Way to Relax: Lee Vining, California

By Janice Eck

Pictures by Chris and Janice Eck

(Victor Valley)– With summer coming to a close and fall just around the corner, the weather is perfect to enjoy nature at its best. If you enjoy fishing, hiking, off-roading, the outdoors or all of the above, Lee Vining, California is a place that is hard to be beat. With its gorgeous views of mountain ranges, vast valleys and hillsides full of pine trees, and mirror-like lakes at your disposal, it will be hard to detach yourself from this quaint little town located in the Inyo National Forest just 12 miles from Yosemite, up north a few hours’ drive on Highway 395.

Deer at Yosemite National Park

The small town of Lee Vining has campsites where you could take your R.V. or your tents. There are also a few motels and hotels around town if you prefer. If you do stay at a campsite and enjoy wildlife, keep an eye out for critters like Stellar’s Jays, squirrels, and chipmunks who are always on the lookout for food. Deer may also be spotted in and around town. This time of the year also brings about great weather. Thunder and lightning is not uncommon.

El Capitan at Yosemite National Park

Some people see fishing as a sport and others see it as a time for peace and relaxation. Whatever your reason, the lakes of Lee Vining stock trout – rainbow, brown, brook, golden – all ready to be caught and released or caught and cooked, so do not forget your flies or bait. Go during the right time and you will be able to see the trout jump out of the water.

Tufa Towers at Mono Lake

If you find some time between fishing jaunts, visit Lee Vining’s local tourist spot, Mono Lake. The tufa towers stand well above your head making it hard to believe that at one time, the water level was even higher than that. The salty lake contains an ecological history to appreciate and enjoy during the 1-mile trail.

Bodie State Historic Park

If you have a few hours to spare, take a drive out to the ghost town of Bodie, a California Historical Landmark. See the untouched preservation of its 100 structures still standing including its at one-time-operational gold mill.

Lundy Lake

The greatest of tourist attractions in the area is Yosemite National Park, which the eastern entrance is 12 miles away from Lee Vining. The great granite boulder of Half Dome can be seen from miles away along with the vertical rock formation of El Capitan. Since hunting is prohibited in Yosemite, wildlife does not feel threatened by the presence of humans. Many people are able to get up very close to deer, maybe even too close.

Whether you want to go fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, or skiing (with winter coming up), Lee Vining is a great central destination. Not only is it close to Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes is less than an hour away. Even if you want to sit outside your tent and just enjoy the sounds of birds or the crack of lightning, Lee Vining is the place to be.

To learn more about the quaint little town of Lee Vining, visit, http://www.leevining.com/index.html .

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