Fodor's Expert Review Mono Lake
Since the 1940s, Los Angeles has diverted water from this lake, exposing striking towers of tufa, or calcium carbonate. Court victories by environmentalists have meant fewer diversions, and the lake is rising again. Although to see the lake from U.S. 395 is stunning, make time to visit South Tufa, whose parking lot is 5 miles east of U.S. 395 off Highway 120. There, in summer, you can join the naturalist-guided South Tufa Walk, which lasts about 90 minutes. The Scenic Area Visitor Center, off U.S. 395, is a sensational stop for its interactive exhibits and sweeping Mono Lake views (closed in winter). In town, at U.S. 395 and 3rd Street, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore, open from 9 to 5 daily (extended hours in summer), has more information about this beautiful area.