California’s Eastern Sierra

Wildlife Viewing

Several significant wildlife viewing sites are located in Mono County, as designated by California Watchable Wildlife.  They are identified by brown and white roadside "binocular" Wildlife Viewing Area signs.

East Walker Wildlife Area

(7.5 mile stretch of East Walker River north of US 395 and CA-182)

Eight native fish species including Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, Canada geese, beaver, mink, river otter, eagles, falcons, migratory birds, mule deer, occasional black bear and mountain lions.

Lee Vining Canyon / Tioga Lake

(6.5 Miles on HWY 120, Tioga Pass, east gateway to Yosemite)

Subalpine springs and meadows offer views of nutcrackers, rock wrens, an occasional bobcat, red-tailed hawks, and marmots.  Tioga Lake attracts Caspian terns, gulls, spotted sandpipers, and other shorebirds.

Mono Lake

(east of US 395 at Lee Vining)

A trillion brine shrimp and millions of alkali flies feed 70 species of migratory birds including 1 million eared grebes, 50,000 California gulls, and thousands of killdeer, Wilson's and red-necked phalaropes.

Hot Creek Wetlands and Fish Hatchery

(near Mammoth Lakes at US 395 and CA-203)

1.75 million golden, Kamloop, cutthroat and rainbow trout are bred here, plus 12 million fish eggs are produced for other hatcheries.  See mallard ducks, cinnamon teal and bald eagles nearby.

Laurel Ponds

(South of Mammoth Lakes off US 395 at Convict Lake)

Ponds and a wetland that attract mallards, cinnamon teal and ring-necked ducks, Canada geese, American avocets, killdeer.  Look for sora (common rails) hiding in marsh vegetation, overhead for prairie falcons, golden eagles and rough-legged hawks, and in open sage flats for sage thrashers, sage sparrows and sage grouse.  Mule deer, often 300 at a time, can be seen migrating through the area in May, September and October.