations along Mono Lake’s south shore were closed in mid-August when the Beach Fire was ignited by lightning. The fire was contained after approximately ten days, and had burned nearly 3,800 acres of sagebrush, bitterbrush, and greasewood. The area remained closed until the Inyo National Forest declared the Beach Fire out, which they did today.

Locals who are visiting the area must remain on established trails and roads—the burned area has hazards that include unstable footing. Staying on trails and roads also allows habitat for plants and animals to recover. As you walk the trails at South Tufa you can listen to a self-guided at monolakemobile.org. Please remember that climbing, standing on, sitting on, or posing on tufa towers is not allowed. In addition, driving vehicles and riding bicycles off of established roads is prohibited in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, a designation that encircles Mono Lake and includes the South Tufa and Navy Beach areas.

An "Area Closed" sign is stuck into the ground marking a section of the beach with burnt tufa patches.
Visitors to South Tufa and Navy Beach must remain on established roads and trails and stay out of closed areas. Photo by Rose Nelson.

Because of the regional stay-at-home order for non-essential travel, people who live out of the area should not be visiting Mono Lake at this time. We look forward to welcoming you back here when leisure travel is allowed.

Top photo by Andrew Youssef.