Three people are sitting in a metal canoe on Mono Lake in front of some tufa towers sticking up out of the water and the canoers are looking at a flock of shorebirds in front of them and also flying around them and into the foreground of the photo, with snow capped peaks in the background.

Canoe Tours

Discover bubbling springs, brine shrimp, underwater tufa towers, and migrating birds, all from the unique vantage point of a canoe. Please note, all canoe tours are currently canceled due to COVID-19.

Experience Mono Lake by canoe

A guided canoe tour is a memorable way to experience the unique ecology of Mono Lake. No canoe experience is necessary and we provide all the equipment. Our experienced canoe guides will share with you Mono Lake’s unusual natural history as well as the story about efforts to protect this nearly million-year-old saline lake.

Three people sitting in a canoe paddling on Mono Lake in the bright sun moving over glassy water towards a grove of tufa towers with the tall Sierra Nevada in the distance.

General information

Schedule: The canoe season runs from the last weekend in June through Labor Day weekend. Tours are scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00am.

Cost: $35 each for ages 13 and older and $20 for kids under 13. Sorry, no kids under age 4 allowed. No pets allowed.

Weekday tours are available in summer for groups of 12 or more; call (760) 647-6595 to set up a weekday tour.

Logistics

Be sure to review the following information before your tour.

What to expect

  • Plan to park at South Tufa 45 minutes before your tour launch time. We cannot accommodate late-comers.
  • The canoe tours launch from Navy Beach, approximately a 15-minute walk from South Tufa. The sandy footpath to Navy Beach is located immediately to your right as you enter the South Tufa parking lot.
  • Please be prepared with sturdy water shoes. You may get wet up to the knee.
  • Bring sun protection (sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses), plenty of drinking water, and a plastic bag or dry bag to keep your camera, phone, or binoculars from getting wet.
Three people canoeing on Mono Lake on glassy water with tufa towers and tall mountains with snow on them in the distance.

Directions

From Highway 395 turn onto Highway 120 East (located five miles south of Lee Vining and 25 miles north of Mammoth Lakes). Follow the signs for South Tufa. Drive five miles on Highway 120 East and turn left at the sign for South Tufa. Continue straight onto a one-mile-long gravel road and park in the South Tufa parking lot. View map and directions on Google Maps.

Plan to park at South Tufa 45 minutes before your tour launch time. Parking is free for canoe tour participants. There will be a white and green hand-painted Canoe Tours sign on your immediate right as you enter the parking lot. You must collect your free canoe tour parking pass from the envelope on the back of the sign and display it on your dashboard to receive free parking.

Canoe tours launch from Navy Beach, an approximately 15-minute walk from South Tufa. The sandy footpath to Navy Beach is located immediately to your right as you enter the South Tufa parking lot. There will be a hand-painted white sign indicating the unpaved trail. When you arrive at Navy Beach, check in at the silver Mono Lake Committee Toyota truck.

Map of how to get to Navy Beach from the South Tufa parking lot.

Cancellation policy

To cancel your reservation you must call (760) 647-6595 at least 24 hours in advance of your canoe tour launch time in order to receive a refund. If you cancel within 24 hours, or arrive late and miss your tour, you will be charged for the full amount, unless we are able to find someone to fill your spot.

There is a chance that your canoe tour will be cancelled due to unsafe wind conditions on the lake. The decision to cancel a tour is made at the time of the tour in response to conditions on the lake, so unfortunately we cannot notify you in advance. If a canoe tour is cancelled due to wind, you will receive a full refund and a free walking tour will be offered instead.

Contact us

Still have questions? Contact us at (760) 647-6595 or email the Canoe Coordinator.