About Mono County

June Lake, CA

Mono County, California is a rural county situated between the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the California/Nevada border.   Accessed by state-designated Scenic Byway US Highway 395 which weaves its way north-south, Mono County is 108 miles in length, and has an average width of only 38 miles.  With dramatic mountain boundaries that rise in elevation to over 13,000 feet, the county’s diverse landscape includes forests of Jeffrey and lodge pole pine, junipers and aspen groves, hundreds of lakes, alpine meadows, streams and rivers, and sage-covered high desert. The county has a land area of 3,030 square miles, or just over 2 million acres, 94% of which is publicly owned.  Much of the land is contained in the Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, as well as the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness areas.  As a result, Mono County offers vast scenic and recreational resources, and has unsurpassed access to wilderness and outdoor recreation and adventure.

The county is home to, and named after Mono Lake, which is a large high-desert saline lake with intriguing limestone tufa formations, and is a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds.  Mono Lake is just one of the reasons that Mono County was listed in the “Top 10 U.S. Destinations to Visit” in 2013, by pre-eminent travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet, along with the historic gold rush town of Bodie, which during its heyday in the late 1800’s was home to as many as 10,000 people, and is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay” for the public to come and enjoy.  The travel guide also called out Devils Postpile National Monument, which stretches 60 feet into the sky like a giant stone pipe organ and is one of the world’s finest examples of columnar basalt.  Yet another natural wonder, Yosemite National Park is only 12 miles from Lee Vining and Mono Lake; the park’s east entrance gate is located at the top of Tioga Pass, which is open seasonally from mid-May to early November.

Mono County has several small towns and charming villages, each with their own scenic beauty, year-round recreational opportunities, natural and historical attractions, and unique characteristics.  The County seat is proudly located in Bridgeport where the original courthouse is the second oldest in the state to be in continuous use. The only incorporated town in the county is Mammoth Lakes, which is located at the base of world-renowned Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, with a summit of 11,053 feet, over 3500 skiable acres, 28 lifts, and an average of 400 inches of snowfall annually.  Approximately 7,500 people reside in the Mammoth Lakes area year-round, but during the peak winter season, the population swells to over 35,000 when visitors from around the state, country and world come to ski and snowboard and take part in many other winter activities.  Sister resort, June Mountain, just 20 miles north of Mammoth, offers uncrowded, wide-open slopes and a more peaceful, family-friendly alternative to busier ski areas.   Summer, however, is when Mono County really shines.  The region offers countless miles of alpine hiking, superb trout fishing at dozens of well-stocked lakes, streams and rivers, kayaking, cycling, horseback riding, golfing and endless warm-weather adventures.  Photographers flock to the county in September and October when it is almost impossible to take a bad photo of the fall color that lights up the Eastern Sierra landscape. Sunset Magazinenamed Mono County one of the “Top 5 places to Hike” in autumn and TravelAndLeisure.com listed Mono County as one of “America’s Best Fall Color Drives.”  A wide variety of lodging, restaurants and shops are available throughout the county, and commercial air service to Mammoth Yosemite Airport, just a 10 minute drive from the Town of Mammoth Lakes, is available from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego on Alaska and United Airlines throughout the winter, and from Los Angeles in summer and fall.

Why Mono County?

Most people who choose to make Mono County their home are choosing a way of life and a set of values that include some of the most important things in life:  Fresh air, clean water, sunshine, safe communities…and access to unsurpassed outdoor recreation and natural beauty. For many people, playing in the great outdoors and doing what they really love – whether that’s photography, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, kayaking, bird watching, cycling, skiing or snowboarding – is when they are the happiest, when they truly feel alive. Why not make a move that gets you closer to what you love doing?  Why not live where you really feel alive?! As one of the most beautiful places on earth, Mono County has always been a destination for folks who are passionate about their outdoor fun.  Long known for world-class skiing and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain ski areas, many avid skiers and riders who have moved to Mono County say the same thing: “I came for the winter but I stayed for the summer.”  Year-round, California’s Eastern Sierra is a beloved place to visit, but two big reasons have recently allowed more people to consider making Mono County their home:

  • The recent arrival of high-speed broadband (Gigabyte capacity)
  • Direct scheduled air service to Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) year-round from Los Angeles (LAX) on Alaska Airlines, and direct flights from San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Denver during the winter season.

Access to the world beyond the mountains – to your clients, vendors, suppliers, colleagues, family and friends – is critical wherever you choose to live and establish your business.  Air service to the heart of our county, and high speed internet, combined with the well-maintained US Highway 395, provide that vital access.  Which means you can work remotely or operate your business successfully… with a corner office view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Whether you wish to relocate yourself and your family, and/or your business, we’re here to help you figure out how to make the choice of a lifetime.  Please call our Economic Development team at 1-800-845-7922 or email JSimpson@mono.ca.gov or AVennos@mono.ca.gov to explore the possibilities.