"Save Mono Lake!" Top 5 Page for this destination Lee Vining by SteveOSF

Lee Vining Travel Guide: 116 reviews and 312 photos

One Scenic Lake!

Lee Vining clings to Highway 395 on the edge of Mono Lake. This small town is located at a high elevation of 6780 feet. Staying at Lee Vining is your best bet for seeing Mono Lake or visiting the nearby ghost town of Bodie. Lee Vining offers lodging, restaurants, gasoline and other services. It makes a great base camp for visiting the nearby attractions.

Some Recent History

Some of you may remember the slogan ?Save Mono Lake?. In 1941, water began being diverted from Mono Lake?s tributaries to squelch the growing thirst of the Los Angeles area to the south. The culprit was the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Ecological havoc raked upon Mono Lake as a result of drastically lowered the water levels. By being deprived of its freshwater sources, the volume of Mono Lake was cut in halve, while its salinity doubled.

In the late 1970s activists began to organize and lobby lawmakers, policy makers, and the public at large. The message was heard and compromises introduced. Eventually in the late 1990s the water diversions were reduced and Mono Lake could begin the slow process of recovery. However, before the reduction in diversion occurred, the water level in the lake had already dropped 40 feet!

Because water will continue to be diverted to Los Angeles, Mono Lake will never be completely restored. The lake will always be at least 25 feet or more lower than its pre-diversion level. But the lake and its ecosystem have been granted a reprieve from certain tragic death.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Very scenic area
  • Cons:It is a bit out of the way
  • In a nutshell:On the shore of a beautiful lake
  • Last visit to Lee Vining: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (17)

Comments (8)

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2009 at 7:53 AM

    Lee Vining is a great place to explore the northern Sierra from. Next time go later in the Summer - say like now - and enjoy the view from the top of Dana Peak, hiked directly east from Tioga Pass.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    Mono lake is a very sad story! It is too bad that such a wonderful landscape is little by little destroyed. I hope that will end. I remember that we camped near Tioga pass, in the forest.

  • risse73's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2008 at 12:28 PM

    You've just opened my world to these less known destinations. Mono Lake & Lee Vining look appealing for a future trip. Cheers!

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2008 at 11:41 AM

    Very thorough page on this interesting spot. ~Joe

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2007 at 9:04 AM

    Excellent, interesting tips acompanied by beautifu photos.

  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2007 at 3:49 PM

    This is an area I haven't been to in years. Hope to make it back!

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2007 at 12:50 PM

    Nice photos and writing for Mono Lake!

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2007 at 1:41 AM

    Beautiful lakes & mountain scenery around here = like a breath of fresh air


“Just beyond the edge of the world is a new horizon.”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 3 6 9
Forum Rank:
0 2 2 4 4

Badges & Stats in Lee Vining

  • 17 Reviews
  • 38 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 3,618PageViews

Have you been to Lee Vining?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Lee Vining

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)