Stops on the Way

Tufas, Devil's Postpile, and a Ghost Town in Mono County

Just 12 breathtaking miles from Yosemite’s East Entrance. The “East Side” of Yosemite with its towns of Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes has unique attractions.

Mono Lake Tufa Formations
Tufa columns and Mono Lake shoreline — in eastern California by Michael Gabler via Wikimedia Commons

Yosemite’s eastern gateway is action-packed.

Lonely Planet guidebook says “don’t miss it.” The “East Side” of Yosemite is a sensational place to start and end a trip to the national park. Just 12 breathtaking miles from Yosemite’s East Entrance, Mono County is close to the park but has a beauty all its own. The heart of Mono County, California’s Eastern Sierra, made the Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 US Destinations to Visit in 2013.”

Our must-see attractions include Mono Lake’s dramatic limestone tufa formations, Mammoth Mountain’s gondola ride to 11,056 feet, Devils Postpile (the world’s finest example of columnar basalt), and Bodie, the largest unrestored ghost town in the west.

Hike, fish, bike, go horseback riding, visit museums or just take it easy. Lodging and campgrounds, conveniently accessed via scenic US 395, are especially ideal during Yosemite’s busy summer season. Easier yet, hop on the YARTS bus to Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley. Or get here faster and fly to Mammoth-Yosemite Airport (MMH) direct from LAX.

Towns in Mono County

Lee Vining, Calif.

Gateway to Yosemite’s High Sierra

The cozy community of Lee Vining is perched on the shores of Mono Lake and 12 miles east of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass/East Entrance. The drive between the park and Lee Vining over Tioga Pass is a spectacular and winding mountain drive, but the road is closed due to snow from about November through May. Lee Vining is an excellent base for visiting Yosemite’s high country and Mono Lake.

Mammoth Lakes, CA

A mountain town close to the park

Whether you are planning to ski the Eastern Sierra in winter or hike in Yosemite’s high country in summer, Mammoth Lakes is a convenient transportation base. The scenic town is home to Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH), Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (with a year-round gondola ride to sky-high peaks), and a YARTS line (summer only) to the park. Mammoth Lakes is 40 miles southwest of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass entrance via CA 120/US 395 (

For more information:
Mono County
(800) 845-7922