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How to Reach the Magnificent Crowley Lake Stone Columns

Embarking on a journey to witness the mesmerizing Crowley Lake Stone Columns is an adventure in itself. The journey begins by preparing for the trip, ensuring you have all necessary supplies. Travel along U.S. Route 395 and turn onto Owens Gorge Rd. Following the signs and staying on Owens Gorge Rd for about 4 miles will lead you to Crowley Lake. Crossing the Long Valley Dam, you will find yourself at the trailhead, where a guide can help you reach the columns.

Best Time to Visit

The Crowley Lake columns offer a breathtaking spectacle best enjoyed from May through October. This period ensures a pleasant experience, free from the harsh winter conditions. With its popularity among hikers and off-road enthusiasts, expect some company as you explore. Parking is available in a small, unmarked loop area from where the columns are accessible by foot.

The Enigma of Crowley Lake’s Name

Crowley Lake is named after J.J. Crowley, a Catholic priest, reflecting the near-spiritual allure of the area, especially during the fishing season opener in April. This event draws thousands of anglers, making it a significant occasion at the lake.

Unveiling the Mystery of California’s Most Mysterious Lake

The Crowley Lake Columns, first noticed after the completion of the Crowley Lake reservoir in 1941, stand as an enigmatic feature on its eastern shore. These columns, with their regular intervals of cracks, resemble Moorish temples, sparking curiosity and awe.

Operational Hours and Recreational Activities

Crowley Lake is open daily from 7 am to 9 pm. The gate closure each evening is a precaution for the quagga mussel inspection. The lake is a hub for various recreational activities, including boating, swimming, and fishing, offering a complete outdoor experience.

The Rich History of Crowley Lake

Around 700,000 years ago, volcanic eruptions dramatically shaped the area, creating a landscape that would eventually host Crowley Lake. The construction of the Long Valley Dam in 1941 by the City of Los Angeles transformed the region, creating the lake as we know it today.

The Depths of Crowley Lake

Crowley Lake, with its extensive shoreline and significant depth, provides an ideal habitat for trout and other wildlife, contributing to its popularity among anglers.

Understanding Crowley Lake’s Fluctuating Levels

The water level at Crowley Lake is influenced by various factors, including drought conditions and seasonal changes, affecting its recreational appeal and ecological balance.

Geological and Hydrological Insights

Crowley Lake, formed by the damming of the Owens River Gorge, plays a crucial role in the region’s water management and provides a scenic spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Crowley Lake’s Elevation and Population

Situated at an elevation of 6,949 feet, Crowley Lake is a small community with a rich natural and cultural heritage, offering a serene escape in California’s Mono County.

Fishing at Crowley Lake

The fishing season at Crowley Lake is a much-anticipated event, with specific regulations in place to ensure sustainable and enjoyable angling experiences.

Crowley Lake’s Capacity and Significance

With a substantial storage capacity, Crowley Lake serves as a vital resource for irrigation, municipal water supply, and recreational activities, highlighting its importance in the region’s ecosystem and community life.

Crowley Lake Stone Columns stand as a testament to nature’s artistry and human curiosity, inviting visitors to explore and marvel at its geological wonders.


Frequently Asked Questions about Crowley Lake Stone Columns


1. What are the Crowley Lake Stone Columns?

The Crowley Lake Stone Columns are natural rock formations on the eastern shore of Crowley Lake in California. They are characterized by tall, columnar structures with distinctive horizontal striations.

2. How were the Crowley Lake Stone Columns formed?

The columns were formed through a process of erosion and frost wedging. The theory is that hot volcanic ash fell into the cold water of the lake, causing the ash to cool and contract quickly, forming the columns.

3. Can I visit the Crowley Lake Stone Columns?

Yes, visitors can access the columns. However, reaching them involves a bit of hiking or off-road driving. It’s important to respect the natural environment and adhere to local guidelines while visiting.

4. Is there a specific time of year that is best for visiting the columns?

The best time to visit the Crowley Lake Stone Columns is from May through October. During this period, the weather is more favorable for hiking and the road conditions are better.

5. Do I need a permit to visit the Crowley Lake Stone Columns?

No specific permit is required to visit the columns, but it’s important to check the local regulations and any access restrictions that might be in place during your visit.

6. How long is the hike to reach the Crowley Lake Stone Columns?

The hike to reach the columns can vary depending on the starting point, but generally, it involves a few miles of hiking. Some trails may require off-road driving to get closer to the columns.

7. Are there guided tours available to see the Crowley Lake Stone Columns?

While there may not be regular guided tours specifically for the stone columns, local tour operators might include a visit to the columns as part of their broader tour packages in the area.

8. What should I bring when visiting the Crowley Lake Stone Columns?

It’s advisable to bring water, sunscreen, appropriate hiking footwear, and possibly a camera to capture the stunning scenery. Also, check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly.

9. Is fishing allowed at Crowley Lake?

Yes, fishing is a popular activity at Crowley Lake. The lake is known for its trout fishing, especially during the fishing season which starts the last Saturday in April.

10. What other activities can be done at Crowley Lake besides visiting the stone columns?

Besides visiting the stone columns, you can engage in activities like fishing, boating, camping, and bird watching. The area around Crowley Lake offers a natural setting for various outdoor activities.

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