Cool Places to See in Winter
Popular summer destinations take on a cool vibe during winter in Mono County, where there’s much more to the snowy season than world-class skiing and adventurous snow sports. Enjoy a road trip to see favorite destinations that bustle with activity in the summertime transformed into quiet, peaceful winter wonderlands.
As the lakes freeze and everything is slowly buried in snow, familiar places are sometimes almost unrecognizable. Snow blankets and brightens the mountainous landscape and incredible ice patterns form on the frozen lakes – it’s the perfect time to enjoy nature and capture some great photos of Mono County’s gorgeous snowy landscape before turning in with a cozy fire.
Make the most of your road trip by planning accordingly for snowy weather so you can focus on having fun. Carry chains and a winter weather kit in your vehicle to remove snow, stay warm and have plenty of extra food and water. And, of course, always plan your trip around clear weather and driving conditions.
A scenic drive north on US-6 leads to Benton, a once-thriving silver and gold-mining town nestled below the snowcapped White Mountains. Stroll through the past on a self-guided walking tour including the cemetery, or head off-road to explore Red Rock Canyon and hunt for petroglyphs. Book a bed-and-breakfast room or a campsite at Benton Hot Springs for a unique night, or two, and enjoy the view from your private hot spring tub!
A popular place to fly-fish, the Owens River offers incredible views of the Sierra Nevada, including Mammoth Mountain and the Minarets. The Owens River runs through the Long Valley Caldera; walk the area capturing images of bald and golden eagles, blue herons, mule deer and sage grouse.
Snow or shine, the road to Convict Lake stays open year-round, bringing visitors unparalleled scenery from one of the most beautiful and dramatic lakes in the area, which was given its name after an 1871 shoot-out at this very location.
Soak up the beautiful frosty scenery and capture images of a frozen waterfall and waterfowl around picturesque Twin Lakes, where evergreens frame Crystal Crag and the Mammoth Crest above.
The tufa towers at Mono Lake are stunning natural wonders not-to-be-missed. Be sure you are camera-ready to shoot the mineral towers and spires, which are created when freshwater springs bubble through the alkaline water.
Visit this popular pull-out parking area to see and photograph panoramic views of Mono Lake from the vista, which also marks the highest point on U.S. Highway 395.
Bodie State Historic Park, aka Bodie Ghost Town, stays open year-round and in low-snow years, the road to Bodie (State Route 270) may be open. The abandoned streets and buildings of the ghost town are particularly haunting in the quiet, chilly winter months. Please check the Bodie State Historic Park website to see if the road (270) is open.
The iconic Big Meadow is known for its greenery during the summer. In the wintertime the dramatic snowcapped Sawtooth mountains tower above the beautifully barren meadow, where coyotes, hawks and eagles can often be spotted.
Twin Lakes, Bridgeport
A short drive from the town of Bridgeport, the Twin Lakes area is spectacular in summer and winter alike.
Be sure to check weather and road conditions. Another helpful resource is Caltrans Winter Driving Tips