Mono Craters

The ‘Craters’ are mostly a speed flying site, and are great for newer pilots as the surface of the terrain is usually very soft sand and cinder. There is no good way to drive up, you pretty much have to hike it.

To reach the ‘Grey Dune’ and ‘Practice Hill’ LZ- From the intersection of highways 395 and 120 east, head east on highway 120. Proceed for exactly three miles, then turn right onto the dirt road. Proceed for 1.2 miles, staying along the bottom of the Craters on the most well-used path, then turn left towards the big grey sand dune. Another 1.1 miles gets you to the sandy LZ. You will need a decent vehicle with good traction to get up this last 1.1 mile section, as it is very sandy.


Flying down the Grey Dune-

mono craters

The LZ is the sandy area in the center of the photo. The Practice Hill is the slope directly to the right (north) of the LZ



Looking at the Grey Dune from high above the practice hill launch-

mono crater



To reach the Grey Dune take-off-

From the LZ, hike up the gully to the left (north) of the dune. After about one third of the way up, you should skirt up and left to avoid the ultra-loose central portion on the gully. There is a vein of darker rock at this point. After another couple hundred feet of scrambling, you will work your way back up and right, to the dune’s northern shoulder. Take the obvious ridge up for the last third of your hike. Warning- this approach is very loose and sandy, not what I would call an ‘enjoyable’ hike in the classic terms.


To reach the Practice Hill take-off-

Follow the initial approach directions for the Grey Dune, but after the first quarter of that approach, turn left (NW) out of the gully and head on up the sandy ridge of the Practice Hill. Just before the top, skirt out left (west) to a small steep launch close to a pine tree.


Launch site: Grey Dune, Mono Craters

Aspect: West

Vertical descent: 1,200 ft

Launch elevation: 8,480 ft

Best for: Speed wings, PG

Approach: Loose sandy cross-country hiking

Time to launch from the LZ: 1 hour

Glide ratio to primary LZ: Very steep!



Launch site: Practice Hill, Mono Craters

Aspect: South

Vertical descent: 700 ft

Launch elevation: 7,950 ft

Best for: Speed wings, PG okay

Approach: Loose sandy cross-country hiking

Time to launch from the LZ: Forty five minutes

Glide ratio to primary LZ: Very steep!




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