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

Tag: Self-guided tour

People walking down a path toward tufa, Mono Lake and the mountains are in the distance, the sky is cloudy.

Enjoy a self-guided tour of South Tufa from anywhere

If you’re looking to get the most our of your trip to Mono Lake, a visit to South Tufa is a must. The otherworldly tufa towers combined with the stunning high desert landscape and abundant birdlife makes this area truly…
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…
About 60 people holding handmade signs supporting Mono Lake and the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve cheering and waving and showing a lot of spirit and joy while standing on the small platform at County Park overlooking Mono Lake.

4: The water story

Where you stand now is the management level for Mono Lake—6,392 feet in elevation above sea level. One day, Mono Lake’s water will again reach this level, but ensuring this was a long struggle. In 1976, a group of researchers, including…
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.…
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 Self-Guided Tour

 Tap play below to listen on headphones. Welcome to the Mono Basin—a gorgeous, otherworldly landscape with huge, sweeping views of the high desert all around and the magnificent Sierra Nevada above. Mono Lake, this expansive terminal lake which defines this…