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Bishop Visitor's Center

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir.

The annals of history are full of the reminiscences of women and men who have sought and found solitude in the mountains. Many of these individuals also found inspiration there and much of our cultural heritage stems from the wanderings and writings of these individuals.

Finding solitude and inspiration in the wilds of nature is not the sole domain of the eternal wanderers and essayists. There are moments in life when we each need a retreat to where we can find solace and joy. For many of us the natural world holds the key to renewal.

There are opportunities for the daring and the circumspect in the Eastern Sierra and many activities are done with family and friends, but most can be done solo! It is in the mountains, along the waterways, out across the plains, and in the air where one can find calm for a restless soul or quiet for an agitated mind.

Fish

Bishop is perhaps best known as a destination for world-class fishing and it is not without reason. Those who venture out here come with a passion for fishing and a great love of the outdoors. Many also seek out the camaraderie of other anglers or a chance to teach a youngster the skills and instill in them the love of the sport. The reservoirs and rivers are teeming with trout, which are stocked on a regular basis by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fishing for warm water species in the miles of canals and ponds is fast becoming a popular winter activity. Summer, however, offers the opportunity for solitude and perfection in the art of fly-fishing. Numerous trails connect the roads from town to the higher altitude lakes and creeks where the sounds of city life give way to the sounds of the forest.

Bishop Creek Canyon, little more than a 20-minute drive west of Bishop on State Route 168, affords countless opportunities to find secluded spots with relatively easy access. Venture somewhat further afield into the canyon and one becomes keenly aware of the absence of people and the sense of oneness. This brings an ability to focus on the present and enjoy the essence of nature. It is then that the pursuit of happiness and the art fishing is in total harmony.

Float

This is one of the more gentle and sublime activities to be enjoyed in the Owens Valley. The smooth-flowing, sinuous Owens River that runs down the center of this impressive valley can carry one along on a fulfilling journey of introspection. Floating the river on a tube or paddling a kayak between the 2.5 miles of straight-line distance between the put-in at the Laws Poleta road and exit at Warm Springs road yields almost 10 miles of river distance. A leisurely float takes about 3 hours. With more vigorous kayaking one could ‘ride the river’ in a much quicker time.

In summer this life-giving river creates a verdant path in a hot and arid landscape that nourishes the fauna and flora of the high desert. The birdlife along the river is abundant and quiet navigation along the sweeping curves of this waterway will afford sights, sounds and smells that are not otherwise noticeable.

Easy Like a Sunday Morning

Easy Like a Sunday Morning

Bike

Road Ride or Mountain Bike

There are miles of road and almost endless trails on which to cycle and much of it is lightly traveled. Research has shown that aside from the obvious physical benefits there are numerous cognitive benefits to cycling. It can relieve anxiety, increase stress resistance, elevate your mood, and even drive out despair. Combine this with the magnificent views of the Eastern Sierra landscape and you have a recipe for holistic rejuvenation. Whether you choose a leisurely ride alongside the river, a strenuous climb up a winding mountain pass, or a technical thrillride down a single-track trail you can find oneness with your bike, body and soul.

On a summer day in Bishop a road bike ride should coincide with sunrise – when the air is fresh and cool and the dawn of a new day reminds one of the renewal of life. A solitary early morning ride of a local favorite, the Pleasant Valley – Round Valley loop, provides the perfect balance of exercise and rhythmic meditation. This, combined with stunning views of this magnificent landscape and a closeness to nature will recharge your body and mind. The route is just over 16.5 miles of quiet country lanes and a pleasant (car free) ride along the shores of the reservoir. It has uphills and downhills, sharp corners and sweeping bends. It’s one of those rides that has a little of everything in just the right measure.

Perhaps you need to empty your mind of cluttered thinking with a high energy, technical mountain bike ride that commands your attention. The Big Buttermilk – Tungsten Loop will surely banish the blues and put a smile back on your face. At 11.4 miles long this route presents all sorts of road, trail, grade & terrain challenges. The faster you ride more technical it is, but at a slower pace the line will be less demanding. This is a loop ride so you can go it alone, but be prepared with sufficient water, snacks and repair gear for both body and bike. In summer this ride is best done at “Owens Valley” sunset – when the looming Sierra Nevada provides shade across the valley and daylight only turns to twilight hours later as the sun sinks into the Pacific many miles beyond.

