The following represents options to give guests when the Inyo National Forest is closed to visitor use. The list below describes alternative outdoor opportunities which and indoor use when the wind shifts and is too smoky to be outdoors due to wildfire activity. In this situation, adjust your plans to visit the indoor features also listed below.
- Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center – Beautiful exhibits that showcase the life ways of our region’s indigenous people. 2300 West Line Street. Open Tues – Fri from 10 AM – 6 PM; Sat – Sun from 10 AM to 3 PM.
- Laws Railroad Museum & Historic Village – 11 acres of indoor & outdoor exhibits that take guests back in time to the Pioneer Days of the Owens Valley. 10 minutes north of Bishop on Highway 6. Open daily 10 AM – 4 PM.
- Back Alley Bowling – Open Mon – Thurs from 11 AM – 9 AM; Fri – Sat from 11 AM – 10 PM. Great fun for the entire family.
- Arcade Inside Bishop Pizza Factory – Open daily from 11 AM – 8 PM. Dozens of arcade games, fun for kids of all ages.
- Keough’s Hot Springs Resort – take a relaxing & refreshing soak or float just 15 minutes south of Bishop. Friday-Sat – Sun from 9 AM – 6 PM; Mon, Wed, & Thurs from 11 AM – 6 PM. Closed Tuesday.
- Historic Bishop Twin Theatre – Playing current feature films daily.
- Bishop Mural Walk – Get a brochure of the murals at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau and find history on walls. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Wanaaha Casino – Native American gaming at its best. Located on North Highway 395. Open daily.
- Historic Monuments Auto Tour – Grab a Treasure Map from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau to find local historic monuments. Open Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Owens River Float Tubing – Float the lazy and meandering Owens River. Open daily. Bring your own flotation device. For more info, contact the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Bishop Birdwatching – Pick up a birding map from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau to find local bird viewing locations. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Sage to Summit Indoor Rock Climbing Gym – Open daily from 9 AM – 9 PM.
- Art Galleries, Gift Shops, & Antique Shops – Pick up a local guide of art galleries, gift shops, and antique shops at Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Motor Tour the Area’s Historic Landscapes – Grab yourself the Inyo and Mono Motor Touring Guides and experience the area’s history like the pioneers did but in the comfort of your auto. Get your guides at Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Bureau of Land Management/Department of Water & Power Hikes – Depending on temperatures and smoke severity, consider traditional winter hikes in the lower reaches of the Owens Valley such as Lower Rock Creek, the Owens River Gorge, Happy & Sad Boulders, Bishop Canals, the Mobius Arch Trail located in the Alabama Hills, etc. Pick up a brochure to these locations at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- The Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery – 45 minutes south of Bishop, this is an often overlooked gem of architectural magnificence! Open Indoors Thurs – Sun from 10 AM – 3:30 PM. Grounds open daily. Check out the Eastern Sierra Wildlife Interpretive Center inside the hatchery.
- Eastern California Museum in Independence – 45 minutes south of Bishop. Large collection of Native American basketry, exhibits on area history including mining, mountaineering, agriculture, LADWP aqueduct and much more. Open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM.
- Discover Independence Walking Tour – Learn about the historic architecture and pioneers of Independence and their contributions to the frontier settlement of the area. Grab your guide at the Eastern California Museum. Open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM.
- Manzanar National Historic Site – Learn about the 10,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. Very good exhibits include living quarters, dining hall and a film featuring people who actually lived there. 50 miles south of Bishop (between Independence & Lone Pine). Visitor Center open Fri – Mon from 11 AM – 4 PM. Grounds open daily 7:30 AM to 3 PM.
Lone Pine Area:
- Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine – see real movie props, costumes and artifacts from some of the 400+ movies that have been filmed in our area. Get a movie location map and take a drive in the Alabama Hills to see the sights in person. One hour south of Bishop. Open Thurs – Mon from 10 AM – 4 PM, Sunday 10AM-4PM.
- Alabama Hills National Scenic Area – Visit one of the most frequently used background features for cinematic films and commercials. Located west of Lone Pine, the scenery, rock formations, and hiking trails are stunning. Pick up a map at the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine or at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce. Open daily – Mon – Sat from 9 AM – 5 PM; Sun from 12 PM – 4 PM.
- Eastern Sierra Visitor Center – Located at the junction of Hwy 136 and 395, this facility contains books, souvenirs, visitor information and more for the highway traveler. Open daily from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
- Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns – Located several minutes east of Highway 395 north of Olancha, these historic kilns were used to make charcoal to fire the smelters to extract silver and lead from its ore during the late 1800s.
- Olancha Sand Dunes – Small sand dune complex east of Olancha. Suitable for limited OHV use, hiking, and fat tire bike riding.
Mammoth Lakes Area:
- Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery – Visit the location that rears Rainbow Trout to stock Eastern Sierra waterways. East of Hwy 395 off Airport Road. Open daily from 8 AM to 3:30 PM.
- Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center – Located off Highway 270 as you enter Mammoth Lakes. Provides area information, books, souvenirs and more. Open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Lee Vining Area:
- Mono Lake Committee Visitor Center – Located in the center of Lee Vining, this facility is a museum and gift shop for all things related to Mono Lake. One of the finest sources of area information in the region. Open Thurs-Sat from 9 AM to 5 PM.
- Upside Down House – Check out this unique oddity built by a Hollywood actress. For information, check with the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining.
- Mono Lake National Scenic Area – Located east of Highway 395, the Old Marina and Mono County Park contain Tufa towers along the western portion of the lake. For information, check with the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining.
- Toiyabe National Forest – Located north of Virginia Lakes Road off Highway 395. As of Sept 1, 2021, the Forest is closed to all overnight use except in developed campgrounds. Additionally, day use features are available and accessible. For updated information, contact the Forest at 760-932-7070.
- Bodie State Park – Located on about 12 miles on Highway 203 east of Highway 395, this is the best historic ghost town in the country. Open daily from 9 AM – 6 PM.
Some Other Useful Information:
- Road Conditions – To determine which highways have been impacted by fires and/or recent flooding, check www.dot.ca.gov and type in highway number for current conditions.
- Wildfire, Smoke, & Air Quality – this is a good tutorial to see which areas have better/worse air quality conditions, smoke, and wildfire activity. https://www.bishopvisitor.com/sierra-smoke/
- Fishing Opportunities – Fishing access is still available on Bureau of Land Management land and on Dept of Water & Power lands as well as the Toiyabe National Forest under the present situation (see above).
- Lodging Opportunities – All lodging facilities remain open outside the Inyo National Forest.
- Camping Opportunities – Please camp only in designated campgrounds such as county campgrounds, BLM campgrounds, private campgrounds, and any Forest Service campground that allows it such as the Toiyabe National Forest. Avoid all dispersed camping.