East Mono Lake


The eastern shore of Mono Lake is probably one of the least visited parts of this incredible body of water. To get there requires a four wheel drive and a love of being “out there”. However, the rewards are plentiful.

As the sun rises, it first touches the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, then slowly makes it way down their flanks toward Mono Lake. When the light begins to brush the faces of the large tufas, the effect can only be described as magical – like being immersed in fairy tale. It is Nature at its very best.

All images we created by Jonathan PJ Smith of The Environment Makers.

Sunrise hitting the tops of the Sierra Nevada as seen from the eastern side of Mono Lake. An elaborate tufa sitting in the water, adds perspective.
Sunrise hitting Sierra Nevada peaks with an east side tufa for perspective.
Twin tufas jut out into Mono Lake with a sandbar connecting them to the eastern shore.
The east side of Mono Lake is the epitome of beauty and the height of inspiration.
Sunrise lighting up a large irregular tufa in the water with the Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop.
Sunrise on an elaborate east side tufa with marsh grasses in the foreground.
The eastern shore of Mono Lake at sunrise. The Sierra Nevada glows with light while the large tufas are in shade. Patches of marsh grass dot the foreground.
Early morning light flooding the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada as seen from the east side of Mono Lake.
A large tufa reflecting golden light into the water with the sunlit mountains of the Sierras in the background.
Reflections of sunrise on a large east coast tufa.
The long shadows right after sunrise etch the eastern shore as it gives way the lake itself. To the left, an ornate tufa is surrounded by the waters of Mono Lake.
Long shadows right after sunrise on the eastern side of Mono Lake.

The landscape around Mono Lake can at times be almost alien but perhaps the strangest natural formations to be found there are the sand tufas. Their bizarre, organic, otherworldly shapes really makes them look like they belong on another planet.

Otherworldly sand tufas found close by the lake shore toward the eastern side of Mono Lake.
Otherworldly sand tufas found close by the lake shore toward the eastern side of Mono Lake.
Many of the east side, Mono Lake sand tufas look like the remnants of ancient, alien civilizations.
Many of the east side, Mono Lake sand tufas look like the remnants of ancient, alien civilizations.

Separating the lake from the arid desert surrounding the eastern part of Mono Lake, is a lush marshland, alive with insects and birds. Amidst this sea of unexpected green, enormous land bound tufas, stand out like islands.

Marshland with islands of tufa, separating the eastern Mono Lake coastline from the surrounding desert. A full moon dominates the sky.
Marshland, with islands of tufa, separates the eastern Mono Lake coastline from the surrounding desert.
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