South Tufa, Inyo National Forest

Looking like a cross between a science fiction landscape and something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the tufa towers of Mono Lake are a strange sight to behold. Emerging from salty, alkaline waters, these bizarre looking limestone formations are best explored by kayak or canoe at South Tufa.

Raising from the Lake

What Will I See?
  • Highest concentration of tufa towers at Mono Lake
  • Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds stopping by on their journey to South America including California gulls, Eared Grebes, and Wilsons and red-necked phalaropes
  • Picturesque scenery perfect for sightseeing and photography
  • Interpretive signs along the trail that explain the unique and fragile environment
  • Amazing sunrises and sunsets
  • Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center at the north end of Lee Vining; includes book store, art gallery, exhibits and film


About This Destination

Nestled in the Eastern Sierra of California, Inyo National Forest is home to over two million acres  of picturesque scenery. The forest boasts natural wonders such as Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, along with nine Congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas.


What Should I Know?

Amenities: Vault toilets; nearest services are located in Lee Vining, 11 miles away

Operating Hours: Daylight use only

Fee: $3 per person (Federal Fee Area)

South Tufa is located in the congressionally designated Mono Lake National Forest Scenic Area

There are no shaded areas. Bring plenty of water and use sunscreen

Non-motorized boats only

Walking tours occur every day during the summer at 10 a.m. , 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Canoe tours  weekends only.