Mono Lake - Lee Vining, California

Visiting Mono Lake is a unique experience, especially when in the South Tufa area of the lake. Mono Lake is 65 square miles in area, has no outlet and is one of the oldest lakes in North America, with an estimated age of over a million years. Over this period of time, salts and minerals have seeped into the lake from melting snow and the resulting fresh water streams. The freshwater eventually evaporates, leaving behind the salt and minerals that have made the lake very alkaline. The lake is more than twice as salty as the ocean. 

Mono Lake has had an interesting history since 1941. Los Angeles began diverting water from it to meet the growing needs of its population growth. The water levels declined over the years, increasing the water's salinity. In 1978, a conservationist effort began and in the 1994 they won a crucial victory when the state ruled that Los Angeles had to stop diverting the water. The water level had dropped 40 feet up until then and they would only be able to start again once the water level increased by 17 feet.