Lee Vining, California

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Highway 395, 16.3 miles north of June Lake and 25.2 miles south of Bridgeport

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest: Old School House Museum (760) 647-6461; Mono County Museum (760) 932-5281;

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season); November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Birdwatching, Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Kayaking on Mono Lake, Photography

Winter Recreation: Downhill skiing in June Lake and Mammoth; cross country skiing

Sporting Goods: Bell's Sporting Goods (760) 647-6406

Nearby Fishing: Home: Lee Vining: Fishing (See also Highway 120 Fishing)   Fishing Tips

Nearby Camping: Home: Lee Vining: Camping (See also Highway 120 Camping)

Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce:  http://www.leevining.com/ (760) 647-6629

Visitor Links:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, Highway 395 a half mile north of Lee Vining, (760) 873-2408, www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/vc/mono

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips:  Bodie Ghost Town; Mono Craters; Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve;Yosemite National Park, 


RV Related:

Recreational Contacts: Mono Lake Boat Tour (760) 937-1934

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo

Lee Vining Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town.  Today it looks much the same as it did over 50 years ago when the last residents left. To preserve the ghost town atmosphere, there are no commercial facilities at Bodie. Be sure to bring plenty of film.  Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of 10,000 people. The town was founded by Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1877, the Standard Company struck pay dirt and a gold rush transformed Bodie from a town of 20 people to a boomtown.  Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of ‘arrested decay.’ Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of "arrested decay". Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds and an occasional ghost….

Souvenirs and Collecting

Everything in Bodie is part of the historic scene and is fully protected. NOTHING may be collected or removed from the park. Metal detectors are not allowed.

Closed Areas

For public protection, certain unstable sections of the park are posted as prohibited areas, and are closed to entry by park visitors.


There is no camping at Bodie. You must camp at least three miles from Bodie on BLM land. Fire restrictions are often in effect.

Winter Visits

Bodie is open all year. However, because of the high elevation (8375 feet), it is accessible only by over-snow equipment during the winter months.  Many four wheel drive vehicles get stuck each year in powdery snow that is deeper than it first appears. Spring thaws bring mud, and wheeled vehicles are not advised. TOWING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. Snowmobiles must stay on designated roads within the park. Winter weather is often unpredictable. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and white-out conditions are not uncommon.


The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road, seven miles south of Bridgeport….From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on an unsurfaced road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. Call the park if there are any questions about road conditions....”

(public domain-- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509)


Lundy Lake Canyon

During the Bodie mining boom, W.J. Lundy established a sawmill along the creek and supplied lumber to the Bodie mines.  Shortly thereafter a prospecting family discovered gold in the area and prospectors staked out their claims.  The May Lundy was a successful mine that operated for many years.  Today Lundy Lake is a popular trailhead to the Hoover Wilderness and a beginning or ending trail for those hiking to or from the 20 Lakes Basin from Saddlebag Lake.  The canyon is beautiful and hikers can reach one of the falls in a day hike.  Lundy Lake offers good fishing and is regularly stocked.

Mono Craters

One of the youngest of these volcanoes in the chain of volcanoes stretching from Mammoth to Mono Lake is Panum Crater, which is on the south shore of Mono Lake 

Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve

The reserve was established to preserve the spectacular "tufa towers," calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water.  Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet. Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as the ocean….Winter is a particularly beautiful time at Mono Lake. The crowds are gone, a quiet stillness prevails, and snow crystals sparkle on the tufa towers.  The road to South Tufa is kept plowed, allowing year round access except immediately after large storms.  South Tufa, Old Marina, and the State Reserve boardwalk below the Mono Lake County Park are all wonderful places to cross-country ski when snow conditions permit….

Interpretive Programs

These programs are a cooperative effort of the State Reserve, U.S. Forest Service and the Mono Lake Committee. Rangers lead free tufa walks at the South Tufa area -- tours are at 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays May through October. Tours are offered 3 times daily from late June through Labor Day (10am, 1pm, and 6pm); and daily at 1pm late May through September.  Bird walks are offered at the Mono Lake County Park/State Reserve boardwalk at 8:00 a.m. Fridays and Sundays mid-May through Labor Day….

Visitor Center

The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center is a great place to start your visit to this area. The center is located just off Highway 395, north of Lee Vining and includes a variety of exhibits about the natural and human history of the Mono Basin. Visitor center staff stand ready to help you plan your explorations of Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking, swimming, boating, and cross-country skiing are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy at this unusual lake.  Photographers come from all over the world to capture the interplay of light, desert, and water. The natural history of the lake is described and explained in a one-mile self-guided nature trail at South Tufa.

This spectacular tufa area is the best place to visit if you have time for only one stop. A boardwalk trail below the Mono Lake County Park allows access to the north shore tufa area and marsh. A trail at Panum Crater leads to the dome and crater rim.

A swim in Mono Lake is a memorable experience. The lake's salty water is denser than ocean water, and provides a delightfully buoyant swim. Old timers claim that a soak in the lake will cure almost anything. Keep the water out of your eyes or any cuts, as it will sting.


The State Reserve is surrounded by the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, operated by the Forest Service. There are no campgrounds in the State Reserve or the Scenic Area. Dispersed camping is permitted in most of the Scenic Area outside the exposed lake bed lands. Campfire permits are required. Established campgrounds are located in Lundy Canyon, Lee Vining Canyon, and the June Lake Loop.


All types of boating are permitted on Mono Lake, although access is restricted to all islands between April 1 and August 1 each year to protect the nesting gulls. It is advisable to stay near shore while boating, and to be alert for sudden high winds. We recommend launching canoes and kayaks at Navy Beach, on the south shore, where a parking lot is close to the water. For those with boats too large to carry, an unimproved launch ramp is available near Lee Vining Creek. Stop by the Scenic Area Visitor Center for directions.”

(public domain-- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514)


Yosemite National Park is reached via Highway 120 on the Tioga Pass Road, approximately 12 miles from Lee Vining.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)



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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by David Archer published on January 26, 2008 6:54 PM.

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