Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Mono Lake

Highway 395
Lee Vining, California
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Local Phone: (760) 647-6331
E-mail: [email protected]

Mono Lake is a geological anomaly in an otherwise semi-arid landscape. The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was established to preserve its distinctive tufa towers, calcium carbonate spires and knobs formed by the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. The lake is a habitat for as many as 2 million birds. The lake covers about 65 square miles and is one of the oldest in North America. It has no outlet and is twice as salty as the ocean. 

Leashed dogs can join their uprights on many, but not all trails in the area. Boardwalks and areas designated as a county park are off limits.

The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center is a great place to start your visit to this area and find out which trails are dog-friendly. The center is just off Highway 395 north of Lee Vining and includes a variety of exhibits about the natural and human history of the Mono Basin.

dog friendly, pet friendly, lake, tufa, mono county, calcium, trails, lake

Bailey & Maddie swimming in the Eastern Sierra. Photo by Genessa Hager.
Bailey & Maddie swimming in the Eastern Sierra. Photo by Genessa Hager.
Keep your eyes on the road, because the next major attraction is Mono Lake, a geological anomaly preserved as a natural reserve to protect its tufa towers, calcium carbonate knobs and spires formed by the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. The lake has no outlet and is said to be twice as salty as the ocean. Millions of tiny brine shrimp survive here and many millions are devoured by migrating birds in the fall. Stop by the visitor center (just off 395) to find out which of the many tufa-viewing trails are dog-friendly. more »
Bodie, Gauge and Justice at Bodie State Historic Park. <br/>Photo Credit: @justice818
Bodie, Gauge and Justice at Bodie State Historic Park.
Photo Credit: @justice818
You have a couple of options here, but the most direct route sends you back to Lake Tahoe and around the North Shore via Highway 267 to its intersection with Highway 50. By now you will have, in an indirect way, circled the lake. Follow 50 up and over the mountains to Carson City and head south on Highway 395, a designated national scenic byway skirting the snow-capped Eastern Sierra. more »
Dog playing in Mammoth Lakes
Panda playing in the Mammoth Pines. CC kpuipui99
Whether you’re coming to the Mammoth Lakes area from north or south, you’re in for hours of visual delights as you cruise Highway 395, a federally designated scenic byway skirting the snow-capped Eastern Sierramore »
Arch Rock entrance. Photo Judy Sutton.
Arch Rock entrance. Photo Judy Sutton.
Why hurry to Yosemite National Park when the journey can be as rewarding as the destination? The Yosemite Region encompasses four gateway counties, each with its own unique set of attractions. This week we celebrate Yosemite’s 150th anniversary with a look at places and diversions for DogTrekkers to check out along the major highway corridors leading to the iconic park.  more »
Mono Vision
Mono County in the Eastern Sierra is connected to Yosemite National Park via Highway 120, the “Tioga Road,” which crests the Sierra Nevada at 9,943-foot Tioga Pass, traverses the park and exits 59 miles later at the Big Oak Flat portal in Tuolumne County. more »

Wet Dog The town of Lee Vining might be small, but it sits at the nexus of an area rich in opportunities for hiking, fishing, photography and bird-watching, which is at its peak in fall. The spic-'n'-span Murphey's Motel caters to explorers with dogs in tow. Nearby Mono Lake is unique for its otherworldly tufa towers.  more »

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