No water flows out of Mono Lake so, over the years, the basin has become extremely rich in salts and minerals scoured from the surrounding hills. This high concentration of minerals is responsible for the simultaneously weird and wonderfully beautiful structures that are found in and around the lake.
Those found above water were actually created underwater, before the levels fell due to water extraction in recent years.
Rich in all sorts of essential minerals, a swim is bracing in winter months, refreshing in the summer and must surely be healthy at whatever time of year you visit.
We were there in the summer and swam from the South car park. Bring appropriate footwear as the shore and lake bottom is rocky. Swimming goggles will prevent your eyes being stung by the high salt content of the water and fresh water for a post swim rinse is also a must.
One thing that might put you off partaking of the waters are the clouds of small flies that hover perpetually over the water at the edge of the lake. Remarkably, they completely avoid people. When we swam from the Navy Beach area, we were not bothered by them at all.
A number of activities are organised by the Mono Lake Committee