The Obsidian Dome and the June Lake Loop

Here’s what the Inyo National Forest Visitor Guide 2011-2012 has to say about the Obsidian Dome.

“Obsidian Dome

The dome is a hill of solid volcanic glass. Take Glass Flow Road (west) off US 395, eleven miles north of Mammoth Lakes. COLLECTING OBSIDIAN OR ROCKS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.”

And that was all! Of course, the Devils Post Pile got a four page spread.

The Dome was on our way to June Lakes and we decided to have a look. Aren’t we glad that we did. It was totally awesome.

Obsidian (or at least this obsidian – my experience is limited to one!) is like a black glassy rock. It looks a little like the a headstone for a grave.

Now imagine an entire mountain made out of this stuff! Here’s what it looks like on Google Maps.

It is about a mile long and less than a mile wide, reaching a height of 400m at it’s summit.  I enjoyed this USGS site that gives great information about the Obsidian dome and other volcanic features that I’ve mentioned in the last few posts. (Yes, it even covers the Devils Poop Post Pile!)

The parking lot is right at the foot of the dome, but do get out of your car and walk around. Looking up from below is pretty cool!

Due to the lack of information, we were unaware that a trail to the top even existed. Luckily, we decided to take a walk around the base. We hadn’t gone too far when we were called into action for a rescue mission.

Another tourist had quite literally wandered off the beaten track and had gotten stuck on a log which you can just see peeking out from below the front fender/bumper.

The gorgeous chocolate lab, passenger from the stuck car, had to be tied up outside as he threatened to lick to death anyone who got behind the wheel! What a fabulous doggy-smile he has.


My super smart hubby turned off the traction control (or something or other) and we were able to push the car off the log.

From here we spotted a trail that lead up onto the dome. We followed it to the top where we entered a world right out of a Star Trek set!

Waiting for Kirk and Spock to beam down any moment and look down their noses at us warp-less creatures, we had a walk around, thankful we weren’t wearing red sweaters!

I’m afraid we turned into total rock geeks.

But who could blame us. These are only two of the hundreds of photos we took.

After we’d explored the top of the dome to our satisfaction, (and wishing we’d brought a picnic) we hurried back to the parking lot, worried in case there may be a queue of cars backed up looking for a place to park. 

Of course, sure wasn’t everyone else driving bumper to bumper through Currie Village in Yosemite Valley!

From here, we continued north, bypassed the first turn-off to June Lakes and then turned left on the northern end of the loop working our way south.


Grant Lake was like a mirror where it hadn’t yet frozen. This loop is a gorgeous scenic drive that brings you past a smaller ski hill, which had no snow when we were there but is a good alternate day’s skiing if you are here when there is snow.

I still found it hard to get used to the idea that there was no snow, yet some lakes were frozen solid.

 This waterfall was half-and-half!

June Lakes is a lovely area any time of the year. A sleepy village in the woods type atmosphere, yet there lurks action and adventure in many forms – camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing to mention a few. I think I could easily fill a week or two in the summer here.

One more travel post to go, (the trip home) then I really ought to get back to the garden…

Last week a fellow Master Gardener complimented me on my blog and told me she loves reading it. Such praise so valuable to me. Thank-you to all my readers for sticking with me!

Byddi Lee

Mammoth Lakes on Dwellable

2 replies to The Obsidian Dome and the June Lake Loop

  1. Very nice story ! Thank you , kept us entertained on our drive home to Nevada 🙂

  2. So glad that you enjoyed it!

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