Mono Lake: South Tufa
Google Mono Lake and the first thing you’ll see is the South Tufa. Some would argue that if there was one thing you absolutely had to do here, it’s visiting the tufa grove. Is it a must do? I’m not sure; the Black Point Fissures were pretty cool. But if you’re hard pressed for time, visiting the South Tufa will only take you about an hour or so.
Underwater springs rich with calcium mixing with carbonate-rich lake waters formed these cool calcareous structures. Lake levels fell when the city of Los Angeles diverted water from Mono Lake in 1941 exposing the tufa towers.
The hike to the crazy, alienesque South Tufa is short (one mile), flat, and family-friendly.
Parking is $6 per car, payable by cash or check into a little money deposit stand. Pit toilets available at the South Tufa trailhead. In the winter, all but two are closed.
Sunset and sunrise are popular times to visit. There will be no shortage of photographers capturing the South Tufa.
If you’d like more information on Mono Basin, stop by the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center or the Mono Lake Committee.