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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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14 hours ago

Thank you to the Fairgrounds!!Let's give it up for our local Fairgrounds to step into a summer full of safe outdoor fun; featuring more space for RV and tent camping, plus big events like Mule Days, California High School Rodeo, a Drive-In and Tailgate Concert series - all at the Tri County Fairgrounds, in Bishop! They're planning for a bigger and better year, bigger stage, better sound, bigger acts, and better seats! 🎥🍿--

#inyocounty #tricountyfairgrounds #driveinmovie
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Thank you to the Fairgrounds!!

2 days ago

Look at this sweet foal that was born yesterday!! 😍 Quite a Mother’s Day gift!

Photo by Julie Faber
#visitbishop
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Look at this sweet foal that was born yesterday!! 😍 Quite a Mother’s Day gift! 

Photo by Julie Faber
#visitbishop

Comment on Facebook

Awww. Congratulations momma

Hi sweet baby.❤️

Sweet baby horse.

Aww adorable

Truly beautiful ....well done Mummy ❤

Beautiful!!!

Beautiful horses!

Que belleza 😊 me encanta todo lo que tenga que ver con los caballos, lindo y hermoso día

Sara Kvaas ... not sure if you follow this page, given how we love Aspendell!

Beautiful

💞

Sweetheart.

So pretty.

So cute

Ohhhh cute!

Awww 🥰

❤️🐎❤️❗️

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5 days ago

Wishing you and your littles a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend!! ❤️

#visitbishop
Photo by Betsy Forsyth
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Wishing you and your littles a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend!! ❤️

#visitbishop
Photo by Betsy Forsyth

Comment on Facebook

Always enjoyed fishing the canal.

Love Bishop and the Sierras

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

My favorite place 😍🤗

We went a couple of years ago maybe 3 yrs ago what fun times we had there🤗

Beautiful

I think the big Brownies got a few of those

That's so cute.

Love that canal

Beautiful

Thank you 😊

Put any campfire completely out!

Sweet .

Be there soon

❤️😍

So many wonderful memories there!

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6 days ago

Last year... Please #RecreateResponsibly!!!Remember this from last year? The smoke was horrific, and most of the fires weren’t even right here. Please remind ANYONE that is going camping, be it here in Inyo County, or elsewhere, to PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE!!

Earlier this week Mammoth Lakes Fire Department responded to TWO different fires that started because campfires were not extinguished properly (one was a dispersed camping fire, and the other was in an area where fires are prohibited)!! It is going to be a tough year with the dry conditions, so we need to act accordingly!! Extreme fire conditions already exist. If you make a fire, please do it in a campground where there are fire pits, and make sure it is COMPLETELY out.

Please #RecreateResponsibly !!!
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Last year... Please #RecreateResponsibly!!!

Comment on Facebook

We need to stop the lightening and get rid of the power lines. No more electricity 🥰

Just everybody use common sense. And don't forget to pick up after yourselves. Leave no trace. <3

It gripes my ass when people just don't care. It doesn't take rocket science to put out a camp fire and to know how dry it is and we have international signs where people around the world know what they mean even when they can't read. They have no heart or respect for life animal's or human. I pray we don't have a repeat of last year.

It was awful, be careful out there. Be mindful of nature.

Its sound like it will be a dry summer across the west.....be careful....barb

Beautiful

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7 days ago

If you are wondering what it's looking like up Big Pine Creek, here is a shot from a couple of days ago. It is the view up the South Fork of Big Pine Creek from the North Fork trail. Thank you to Alan Haight for this stunning shot!!

We welcome you to send your beautiful photos to us in Messenger, or on Facebook or Instagram make sure to tag us #VisitBishop! Thank you!

#visitbishop #RecreateResponsibly #mindfultraveler #bigpinecreek
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If you are wondering what its looking like up Big Pine Creek, here is a shot from a couple of days ago. It is the view up the South Fork of Big Pine Creek from the North Fork trail. Thank you to Alan Haight for this stunning shot!! 

We welcome you to send your beautiful photos to us in Messenger, or on Facebook or Instagram make sure to tag us #VisitBishop! Thank you! 

#visitbishop #RecreateResponsibly #mindfultraveler #bigpinecreek

Comment on Facebook

Gosh this is beautiful!

Some of the most rugged terrain I've ever seen is up that canyon! Truly an amazing part of the Sierras.

Have hiked in this region. So beautiful

I highly recommend visiting Bishop. So much to see and do. 🤠

My old stomping grounds!💕

I LOVE BISHOP! ❤

Love the picture

Went as far as june lake

Gorgeous!

Love it there!

Beautiful

Beautiful

Beautiful!🏔

Beautiful!

Nice

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