California's Geological Wonder

You would think you're looking at the ruins of an ancient temple, but what you're looking at are gray stony columns that are said to have formed when cold water made contact with steam rising up from hot volcanic ash caused by a cataclysmic explosion that occurred thousands of years ago.  

I had been wanting to visit this location for what seemed like forever, and after a second attempt we were finally able to see these incredibly amazing columns. We probably spent a good 4 hours here at Lake Crowley, and I was in "awe" the entire time. The best four hours I might have spent up to date. Not only did we get to see these amazing columns, but we also got to enjoy the glass lake that reflected the beautiful Eastern Sierras, and we got to observe two bald eagles perched and in flight. All in all, it was an amazing experience, worth the second attempt, and I'm going to give you tips on how to get here. 

In this blurry picture taken through binoculars, you can see two Bald Eagles perched on the rocks. 

Tips & Directions:

You can access Lake Crowley through more than one way. However, not every entrance gives you access to these geological columns. The first time we came here, we put Lake Crowley in our GPS and it took us to an entrance that was closed off and it probably wouldn't have given us access to the columns anyways. It was on that visit that I happened to ask a gentleman who was nearby if there was any other way to access the Lake and he pointed us to the right direction. 

To gain access you must be traveling on the 395 towards Mono County. Then turn onto Benton Crossing Road. If you're a hot spring aficionado, you already know about this infamous road. Continue on Benton Crossing Road until you hit a gravel/dirt road on the right hand side, Owens Gorge Rd. Turn onto Owens Gorge Road and continue riding on this road. There are so many little off roads that can be taken, but continue on Owens Gorge Rd until you can actually see the Lake. It is when you get closer to the lake that you must take one of those little side roads. I'm not 100% exact on which one, but you kind of have to follow your gut and if you think you've gone the wrong way you can always go back and try again. It's all part of exploring and adventure. Also, if you have reception, which I did, you can put Lake Crowley into your GPS and at this point it should lead you in the right direction.  

One good point of reference is a really bumpy hill (as seen in the picture above), that could be more easily driven with a high clearance vehicle and 4wd. If you've reached this intimidating hill, you've gone the right way. If you don't have a 4wd and you can't make it over the top, you can always park at the bottom and hike, but you'll definitely have quite a bit of hiking to do. If that's your only option, make sure to get there earlier so you have enough time to hike to the lake, down to the lake, and alongside the beach/columns, and then back. Don't forget to take snacks, water, layered clothing, and enjoy the views! 


  1. Wow! When I first saw the picture without reading the title I thought it was somewhere in Turkey. If you tagged me while I lived in California, I would probably say yes to go with you without doubt. So many wonders in the world!

  2. It really does look like manmade arches


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