Small town in eastern California, near Mono Lake.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
- Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS). Shuttle operates weekends-only in June and September, daily in July and August. The YARTS shuttle travels on Highway 395 and 120 from Mammoth Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley, with stops in Lee Vining at the Mono Basin Visitor Center, the Lake View Lodge, and the Tioga Mobile Gas Mart. Ticket prices include park entry, and can be purchased in advance at the Cedar Lodge in town or from the shuttle driver.
Mono Lake, with its strange and wonderful tufa formations, as well as millions (no exaggeration) of migratory gulls.
- 1 Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center (0.5 mi north of Lee Vining on the east side of U.S. 395), ☏ . Summer: 8AM-5PM; spring and fall: 8:30AM-4:30PM; closed in winter. Provides regional information to travelers. Features wildlife and geology exhibits, and docent-guided tours. Visitors can also obtain permits for recreational activities. Free.
- 1 Mono Cone, 51508 US-395, ☏ . With the appearance of a traditional American hamburger stand serving burgers, fries, and soft-serve ice cream, they do serve all that. Plus they serve more adventurous versions with vegetarian options, crab cakes, a gazillion types of ice cream, and more. Closed during winter.
- 2 Whoa Nellie Deli, 22 Vista Rd (just off SR120 about a quarter mile west (uphill) of US395, part of the Mobil Gas station), ☏ . Open from the end of April through November 1. The finest cuisine at a gas station in America (that's right, "cuisine"). Chef (right again, "Chef") Matt Toomey prepares such unexpected entrees as Lobster Taquitos, Ragin' Cajun Chicken Jambalaya, Buffalo Meatloat, Salmon Salad and other tantalizing treats. Do not fail to eat here at least once; it's good enough to have attracted reviews in Sunset and Gourmet magazines. On a weeknight expect to see as many as 30 other diners enjoying the views overlooking the lake. Due to the somewhat limited off-season options this stop may be the best bet in the area.
- 3 Nicely's (Highway 395 at Fourth Street), ☏ . Th-Mo. A modest, friendly diner, with large breakfasts and a cocktail lounge. The only restaurant open in town during the winter.
Campgrounds can be found outside of town in the Mono Lake area.
- Yosemite - the famous granite domes of the iconic national park are located to the west on Highway 120.
- Bodie - historic ghost town with over one hundred buildings, now preserved in "arrested decay" by the California park system.
- Mammoth Lakes
|Routes through Lee Vining|
|Reno ← Bridgeport ←||N S||→ Mammoth Lakes → Bishop|
|Manteca ← Yosemite N.P. ←||W E||→ Benton → Ends at N S|