On our way to Yosemite National Park, we decided to make a quick stop over at Mono Lake, which is only about a couple of miles away from Yosemite’s east entrance. When I first learned about this place’s South Tufa area, I was very intrigued by the Tufa Towers, so I immediately added it into our itinerary as a quick visit, prior to Yosemite.
What’s mind-boggling about this place is how the Tufa Towers were formed. Spring water and alkaline lake water mix together, and the calcium and carbonate salts react to form limestones underneath the water. After many, many centuries, the water from the lake becomes less and less, and only then do the towers become exposed.
The Tufa Pinnacles in Mono Lake was definitely worth the stop. It was very easy to get to, and it was a great short trip before heading into Yosemite National Park. If you are ever in the area, I recommend you make a quick stop, as well!
NEED TO KNOW
Location: US -395, Lee Vining, CA. 13 miles East of Yosemite National Park (Google Maps)
Highlights: Known for its unique limestone spires.
Fees: $3 fee to access. Free with the Annual Parks Pass.
Other Notes: Head on over to their visitor center to learn more about the reserve, as well as the alkali flies and (very tiny) brine shrimp that you will see in Mono Lake.
What other places just outside Yosemite National Park have you visited? I would love to check them out next!