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Bishop Visitor's Center

Our world is a world of wonder. Our big backyard is especially wonderful.

There are few places in the world where evidence of the natural history of a region is more obvious and interesting than in the Eastern Sierra. The forces that have shaped our world have produced an astonishing assortment of observable characteristics that give us insight into the creation of this part of our planet. These distinctive features present an opportunity to view, firsthand, the results of these forces. Aspects of nature that seem improbable and unexpected are wonderous and beautiful. Elements of geography and topography that appear inconsistent and disrupted have logical explanations. Everything here has happened for a reason and we are witness to the wonder of nature.

Columnar basalt at Devils Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument. Photo: Frank Kovalchek – Wikimedia commons

This land, before time was measured and records were kept, was very different to what we see today. What is now the western USA was once separated from what is today the eastern USA by a massive inland sea. As the region dried, and the earth lifted and dropped and exploded, it developed into what we see today. It continues to crack, and warp, and shape our landscape. The Eastern Sierra, unlike so many other primordial lands of the world, remains relatively untouched by human interference. It is still wild and diverse, with massive mountains and deep valleys. And most of it is freely and easily accessible to everyone.

The Eastern Sierra is made up primarily of two counties, Inyo and Mono. Inyo County, the second largest county by area in California, and its northern neighbor Mono County (pronounced moh-no) are two of the least populated counties in California. Together these two counties cover just under 10% of the total land area of all of California. Within that, a staggering 99% of land in Inyo County and 93.6% of Mono County is designated as public lands. This adds up to an incredible amount of beautiful and diverse land for adventure and exploration.

Bishop is the largest town along the highway corridor that runs through the Eastern Sierra and it’s situated pretty much right in the middle of the region. Death Valley National Park is a little over 150 miles south (almost all of it entirely within Inyo County) and the gateway to Yosemite National Park is little under 150 miles north.

We like to say Bishop is, “Halfway between heaven and, well … heaven!”

Visit us virtually. Our Natural History page is an exploration into many of the most fascinating features of the Eastern Sierra landscape.

Death Valley, despite its macabre name does, in fact, sustain a large variety of life. The sheer size and diversity of its terrain creates opportunity for plants, animals and insects to survive and thrive in a seemingly hostile environment. It’s also where the lowest point on the North American continent sits at 282 feet below sea level. It is known as Badwater Basin. The Eureka Dunes, the tallest sand dunes in North America, lie in an enclosed basin at 3,000 feet above-sea-level. These dunes cover an area about 3 miles long and 1 mile wide and rise to about 680 feet off the valley floor. The mighty Sierra Nevada was once thought to be one of the youngest ranges on the planet, but it is now believed to be at least 40 million years old and it’s still growing. It holds the highest peak in the contiguous USA, Mt. Whitney at 14,505 feet above sea level. Below it is the Owens Valley, an impressive rift valley within the Great Basin, the largest endorheic basin the USA. The Owens Valley is considered the deepest valley in the United States.

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine trees against a darkening sky. near Bishop, Ca.

Great Basin Bristlecone Pines. Photo: @richmophoto

The planet’s oldest living things live here high on a mountaintop and some individuals are almost 5,000 years old. Massive boulders, some 40 feet high, are scattered around a hillside miles from where they first formed. Colossal columns of rock in near-perfect geometric shapes form a huge buttress that look as if they were laid by the hand of a graceful giant. A line of volcanic craters, domes, and cinder cones are connected by geography, but separated by time of over 200,000 years. The youngest being only about 170 years old. And a large lake, too salty for fish life, harbors trillions of brine shrimp and brine flies that are food for the millions of migratory birds that flock to this region. This is Mono Lake, which is believed to be at least one million years old – the oldest lake in North America.

This is a land of superlatives. It is a huge, ancient, and mostly wild land of contrasts and extremes.

These are just some of the many magnificent features outlined in our Natural History page that could guide you through our world of wonder. Planning for a visit here is key to creating your best adventure. Visit our page, follow the links, study the maps, review the stories, and call us (760-873-8405) with any questions you may have. We have local experience and knowledgeable staff on hand to discuss your dreams, learn your goals, and help you create the best experience possible.

We can help you Choose Your Own Adventure for when the time comes to venture out.

Mono Craters seen from US 395. Photo: Daniel Mayer

Mono Craters seen from US 395. Photo: Daniel Mayer – Wikimedia Commons

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1 day ago

It’s spring. Wildflowers are blooming, roads are opening, and more folks are traveling and camping. It’s dry out there. Please please, please be careful with anything that could start a wildfire!!! 🔥 This reminder is for locals and visitors alike. It’s going to take ALL of us to prevent wildfires in the months to come.

#inyocounty #RecreateResponsibly #wildfireprevention
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So pretty. Wish I were there. <3

Beautiful

Beautiful photo!!!

I love that area!!

Beautiful

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2 days ago

In case you didn't get the memo: Mule Days is a GO this year!

In concert with health officials, they are planning for a safe event that fans and spectators will remember for years to come. In compliance with State guidelines, mandatory restrictions and capacity limits will apply to arena seating, so be sure to call now to get your reservations. Some of the popular indoor events have been canceled due to these limits such as the Concert and Opening Night Supper. Sadly, the parade is also on hold until 2022. Good news, though... Mule Days IS happening this year and is going back to the roots where Mule Days is all about the mule!

