Snowy tufa towers and mountains loom in gray greed rippling lake water.

Tag: natural history

Mono Lake Committee staffer standing with their back to Mono Lake talking to a tour group, tufa and scattered clouds are in the background.

South Tufa tours offered daily

The Mono Lake Committee continues our decades-long tradition of offering South Tufa tours this summer! Join us on your next trip to Mono Lake where a guide will introduce to you to the natural and human history of the Mono Basin. You’ll explore the fascinating geology of the…
Six kids swimming in Mono Lake, with one kid floating on their back with goggles on, while surrounded by tufa rocks and with tufa towers in the distance.

8: The future of Mono Lake

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” John Muir Everyone benefits when there is water in Mono Lake—from Los Angeles residents who rely on Mono Basin streams for some…
Hundreds of small shorbirds bathed in golden light, in flight, on the shore, and in the water at Mono Lake in front of tufa towers.

7: The birds of Mono Lake

The Mono Basin is an oasis for hundreds of species of birds, many of which rely exclusively on alkali flies and brine shrimp for sustenance. The lake is critical habitat for California Gulls, Eared Grebes, and phalaropes. Learn more about…
Hundreds or alkali flies take flight from pupa.

6: A buffet of flies and shrimp

Mono Lake is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of flies and shrimp for the millions of birds that come here. Alkali Flies As you walk along the shore, you may notice swarms of alkali flies buzzing about, but don’t worry, these…
Yellow fog rises from Mono Lake, obscuring the darkened tufa towers.

5: Mono Lake’s unique water

Have you ever gone for a swim in Mono Lake? The lake is 2.5 times saltier than the ocean so you can easily kick back and float in the water. But why is this a salt-water lake? Because Mono does not…
Shoreline of Mono Lake looking west towards the Sierra Nevada with tufa towers reflecting on the glassy lake and the sky is pink, purple, and blue.

3: Tufa

Examine the tufa in front of you. What does it remind you of? What does it feel like? Tufa—from the Latin tōphus, meaning “porous rock”—forms underwater. Underneath the lake there are fractures which allow calcium-rich spring water to seep through the…
Tufa along the shore of Mono Lake with bright green marsh vegetation in the foreground.

2: Plants of the Mono Basin

Can you find these three common plants of the Mono Basin? Rubber Rabbitbrush: Known for its bright green color and vibrant yellow flowers in late summer, this shrub dominates the area. As you walk down the path, look to your left and notice the…
Tufa towers emerging from Mono Lake at sunset with blue skies and unusual clouds lit up in soft pink with beautiful soft light on the tufa towers reflected in the lake's surface, and you can even see some of the rocky shoreline under water.

1: Welcome to Mono Lake!

Mark Twain once called Mono Lake the “Dead Sea of California,” but that could not be further from the truth. Mono Lake is a fountain of life—important for over 300 bird species, trillions of endemic brine shrimp, and many other creatures.…