Due to the government shutdown during our visit to Yosemite National Park last week, we decided to head over to Mono Lake and hike the rim of a volcano instead! Panum Crater, located just off Highway 120 near the South Tufa Area of the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, is part of a chain of volcanic cones called the Mono-Inyo Craters. These are considered to be the youngest mountain range in all of North America! The hike around the rim of the crater is only about two miles, but can be difficult at times due to the sandy nature of the trail. My 6-year-old has been fascinated by obsidian for the past year or so, so he was completely engaged in the vast amounts of the black volcanic glass found all along the trail. I’m not exactly sure where his interest in obsidian came from, but it’s probably because it’s what the local Native Americans (the Paiutes) used to make arrow heads out of. While my son had his head down checking out the obsidian, my husband and I were blown away by the 360 degree views surrounding us.
Here are some images of the gorgeous scenery that can be found along the short hike. The views of the Eastern Sierras, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley, the Great Basin, and the Panum Crater itself are incredible.
Photos taken during our hike on October 6th, 2013
Interested in going? I found this information from the Sierra Nevada Geotourism Mapguide to be helpful… Panum Crater at Mono Lake.
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