Mono Lake: Black Point Fissures
A few days prior to my Eastern Sierra birthday trip I poked around the #easternsierra hashtag on Instagram looking for some ideas and inspiration on what to do. I was pretty stumped and so over planning a detailed itinerary at that point. My friend, Sarah, suggested the Black Point Fissures at Mono Lake. A quick click on this link and I was sold.
After soaking for a bit at Travertine Hot Springs, we made our way down to Lee Vining and Mono Lake. We’d originally planned to drive down to Mammoth that night, but after brief stop at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore (visitor center is closed in the winter) we decided to try some dispersed camping in the area to maximize our time at the lake.
Most people go straight to South Tufa, but the fissures seemed like a cool, off the beaten path thing to see at Mono Lake. It also offered quite a deal of solitude; there was nobody on the road or the trail we took to the fissures. We drove back up 395 North and made a left onto Cemetery Road. You can get to the destination via Google Maps or get a little handy paper map from the Visitor Center. The majority of the drive is down a narrow dirt road. You won’t need a high clearance vehicle but it does get a bit bumpy at times. Camping is available past the 1941 shoreline, so where the dense shrubbery begins. If you need a spot to pitch your tent, you can do so off any of the little dirt roads or even at the trailhead.
There’s no real trail to the fissures; it’s kind of a choose your own adventure type of trail. It doesn’t gain much in elevation, nor is the hike difficult, but the jaunt up the cinder slopes can be a bit daunting. If you don’t want hints on how to get there, click here to skip to photos. Otherwise, read on.
The easiest way to get to the fissures is to go up! It is a bit of a slog up a cinder hill that never seems to end. The hill levels out to two plateaus eventually. The tallest one is Black Point! Stop there to take in the panoramic views and sign the summit log. From there, you’re able to see the featured rocks of the fissures amongst the low lying shrubs about 800 feet away. Head in that direction; you won’t miss them. There’s a couple fissures that you can explore in. Neither are terribly deep or inaccessible. Each fissure has its own unique geological features so I highly recommend you check both of them out! They are really cool.