South Tufa Loop Trail

EASY 38 reviews

South Tufa Loop Trail is a 0.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lee Vining, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
0.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
36 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

washed out

Eastern California's dramatic landscapes don't end at the Sierra Nevada mountain range as anyone who's visited Mono Lake will attest. Whether approaching on a road trip along US395 or descending the snaking highway from Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park, the unique sights of Mono Lake are unmistakable and incredibly picturesque. A curious sixty-five square mile expanse of water located 6,400 feet above sea level, Mono Lake exists thanks to the run-off from the towering eastern Sierras. Unlike most lakes, Mono Lake has no outlet and until recently only ever lost its water to evaporation, giving rise to some unusual features. Evaporation makes the lake three times more salty than the ocean, which is why you won't find any fish in these waters. Life still finds a way though, and conditions are perfect for the diminutive brine shrimp and alkali flies both of which flourish here and draw the attentions of migratory birds in their millions. Impressive at a distance, Mono Lake is just as interesting up close. Visit the South Tufa Grove just five miles off the 395 and explore the shoreline of the lake where you'll find the curious tufa towers which thrive here. Formed by the reaction between the calcium-rich underwater springs and the lake salts, limestone deposits accumulate into strange and other-worldly tufa towers up to thirty feet in height. A hike of the short South Tufa interpretive trail coupled with a trip to the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center is the most popular way to experience the lake. Those with more time might be interested in launching kayaks from Navy Beach next to the South Tufa area, and the most adventurous of all may choose to venture a dip in the waters. The reserve is well signposted off the 395 and 120 highways and ample parking is available. A small fee is payable at the ranger station, which is also the trailhead for this short trail.

hiking
17 days ago

Unearthly and a must visit Eastern Sierra spot.

1 month ago

Easy trail to see unique features. Pretty around sunset.

2 months ago

Interesting little trail quick to do. Try it during golden hour. Flat and friendly for all. Probably even handy cap accessible for an out and back of the first half if you have a good chair.

hiking
3 months ago

It was a nice short walk with great views of Mono Lake and the Tufa. The sand sits in the heat of the sun all day so beware of that if taking a dog. There's not any shade.

walking
3 months ago

This is definitely an informative walk rather than a hike, but cool to see nonetheless.

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

The perfect way to view the special nature of mono lake!

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

You really get to experience the previous depth of Mono prior to the LA water district draining some of the water. I would suggest learning about tufa formation at the visitors center (5 miles up the road) and then seeing the tufas. Walking along these wonderful formations and thinking about how they formed under water makes you appreciate the experience even more! The walk is like a sandy beach, but more sturdy ground. The trail is a complete loop from the parking lot. Fee is $3.00 and I would suggest paying at the visitors center so you can have something to display in your car's dash or you can use a valid national parks pass.

7 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Strange and beautiful. Stopped and did this loop way, way back. 5 stars just because it's the only place I've ever seen like it. we use to come through quite a bit on motorcycle rides.

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Saturday, August 06, 2016

One of the most Unique place I have had the privilege of seeing, Great place to spend a few hours!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fabulous views. A site to see and explore.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

It was really nice didn't know the trail was this long.