|Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
Ever since I saw the pictures of Mono Lake, I wanted to go there.
Mono Lake is famous for its Tufas, a calcium carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater
springs and alkaline lake water. The preserve also preserve the lake surface and its water as well as the 1-2
million birds resides or migrate through Mono Lake.
The formation of the Tufas in Mono Lake is similar to that of the Trona Pinnacle National Natural Landmark.
Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million
years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet.
Mono Lake water level was dropped to the lowest, when water was diverted to Los Angeles. When that
stopped, the water level has come back half way.
The south shore off the Navy Beach offers a self-guided boardwalk/tour of spectacular Tufa formations. This
is the best place to visit if you have time for only one stop. A boardwalk (ADA) trail below the Mono Lake
County Park allows access to the north shore tufa area and wetland off Cemetary Road off 395. A new trail
links the Scenic Area Visitor Center near Lee Vining with the Old Marina area at the shore. A trail at Panum
Crater leads to the dome and crater rim.
An Ospray was building next on top of the Tufa.
The Mono Lake's salinity is higher than ocean, so it will be fun to swim in the highly buoyant water. I noticed the
foam kicked up by the wave is very stable, even firm, probably high in minerals, can also be the white stuff on the
dry land. A fast swallow got caught in the picture, shows you how often we saw them.
Two volcanoes are on the south shore. Trail can reach them.
Water birds are around Tufas.
Playground of Mono County Park on the north shore of Mono Lake, off Cemetary Road. There is a board walk to the
north shore of Mono Lake.
A Killdeer and many Brewer's Blackbird were see
near the playground.
Both on the South shore and here North shore
boardwalks, there are signs making the water
level before and after draining to City of LA. The
water level returned to about half the height of
1941, since the stop of draining.
A tufa with many swallows nesting is very busy with swallow traffic.
One swallow was carrying nesting
A Red-winged Black Bird and a
swallow flew by
This was taken 4/29/2012, when willow have their catkins breaking out.
It was a dry winter so there are few wild flowers in Death Valley and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
SNR has only very few flowers to show.
However, the warm winter and spring brought earlier opening of Sonora Pass (Hwy 108) on 5/4/12 and Tioga Pass
(Hwy 120 on 5/7/12, about month earlier than usual).