Last year, we had the opportunity to drive the 12-mile road known as the June Lake Loop. This road provides easy access to the namesake lake and three other lakes. At that time, we were blown away by the spectacular mountains and pristine waters.
The day we visited was gloomy and windy. It was our intention to return at another time with better weather conditions.
Our desires became a reality this past weekend. We drove to June Lake from Bishop on Saturday morning and were rewarded with mild autumn weather, clear blue skies, and lakes that resemble mirrors.
On top of that, the June Lake Loop is known for its vibrant fall colors (the area is full of aspens). We arrived a little bit too late. The trees were past peak by a couple of days but there were still yellow, orange and red shades everywhere.
I am still on a high note because of this trip. It is not my intention to tarnish the following photos with my clumsy words. That is the reason why I am going to keep commentary to a minimum. Hope you are a lake lover like me!
Table of Contents
June Lake Loop
Below I am highlighting the main four lakes that can be accessed by road. Notice many more lakes are located within close proximity of the main road.
This is the lake which gives the name to the loop and main town on the area. It is considered a subalpine lake and it is located in the Mono Basin. There are two marinas on the lake (see the boats in the photos). Fishing, kayaking, and swimming are popular activities practiced by visitors.
The June Lake town is small but it covers visitor’s necessities very well (restaurants, motels, sporting goods stores, etc.). In addition, a popular ski resort is located in the vicinity.
This smaller lake is located very close to June Lake. It has a marina and a general store full of quirky wood carvings, signs and posters. The lake is known as “The Home of the Monster Trout.”
We started to see a lot of aspens while driving to Silver Lake. I love the reflection of the yellow trees on the water. Some parts of the mountain behind the lake were bursting with yellow flowers.
This is the larger lake in the area. The Grant Lake Marina is a full-service marina with docks, fishing boat rentals, and launch. The marina has snacks, refreshment, tackle, and gasoline.
Since the water level was a bit down, cars were going down to the lake bed using unpaved roads.
June Lake Loop Details
- June Lake is located 12 miles south of Lee Vining or 60 miles north of Bishop. It is a 4-5 hours drive from Los Angeles.
- The Mammoth Lakes Airport, located about 20 miles away, receives regular flights from cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver.
- The town of June Lake provides services to visitors. In addition, there are many resorts around the main road. Restaurants and other facilities can be found in there.
- A drive around the loop with plenty of stops can be done in half a day. However, there is no reason to rush your time there.
- There are plenty of hiking opportunities in the area. Stop by the visitor’s center for more information.
- If you are a winter sports fanatic, this is the place to be once the snow starts to fall.
- The Eastern Sierra area abounds with places to see and things to do. You can use June Lake to explore the surrounding area (and even to visit Yosemite).
The June Lake Loop is accessed from US-395, the highway that runs parallel to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. A trip to the area offers magnificent vistas and a plethora of activities.
Here are some places to check out int the area:
Mammoth Lakes Basin (about 20 miles from June Lake)- Mammoth Lakes is a well-known, year-round resort offering activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, horse riding and bike riding. A lot of people forget to visit the basin area, home to several gorgeous lakes. You can lake hop, fish or hike around.
Mono Lake Tufa Reserve (15 miles) – For a unique experience, pay a visit to the tufa formations located on the shores of Mono Lake. This place looks out of this world!
Tioga Road – The Tioga Road connects US-395 to Yosemite National Park. The road is not for those with a fear of hight since it climbs from a valley to an altitude of 9,000 feet. You will be able to experiences Yosemite’s often underappreciated high country. There are other attractions and trailheads on the road before the park’s entrance (you do not have to pay to access those).
Where to Eat
June Lake has a somehow limited selection of eating options due to t the size of the main town. Most resorts and cabins have their onsite restaurants. If you are not staying in the area, here are some eating options
Ohanas 395 – Food truck permanently parked in front of the June Lake Brewery (the local hangout). The Hawaiian fare is a favorite of many visitors to the area.
Gordons Mexican Restaurant – No-frills place ideal to get you huevos rancheros, tacos and burritos fix.
June Pie Pizza – Another popular business in the area since they open late and serve drinks.
For more eating options, head to the Mammoth Lake area.
Have you driven the June Lake Loop? Which is the most beautiful lake you have visited?
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