To read more, or buy tickets, visit: muledays.org/2021/04/16/2020-vision-through-the-eyes-of-a-mule-take-2/

#visitbishop #muledays
... See MoreSee Less

In case you didnt get the memo: Mule Days is a GO this year! 

In concert with health officials, they are planning for a safe event that fans and spectators will remember for years to come. In compliance with State guidelines, mandatory restrictions and capacity limits will apply to arena seating, so be sure to call now to get your reservations. Some of the popular indoor events have been canceled due to these limits such as the Concert and Opening Night Supper. Sadly, the parade is also on hold until 2022. Good news, though... Mule Days IS happening this year and is going back to the roots where Mule Days is all about the mule!

To read more, or buy tickets, visit: https://muledays.org/2021/04/16/2020-vision-through-the-eyes-of-a-mule-take-2/

#visitbishop #muledays

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I HAVE NOT BEEN TO BISHOP FOR 30 YEARS AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO A VISIT THERE THIS YEAR. I WAS BORN THERE AND I MAY HAVE A 60TH CLASS REUNION THIS SUMMER. WAITING TO HEAR IF IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN .

Yeah!!! The most fun you can have and still be legal? Or something like that. Stay well.

Thank you for being safe...

We will be there been going there for years Love it

They just approved The Reno Rodeo to full capacity as of two weeks ago and I do believe that the parade will happen as well

I know its a town thing & not affiliated with MD's but any word on the Craft Fair in the Park

No parade outside? Well that’s California for ya! At least there will be an event.

Yep Mule days is coming. this event is when the people are put on show and the Mules get to work out. Mules get to show how smart they are and the people get to show (well we will let you finish this sentence). Come as see for yourself what it is like to be here.

So glad to hear that!!! Miss Bishop soooo much!

The "Mule Days" bumper sticker has worn off the back bumper of the trailer.

Better something than nothing. Sorry to miss it.

Anything happening for 4th of July?

No parade?

what about the arts and crafts at the city park? is that still on?

Nick Chudilowsky

Whoo Hoo 👏

Becka Lynn Kelley

Awesome!

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5 days ago

Who’s hitting the trail this weekend?? Spring has sprung. We have some access to the high country, and warm (ok, maybe hot) temps down here in the valley. Flowers are blooming, snow is melting, and gulls are migrating north. Who loves this time of the year?

#visitbishop #mindfultraveler #RecreateResponsibly
📷 by Betsy Forsyth
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Who’s hitting the trail this weekend?? Spring has sprung. We have some access to the high country, and warm (ok, maybe hot) temps down here in the valley. Flowers are blooming, snow is melting, and gulls are migrating north. Who loves this time of the year? 

#visitbishop #mindfultraveler #RecreateResponsibly
📷 by Betsy Forsyth

Comment on Facebook

So beautiful and amazing picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

Just came home from there.

I DO,LOVE BISHOP FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS

where are the flowers blooming right now?

Beautiful

Looking lovely!

Beautiful!!!!

Me!

Wish I was😢

BISHOP CA

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6 days ago

A question for our history-lovers!Inyo County has such rich history. What is your favorite historical site in Inyo County???

#inyocounty
Photo courtesy of Inyo County Shootout
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A question for our history-lovers!

Comment on Facebook

The Indian museum in Independence and Laws

I'm partial to the fish hatchery and it's history. Shame it has never recovered since 2008

I enjoyed Laws years ago with my son, also just enjoyed exploring the Owens valley in search of petroglyphs from indigenous people who lived there, sky rock, 13 moons, and many throughout the valley.

Manzanar

Whitney Hatchery..... not antique but old and wonderful

Look Chris Baird your favorite place . lmao

Schatt's for me.

Famous for Charlie

wasn't Manson held here for destruction of construction equipment years ago, thank God he is gone.....

Charles Manson walked down those steps.

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1 week ago

Here is a little mid-week break for you!! This is just past Aspendell, headed towards Lake Sabrina.
Happy Wednesday!!

Photo by Betsy Forsyth
#visitbishop #RecreateResponsibly #mindfultraveler
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Here is a little mid-week break for you!! This is just past Aspendell, headed towards Lake Sabrina. 
Happy Wednesday!! 

Photo by Betsy Forsyth
#visitbishop #RecreateResponsibly #mindfultraveler

Comment on Facebook

Took that road every year we camped at Benton crossing.

Will be there soon for Mule Days

OMGoodness! Lucky to know that road so well! Love it, right, Robert Yanasak?

I’ve been there once... it’s beautiful.

Crisp mountain air! I can feel my lips chapping already!

How lovely!

Wish I was there right now! ❤️🛤

Love road shots

Beautiful!!

Love it

I visited there back in 2014! It was serene! Miss is ! Planning to take the kiddos when they can put up with a 4hs drive lol 😂

Looks Awesome.

Awesome.

Brings back wonderful memories living up in Adpendell

Up up & away!

HOME!

I love Aspendale

One of my goals is to buy a house out there one day.

I’ll be there next week Visit Bishop

Know the area so well.

❤️❤️

Hey “ hop- a - long” how we doing?.I’m going with the later “ Say What” ya?.

Beautiful 😍

Neal Tipton

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