Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and Visitors Center

1 Visitor Center Drive
Highway 395
Lee Vining, CA 93541
Local phone: 
Toll-free phone: 


  • Sunday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Monday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Dates Closed: 
Hours of Operation: 
9am - 5pm every day of the week during the summer; mid-April to mid-May and October 9am - 4:30 pm, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

This saltwater lake is best known for its tufa towers which were formed with the interaction of the salt and the freshwater springs bubbling up from the bottom of the lake. The center has interactive displays that teach about many aspects of the Mono Basin's geology, ecology, and human history. The award-winning film Of Ice and Fire: A Portrait of the Mono Basin gives a splendid 20-minute introduction to Mono Lake and is shown regularly. Two galleries are showcased, including the At Mono Lake photo exhibit and a changing art exhibit. Rangers are present all day to answer your questions, and there is also a bookstore with a great selection of books about the natural and cultural history of the region.


Birding & Wildlife Viewing
Boating, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding
Hiking & Backpacking
Gift Shop
Guides & Tours
1 - 2 hours
2 - 3 hours
Half day