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Overview

Here's one LA story Hollywood won't likely promote: Mono Lake, an ancient saline lake located between the Great Basin and the Eastern Sierra, gained excess salinity as her water was drained to meet the liquid needs of Angelinos. Like all natural occurrences the effect was twofold: the lake became threatened but the lowered water levels created a dramatic beauty not found in many other places on the globe. While the local people lobbied for restrictions (and won quite the underdog battle), flocks of migratory birds settled on the limestone formations (called Tufa Flowers) to dine on brine shrimp and alkali flies. Visitors are wowed by the ...

Here's one LA story Hollywood won't likely promote: Mono Lake, an ancient saline lake located between the Great Basin and the Eastern Sierra, gained excess salinity as her water was drained to meet the liquid needs of Angelinos. Like all natural occurrences the effect was twofold: the lake became threatened but the lowered water levels created a dramatic beauty not found in many other places on the globe. While the local people lobbied for restrictions (and won quite the underdog battle), flocks of migratory birds settled on the limestone formations (called Tufa Flowers) to dine on brine shrimp and alkali flies. Visitors are wowed by the riparian forests, stark plains, more than 1000 plant and 400 animal species, hidden hot springs, and jaw dropping fall foliage. Throw in historic towns such as Bodie and Lee Vining, hiking trails to backpack for miles, alpine lakes, and Whoa Nellie Deli, a gourmet restaurant nestled in the rear of a gas station, and you've got quite a place. Mono Lake may feel like the edge of the world, but it's a world you'll want to explore as long as possible.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Thomas Cook Destination Discovery

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, early fall