Lee Vining Creek Trail

Photographers (including me) often overlook easy photo opps. I've stayed at Lee Vining several times, but in none of my previous stays that I bothered to check out the trail right next to the road in town. Only by staying at a motel with views of the creek and lake that I noticed colors were on par if not better than places that I visited earlier. My motel looked out to Lee Vining Creek leading to Mono Lake. With the blessing of an overcast sky (which had ruined my sunrise photos at Parker Lake), I set out to hike Lee Vining Creek Trail that went from one end of town to the National Forest Visitor Center.

The trail started at the south end of town and was reasonably maintained. It appeared that few people spent time hiking this trail, opting instead for those further away. The first section of the trail was not very interesting - the creek was not visible or reachable due to overgrown vegetation. But halfway through, the trail meandered along the creek with easy access to creekside. This creek is dominated by cottonwoods, with stands of aspen a little distance away. Blessed with an overcast sky and diffused lights (that spoiled my visit to Parker Lake), I had several opportunities for photography. I found it more photogenic than Poole Power Plant Road for this day. The trail eventually climbed toward the Mono Basin National Forest Visitor Center and offered additional panoramic photography opportunities that include framing Mono Lake.