We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Surprised. Twice!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mono Lake

Mono Lake
US 395, CA 93541
760 647 6595
Improve this listing
Ranked #330 of 3,932 Attractions in California
Type: Bodies of Water, Outdoors
Activities: Viewing wildlife, Walking, Birdwatching
Attraction details
Zagreb, Croatia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Surprised. Twice!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

The first time I saw Mono Lake coming down from Tioga Pass I was truly disappointed. When planning my trip, I somehow imagined it to be a mountainous lake (due to the altitude) surrounded by snow covered peaks and lots of pine trees (a bit like Alpine lakes in Europe). I was completely wrong. The lake is in the middle of… well… nothing: huge, fairly level plateau that looks like a desert, especially if you have just left Yosemite behind you.

Luckily, there is an excellent visitor’s centre which offers abundance of information and an even better short film about the whole phenomenon of Mono Basin. The film is free and I strongly recommend it to anyone coming to Mono Lake for the first time. After the film things become much clearer and you are ready to appreciate the beauty of the lake itself and the wonder of tufa formations. To see the best tufas drive straight to South Tufa, park the car and stroll down to the lake shore. The hidden photographer in you will be amazed by the artwork of the natural elements.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

406 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
South Lake Tahoe, California
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“natural wonder”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

Nice stop along the way. There's a nice path down to the water, giving you fresh air and a scenic way to stretch your legs.Great educational destination, full of biological and geological information.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
60 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Nice for a one time visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

Being a photographer and seeing the images others have producted from the tuffa formations, I have always wanted to visit the lake.

It isn't what I thought it could be. There are some formations on the south shore heading east along the lake, but you have to really watch for the signs to get you there.

There is a fee to park before you head out along the lake. Could figure out why a natural lake would have a fee... I was thankful my National Parks pass worked. You just lay that on your dash and enjoy the short walk to the lake.

Best time for taking photos is at sunset for those wanted to capture the warmth of the sun on the lake. Be prepared. There are a lot of birds and flies, but I wasn't bothered by either.

Oh, there are snakes as well, but harmless! Lizards and other things along the trail make the overall experience nice.

Would I recommend this to others? Yes, maybe! Would I come and visit again? More than likely not. The old saying, been there, done that! But on the other hand, I am glad I finally made the side trip to see what others have been talking about.

If you have never been, one trip would most likely be nice.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“A photographers paradise.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Incredible natural geological location with lots of wild life. I have nothing bad to say about this location.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tustin CA
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Photography at Mono Lake”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

Cold Winter mornings are a fine time to photograph the Tufa formations at the south side of Mono Lake, with the snowy Sierra mountains in the background. With the normal wind, ice crystal formations are also great if you have the patience to photograph them in challenging glare light.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Mono Lake also viewed

California, United States
Yosemite National Park, CA

Been to Mono Lake? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Mono Lake, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.