Big Buttermilk-Tungsten loop

Riding the Buttermilk Tungsten Loop

Drive

One of my favorite outings as a child was to go with my dad for a ‘Sunday drive’. I did not grow up in the Eastern Sierra and so our choices were different than those I indulge in now. There was a large airport about an hours drive from my childhood home and we often went there where we could park and watch the airplanes take off and land. It was thrilling. As an adult I am still thrilled by the sight of an aircraft and I love to fly, but I am not a pilot. I have since learned to understand and appreciate the capability of a well-engineered vehicle and the opportunity to drive a car or ride a motorcycle for pure enjoyment is something that I relish.

Here in the Eastern Sierra there are so many options for putting a vehicle to the test, many of which are grueling off-road trials, that it’s probably best to attempt them with cohorts. However, if solitary endeavor with your machine is what you seek there are choices that are truly exhilarating.

One of the most beautiful roads that connects the Owens Valley with Fish Lake Valley in Nevada is State Route 168 east. It is a twisting, turning, undulating, 30-mile stretch of paved magnificence that is well suited for a ‘Sunday drive’. Whether you run on 4 wheels or 2 wheels this drive will focus your mind and energize your soul as you wind your way up and over the White Mountains. Add a side trip to this drive and go commune with ancients in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at 11,000 feet above sea level. Please observe all posted speed limit signs and watch for other road users – such as cyclists and animals.

Similarly an extensive network of over 2,200 miles of dirt road in the Inyo National Forest and access to an OHV open area on which to drive on either 4 or 2 wheels is exhilarating. Much of this, as mentioned above, may be best done with friends – principally for the sake of safety, but a less-than-epic route of a few hours alone could be just what’s needed to liberate the mind. One such route is Chidago Canyon between Chalfant, on US Highway 6 just north of Bishop, and Benton Crossing road east of Crowley Lake. The drive may not require 4×4 capability, but that does depend on seasonal conditions and recent rains. Out here it’s usually prudent to go for an off-road drive in a vehicle that’s designed for rugged conditions. If you’re headed out on two wheels then this road definitely warrants traveling on a dirt bike or dual-sport. Just note that getting to and from this canyon does require highway driving, so make sure that your vehicle is legal for whatever use you put it to.

The Bishop Tuff of Chidago Canyon

The Bishop Tuff of Chidago Canyon

Fly

Solo free flight is the ultimate expression of solitary human endeavor. The desire to fly has long been a quest of mankind. The history of hang gliding goes back far further than most people realize and is considered to be one of the oldest forms of human flight. Modern history has numerous records of successful aviators and pioneers of gliding as far back as the late 1800s, to the early attempts of Wilbur & Orville Wright, to the development of gliding as a sport after World War I, and NASA’s early space program in the late 1940s. Much of the research and success of early gliding became the basis on which powered flight was developed (as we know by the Wright brothers success at Kitty Hawk). It was not until the early 1960s that hang gliding saw a rebirth and became the ‘new’ free-flying sport that it is today. The sport still sees continued innovation with the development of paragliding in the mid-1980s and now thousands of pilots around the world participate for personal satisfaction and competitive goals.

In the 1970s the Owens Valley became the Mecca for the growing sport of hang gliding. Pilots came in search of longer flight times and greater distances and numerous cross-country records were set here. Now with the advent of flatland flying due to innovations in towing launches, the Owens Valley is the place where pilots convene to experience the thrill of big mountain foot launches and the ‘big air’ of this hot high desert valley.

This sport is definitely not for the uninitiated or faint-of-heart. “Flying the Owens” requires training and experience. Pilots seldom take to the skies alone. Launching a glider usually requires some assistance in getting to the mountain launch site, a helping hand to assist on launch if conditions are strong, and retrieval from landing. However, once you are airborne … you’re on your own. Even though pilots frequently fly in groups so that thermals can be ‘spotted’ and radio communications are maintained for awareness and safety, long stretches of flying are done in complete quiet.

This is the essence of solitude – human powered free flight.

Flying the Owens

Find out more!

Whether you just want a quiet, contemplative walk in the woods or a physical and emotional challenge it is important to be prepared. Especially if you intend to go alone! Plan your excursion so that you reap the rewards of your solitary experience and return safely to your family and friends with renewed spirits.

Stop by the Bishop Visitors center at 690 N. Main Street to find out more about these activities and where to go to find your solitude.

Check out the Digital Bishop Visitor Guide!

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4 days ago

❤️Today, we wish you warmth and love wherever you are! ❤️
(Oh, and thoughts of fun and relaxation in the Eastern Sierra!!)
Great photo @sawna
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard
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❤️Today, we wish you warmth and love wherever you are! ❤️
(Oh, and thoughts of fun and relaxation in the Eastern Sierra!!)
Great photo @sawna 
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard

Comment on Facebook

There is no way its that warm yet in Bishop. I Live in Sonoma County and its too cold here for a sleeveless shirt or shorts.

