Mono Lake Overlook

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 6.8 miles round trip
7200 feet
+1750, -1750 round trip
Navigation Road
Time Most of a day
Season Late December through early March
Snowmobiles Use Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Lee Vining, Mount Dana
Start Lee Vining Ranger Station on Highway 120 West, 1.3 miles west of Highway 395.

Description   Link to more information about description

The tour to Mono Lake Overlook, a mile from and 2600 feet above the lake, is a stiff climb on a road. The bird's-eye view from the overlook is dramatic. To the south you also have a sweeping view of the high peaks from the Mt. Dana summit, which peers over a ridge, to June Mountain. The price you pay for the view is the climb that averages over 500 feet per mile and the descent that requires excellent speed control on the narrow road.

Mileage Log   Link to more information about mileage log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.6
Elevation change: +350

From the trailhead (1), zig-zag on Forest Service Road 1N03, the road to Log Cabin Mine and Log Cabin Wilderness Camp, which is located on the north side of Highway 120 opposite the entrance to the ranger station, for 0.6 mile until you reach a road junction (2). The road ascends a slope with a southern exposure and during average winters, when the slopes appear bare, the road, with the exception of the first few tenths of a mile, should have sufficient snow cover on which to ski.

Beyond the road junction, the fork heading west (left) passes through a bird and wildlife sanctuary that is described in the Burger's Sanctuary tour. This tour continues on the fork to the northeast (straight).

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.6 - 3.4
Elevation change: +1400

Continue northeast (straight) on road 1N03, which has a gate across it, for 100 yards until you turn west (left) with the road, and then continue west and then northwest for a total of 2.8 miles until you reach a ridge and a saddle (3). At the saddle, 25 yards northeast (right) of the road, you can look down on Mono Lake.

While the view to the south is excellent, you can obtain an even better one by climbing 150 feet in 0.4 mile south along the ridge to Peak 9110. From the peak you can also see the Sierra Crest to the south in the vicinity of Mt. Morrison, Pumice Valley, Mono Craters, and east to the White Mountains.

Although this tour ends at the saddle on the ridge, the road continues to climb northwest for 1. 7 miles along the ridge to a high point near Log Cabin Mine. Part of this road climbs at an angle steeper than all the previous sections, and the views are no better than those from the saddle. If you do continue up the road, please abide by the no trespassing signs that mark the private property where the mine is located.

Return to trailhead
Miles: 3.4 - 6.8
Elevation change: -1750 

Retrace the route for 3.4 miles back to the trailhead (1).


Print version of map for tour