Grass Lake Loop – Trail Running | Bishop Visitor Information Center
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In the Inyo National Forest, one trail is quietly becoming a great training run for trail runners in the greater Bishop Area. Known as the Grass Lake Loop, this 5k running route is the ideal loop for training, or just a relaxing jaunt into the gorgeous John Muir Wilderness. Full of water, forests and the occasional sweeping vista, the run goes straight through gorgeous terrain and leads to some of the nation’s most pristine scenery. Once you are out at Grass Lake, you can stop and enjoy the glacial fed waters, continue further on the area trails, or return back to the car to complete the journey.

What Makes It Great

Starting out, the run to Grass Lake looks like any other adventure in the wilderness around Bishop. In the distance, tall mountains loom, sending torrents of water down creeks, cascades, and lakes, while scenic views and picturesque forests await your steady stride. With each step, you gain a little bit of elevation, sometimes steep enough to force a quick walking pace instead of a run. The run to Grass Lake is the fantastic example of accessibility in the wilderness, as this well-maintained trail will get you in shape—both physically and mentally.

The 3.1-mile loop run starts at the northwest side of North Lake, near the pack station. Running from here to the actual trail is less than half a mile, making for a good warmup before you start the hills of the trail. After a mile on the trail, you will hit a creek, which is the first real obstacle of this loop. Work your way over fallen logs to get across the creek, but be careful—the logs may be slick after wetter weather. Once you get past the logs and creek, Grass Lake will come into view.

To complete the loop, stay on the north side of the lake, working your way along the shore until you come across another trail, heading north (back in the direction you came from). The trail is usually pretty obvious, but if you are uncomfortable in finding the second part of the trail, you can do the run to Grass Lake as an out-and-back along the main trail.

Who is Going to Love It

The run is for just about anyone who enjoys trail running, but is ideal as a way to dust off the cobwebs or to restart your trail running regimen. More advanced trail runners can use it as an extended loop run, either exploring further up the trails, or returning to the car as an aid station between loops. The trail is not too steep, but will still work your legs enough to give you a little burn while allowing extended moments of recovery. As a dog-friendly trail, this is also a good way to work out both you and your pooch in gorgeous scenery.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Head west out of Bishop on Highway 168, head toward Lake Sabrina and North Lake campground to the John Muir Wilderness. Parking for the Grass Lake and Lamarck Lake trails is found on far end of lake, near the pack horse area.

Featured image provided by Dustin Blakey

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3 days ago

Love these historic photos from Tales Along El Camino Sierra.Two great photos from the tallest peak in the lower 48. 1-Visitors enjoying trip to the Alabama Hills with majestic Mt. Whitney looming behind them. Photo 2-A group on horseback back when horses were allowed to go all the way to the summit. This Frasher photo postcard is from the 1930s. ... See MoreSee Less

Love these historic photos from Tales Along El Camino Sierra.


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We miss the inyo county! So much to see and experience!

Great book.

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3 days ago

We really like this concept - why limit yourself to just summer vacations? Bishop is a great destination year-round! Thanks for the shout-out, Visit USA Parks .Let's dismiss the idea of a "summer vacation", shall we? How about a "winter vacation"?! Bishop, California has so much to offer the off-season traveler: from great outdoor recreation, mild weather, unique shops and restaurants, and interesting attractions. Visit Bishop in the off-season and enjoy an inexpensive vacation, away from the crowds and packed with great experiences! #visitbishop #ThisIsMyRoute #VisitUSAParks ... See MoreSee Less

We really like this concept - why limit yourself to just summer vacations? Bishop is a great destination year-round! Thanks for the shout-out, Visit USA Parks .


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I'm thinking of getting away in Bishop starting Christmas Day (Creekside Inn, of course!) but wondering what restaurants would be open Christmas Day in Bishop.

Having lived there for 10 years, totally agree! So much to do and explore!

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5 days ago

Railroad Express is fun for the whole family! The annual Railroad Express has come and gone - we wait all year for this event and POOF! Over for another year. Tag us in your photos - you'll find us at @visitbishop here, on Instagram, and on Twitter. ... See MoreSee Less

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