Welcome to my article on the Crowley Lake Columns of California! My name is Bruna Luz and I was born and raised in Brazil – in a big town in the south area of the country. I spent most of my life there and at the nearest beach city. I moved solo to Los Angeles, California in 2016 to have a chance to travel more since Brazil is very expensive which makes travel difficult.
Ever since I can remember, I have felt a connection with nature and the outdoors/adventure. I played every sport growing up and tried many different activities including surfing and weightlifting. Also, I have a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and have worked in many fields.
I’m truly passionate about healthy living and the endless benefits that exercise and nature provide. I feel most alive and connected to who I really am when I am outdoors exploring. My main inspiration is to never stop traveling and to try and see as much of the world as humanly possible!
Chasing the American Dream in California
I had the American Dream in my head since I was a little kid watching Disney movies. During my teenage years, my passion for the American culture and way of living became stronger and stronger. It got to the point where it became an obsession! All I wanted to do was to live there.
In 2015, at the age of 22, I graduated from college in Physical Education and straight after got a job as a waitress at a fancy restaurant. The pay was great and so all I did for seven months was work! I saved money, packed my essentials into two backpacks, exchanged some US dollars and bought a one-way ticket to California. I was finally able to live my American Dream!
Before this one-way flight to California, I had only been to the US for a short vacation in Florida. I felt in my heart that I had to head towards California – mainly for the weather since Brazilians can’t stay too far away from the ocean and warm sunny weather. California was also attractive because of its welcoming attitude to immigrants and multi-cultural population.
Another big reason is the fact that California is one of the most beautiful states in the United States of America. There are many spectacular national parks in California! This state is very easy to get around and you can find many hidden gems by just exploring without too much of a plan.
When I first landed in California, I couldn’t speak or write much English. So I went to school for three months and worked jobs that helped me pick up the language. I learned very quickly. It has been almost five years since I moved to Los Angeles. Time sure does fly by when you are having fun!
Most of my time is spent hiking, relaxing at the beach, riding bikes in Santa Monica and Venice Beach, camping, road tripping and exploring nature. It’s important to say that I do work full-time from Monday to Friday and I work on my social media channels when I get free time. You can follow my adventures in California and the USA here: @wanderingbru.
My Experience at Crowley Lake Columns
One amazing place that I visited this year in California was Crowley Lake. I remember seeing a random picture of the lake on the Instagram explore page and it immediately caught my attention. I was so curious to see those unique rock formations and stone columns. The post I saw didn’t have a location tag – it just said “California”. So I did some research and found it.
Every blog I read said Crowley Lake would be super hard to access – only with 4WD vehicles or boats. So I went on a trip to Mammoth Lakes to check out the hot springs and put Crowley Lake and its columns on my list as a place to see if I could. I didn’t have high expectations going into the trip.
When I got to the road to reach the trail, it was impassable. I didn’t have a high clearance 4WD but I knew it was only 2.5 miles to get there. So, I decided to walk. It was the best decision ever! The views were stunning and the mountains were still covered in snow. The Eastern Sierra Mountains looked precious. I reached the beach and had the whole place to myself!
I spent about four hours at the beach and columns exploring, walking on the frozen lake all the way to the end of the columns. They have different shapes and sizes and I was fascinated to be able to see and walk through them. It was so unique to have a chance to walk on the frozen lake, since the pictures I had seen were from summer and it looked much different.
Interesting Facts about the Crowley Lake Columns
In my travels, I always try to reach the hardest locations because I seek the adventure more than anything else. This has led me to some amazing and unique destinations just like the Crowley Lake Columns. This lake blew me away because you can see nature acting in its most powerful form.
Before visiting, I read up on the geology and history of Crowley Lake. It was nice to know what to look for once I got there. Walking through columns that were formed when cold water/snow melted onto hot volcanic ash was such a fascinating and incredible experience. These rock columns were formed over 760,000 years ago after a massive volcanic eruption.
Where to Stay & Visit near Crowley Lake
On most of the trips I take in California I tend to camp or car camp. There are some campgrounds in the area but if camping isn’t for you, Mammoth Lakes offers plenty of accommodation from resorts to motels. The town of Bishop is a great spot to base yourself for adventures near Crowley Lake. And trust me, there are plenty of amazing places to visit near this lake.
The hot springs in Mammoth Lakes are worth visiting: Wild Willy’s Hot Spring, Shepherd Hot Springs and Crab Cooker Hot Springs. Then you have Mono Lake, June Lake, Convict Lake and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest which has some of the oldest trees in the world. Further north is Travertine Hot Springs. The geology and volcanic formations here are insane.
Need to Know Before you Go
Go to Crowley Lake prepared for the outdoors. Check the weather, road conditions and water level at the lake. Make sure you have the maps/trails downloaded to your phone because there is not much phone service. Have a full tank of gas, extra water and food in case you get stranded. A satellite device for rescue is handy. Most importantly, leave no trace and enjoy!