Panum Crater

Lee Vining, California

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Panum Crater is a cinder cone that rises from the expanse of sagebrush near the southwestern edge of Mono Lake. Walking around the caldera rim provides exquisite views of Mono Lake, especially in the late afternoon and evening, while the middle of the cone lets you admire jagged volcanic rock. Beware that the loop around the crater rim is a lot more difficult than it appears because you climb up long sandy slopes three times, with your shoes sinking into the soft substrate and slipping backward with each step. However, the views of Mono Lake are well worth the effort. This walk is accessible year-round, excluding particularly snowy winter periods. Also avoid it midday on hot summer days.

Panum Crater Professional Review and Guide

"Panum Crater is a cinder cone that rises from the expanse of sagebrush near the southwestern edge of Mono Lake. Walking around the caldera rim provides exquisite views of Mono Lake, especially in the late afternoon and evening, while the middle of the cone lets you admire jagged volcanic rock. Beware that the loop around the crater rim is a lot more difficult than it appears because you climb up long sandy slopes three times, with your shoes sinking into the soft substrate and slipping backward with each step. However, the views of Mono Lake are well worth the effort. This walk is accessible year-round, excluding particularly snowy winter periods. Also avoid it midday on hot summer days."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Lee Vining
Distance: 2.1
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Season: Year-round

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