This Place Is California’s Real Natural Hidden Gem

This Place Is California's Real Natural Hidden Gem

Thousands of visitors to California plan a visit to Yosemite National Park each year, but few are aware that the nearby Mono Lake exists. Located just thirteen miles from Yosemite, this picturesque lake is the focal point of Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. 

Mono Lake is filled with tufa towers, which are made from a combination of an abundance of trapped calcium, salt, and the lake’s alkaline water and add a unique touch to its glassy surface.

These towers are home to ospreys, brine shrimp, and other creatures that are not as easy to find anywhere else, which makes Mono Lake an excellent choice for visitors who are interested in observing as much of California’s wildlife as possible. 

These towers were formed largely because Mono Lake has always contained especially high levels of salt, much of which has flowed down the nearby mountains into the lake from various rivers. This salt had nowhere to go and became trapped in the lake, and this buildup over many thousands of years (potentially up to a million years) has had a unique reaction with the qualities of the lake’s water. 

As one of the oldest lakes in North America, Mono Lake blends a variety of beautiful features that have mingled over the years. Its towers are among its most popular attractions, and its visitor center provides in-depth insights into its formation.

Mono Lake is also an excellent choice for kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and a wide range of other activities. There is also a bird spotting board that is updated daily and provides insights into the species visitors are most likely to be able to see at any given time. 

Yosemite National Park may be the focal point of many trips to California that are focused on exploring the state’s natural beauty, but adding Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, and other nearby favorites to your itinerary can turn a simple trip into something even more memorable.