Beautiful, so beautiful 😊😊❤❤

How gorgeous!

I love Bishop been going there ever since I was 10 years old now 61

Oh how I miss this Chris Schock

Minerets. Ice burg lake.

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5 days ago

Are we missing anything?? 😉 ... See MoreSee Less

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...and just yesterday I came across a box of old Bishop Mule Day pins that had belonged to my Grandmother Ina Piper. Some from the early 50s. I Love Bishop.

Mahogany smoked meats for some jerky!! 🤤

That’s a big Amen! All of the above! Except someone would be out of their mind to jump into a lake.

Don't forget the Bakery !!!! We took home so much ,,,it was wonderful .

Laws Museum. Pull off on any side road in the Valley and walk. Look at the mountains. Breathe. Listen to the quiet.

Lunch & a Margarita @ LaCocina in Bishop !! & dont forget a stop @ Rossis in Big Pine on way up 395 or on your way home !! Stop you wont want to miss but check their days & hours open as they vary !! Mikes getting independent in his young age !! Did i say young ? meant well preserved !! Al the Sierras are a fun stop ENJOY your stay !!!

Visit the Bakery, hike to Blue Lake, and eat some delicious soup at the bowling alley before you play a bowl a game or two.

Get a chocolate dipped cone at the frosty chalet in big pine!

Awwwwww! Just replace the noun with any other small California city!

Visit Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site! Bonus, on Wednesdays and Thursdays volunteers in the mining display put on a great show.

The entire trip was breath-taking and beautiful! We loved the snow, and I can't wait to experience the other seasons in this gorgeous place! My brother Adrian's spirit was guiding us throughout the entire trip! 💜💛➕

Mahogany’s meats!!! The jerky ! Omg soooo good!

On our way in June : Fish for the lunker in Concuct Camp out at Silver Lake Hike up Yost Creek Check out the Mighty Bristlecone😎👍

Maybe missing, while visiting the Eastern Sierra, please dispose of all your litter responsibly.

Have a beer in Rusty’s saloon and a burger at the barn.

Be a great human and pick up someone’s trash while fishing the Owens River

God willing We will be fishing in Rock creek this July

Visit my brother who works for the Forest Service. One of those great guys who tries to keep everything up and running for the masses 😍

In other words, kinda like I do several times every year.

My kids and I always cleaned up when we went fishing there. People have no respect and leave their trash without thinking about if.

Stay at Parchers Resort and fish at South Lake. 🌲🎣

Hike, of course!

Can you do all this stuff right now in February?

Stand along Owens River at sunset

That is one heck of a list!

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6 days ago

River therapy 😍
Video thanks to @wil.daniels
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard
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Comment on Facebook

I could sit and fish right there ALL DAY!!

I Love 💕 to go back one of these days. It is Awesome there.

I just visited last weekend, and it was this beautiful! I want to go back hopefully soon! ➕💛💜

Life goals is to one day go fishing with you in my beloved Bishop, CA ! Stephen Bishop

Love being in bishop and in the eastern Sierras. Fishing and backcountry is pretty awesome. Jacks is good too.

Best time of year to fish for those beautiful wild browns. Blue wing Olive's can come off early afternoon and it is a blast. Love this river!!!

beautiful! I really like going there because its so beautiful!

Love the breeze blowing through he grass.

I need to get there . Hopefully sometime in April

Love this, I could sit here all day!

Cheryl Kimsey Killian that looks so Awesome and Relaxing. I would Love 💕 to be there.

I've spent a lot of time in Bishop.... On Horseback and skis.

Beautiful place

Beautiful picture 😊😊❤❤

So beautiful

I can stare at this all day!

Looks so peaceful!

Owens river... we are from Bishop ...

Gorgeous view

Gorgeous!!!

Nice fishing spot!

Miss this !!

Thanks for posting this

Beautiful

Is that the Owens River

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1 week ago

Fishing around here sure is magical ✨
Thanks for the shot, @miss.outside
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard
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Fishing around here sure is magical ✨
Thanks for the shot, @miss.outside
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard

Comment on Facebook

Hey, there I was, 40 yrs. ago! Well,almost like me, uh,I had a fishing pole and a dog😗🤣😂🤣🤣

Hey....I haven't seen this girl on the river? Must of been at the wrong place! Lol

Beautiful picture 😊😊❤❤

Jerry Machue can’t wait to get back up to Bishop! ♥️

Nice!

Love this picture! She has the magic wand.

The best girls fish!

Nice

Alexandra Coyote-Phoenix

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