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.
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