Lee Vining CA, the self-titled "The Gateway to Yosemite," is a town of 500 that sits on the shores of Mono Lake at the crossroads of Highway 395 and Tioga Pass (CA 120 - entryway to Yosemite National Park). The town was formed by miners hoping to cash in on the luck of nearby Bodie.

If you're there, or you're going to Yosemite and want a half-day jaunt, here's a quick tour. Park at the Visitor's Center (past town ~2 mi on 395 from Bishop, before town from Bridgeport) and hike the mile-long Lee Vining Creek trail up the canyon. Dig on the Jeffrey Pine and aspen groves. The trail spits you out at the edge of town, right by the Lee Vining Market. High prices, as expected, but a good place to buy wine. Across the street (Hwy 395) is Bell's Sporting Goods - for flies, lures, licenses. Cross 395 again and stop in at the Mono Lake Committee - natural history, bookstore, local conservation efforts, gifts. When you're done there, cross over to the Mono Cone - damn good soft serve ice cream. Behind the Mono Cone is a dirt road that will take you back to the Visitor's Center.

  • http://www.leevining.com/

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