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It’s not a secret, but it certainly is a best-kept area – especially for camping. Bishop Creek Canyon is a large area of about 30 square miles where the North, Middle, and South Forks of Bishop Creek drain down toward the Owens Valley. At the head of each fork is a large lake, North Lake, Lake Sabrina at middle, and South Lake and numerous other smaller lakes lie along these creeks.

The area is managed under the auspices of the US Forest Service (USFS) and it maintains 12 campgrounds along the roads that lead up to these lakes. With a range of sizes and services these campgrounds offer a great variety of camping in exquisitely beautiful settings.

Within as little as 13 miles from Bishop to the furthest only 20 miles away this canyon, the surrounding mountains, and alpine forests will give you the feeling of being worlds away. Easy access to stream and lake fishing is a big draw for visitors and locals alike and yet solitude is also easy to find. Numerous trailheads begin in this canyon where you can truly get away from the pressures of daily life and into the adjacent wilderness.

Each season holds a promise of something adventurous and exciting, but the summer months are when this canyon delivers nature at its most rapturous. The air is cool up here, the wildflowers blossom much later than in the valley, and on a cloudless night the sky is as brilliant as a fireworks display. The forest creatures allow us a grudging intrusion into their world and it is important that you are “bear aware”.

There are few basic rules to know and follow when camping in the Bishop Creek Canyon area:

  • Camp only in designated camping areas.
  • All food must be secured overnight and when not attended, bear boxes are provided and must be used (typical bear box size 48″ x 30″ x 36″).
  • Always keep a clean camp and do not feed wildlife.
  • Pets must be on a leash at all times.
  • Overnight wilderness trips require a wilderness permit. Find out more here.

Here is an overview of all the USFS campgrounds in this area so you can choose just the right place for you, your family, or large group. Download this handy guide to keep with you. Click on each campground heading for a link to more specifics on that campground.

BISHOP CREEK CANYON

Bitterbrush Campground

Just 13 miles from Bishop this is the first campground you’ll come to. As it is frequently below the snow line or only has minimal amounts of snow it is open year round. Drinking water is available and 2 vault toilets are easily accessible. Bins are provided for trash and serviced during the summer months.

There are 30 campsites and most will accommodate 2 vehicles or a tow vehicle with trailer. The sites are wide, clear and level and each has a bear proof food storage container.

Campground usage is light and it’s a super spot to escape the summer heat of the valley. It’s near town, alongside Bishop creek and close to the trailheads that take you into the wilderness.

Big Trees Campground

As the road climbs up the mountainside it offers a birds eye view down to this campground and still the tops of Jeffrey Pines growing in the campground are at driver’s eye level. It is for these large, magnificent trees that this campground is named.

It is a popular campground with some sites in the cool shade and others in open sunlight. It offers 16 campsites, drinking water, trash service, one flush toilet and one vault toilet.

Still close enough to Bishop, just 14 miles from the center of town, this campground nestled in this deep canyon affords one the luxury of space, an alpine environment, a fast flowing stream stocked with trout, and quiet nights under a bright canopy of stars.

Looking down on Big Trees Campground

Looking down on Big Trees Campground

BISHOP CREEK SOUTH FORK

Forks Campground

Situated near the junction of Middle Fork and South Fork of Bishop Creek this campground has 21 sites available during the summer season. From Highway 168 about 15 miles from Bishop turn left onto South Lake Road and almost immediately turn right into Forks Campground.

The sites here also offer a mix of shade and sun with some tucked under tall pines and quaking aspen. Forks is just a short walk to Intake 2, along the banks of Bishop Creek Middle Fork, where fish are plentiful. A large rocky outcrop is perfect for practicing beginner rock scrambling and climbing skills.

If you’re looking for a day outing in the mountains this campground also has picnic spots for day users.

Four Jeffrey Campground

This campground boasts 106 sites most with spectacular views across the canyon. Many of the sites are long enough to accommodate even the largest of RVs. The pads are clear and level and the sites spacious. Some offer shade and many are very suitable for tent camping. Located along Bishop Creek South Fork this campground is open seasonally, by the last weekend in April, and some sites may be reserved in advance.

Although large, Four Jeffrey still has a wonderful secluded feeling. The campsites are stepped up the hillside and the campground is fairly well hidden from the road view by thickets of aspen and pinions.

Large site at Four Jeffrey Campground

Large site at Four Jeffrey Campground

Mountain Glen Campground

If solitude is what you’re after this is the campground for you. Just 5 campsites are perfectly spaced in a grove of aspen and willows. Parking is limited and sites are suited for tent camping only. Each site has a bear proof food storage locker and picnic table. The campground has one vault toilet. With just the bare necessities this is where you could prepare yourself for a wilderness hike or unwind from the complexity of city life.

The campground is open seasonally and at the time of publishing this article the campground was not yet open.

Table Mountain Group Campground

A short walk from the parking area along South Lake road is a beautiful walk-in, tent only group campground. Available by prior reservation only it accommodates up to 25 campers. One vault toilet is provided, but all drinking water should be carried in or filtered from the creek.

The site is set among aspen and Jeffrey pine on the banks of Bishop Creek South Fork with a broad meadow opposite. The nearby trailheads take hikers to Tyee, Green, Brown, Treasure Lakes and the Chocolate Lake loop on the Bishop Pass trail.

Wild Irisies about to bloom in Table Mountain Group Campground

Wild Irises about to bloom in Table Mountain Group Campground

Willow Campground

This is another small campground and the last place you will come to where overnight camping is allowed before reaching South Lake at 9,768’ above sea level (ASL). Willow campground has 8 campsites and is not recommended for RVs and trailers. Here too one vault toilet is maintained for campers and water should be brought in or filtered from the stream.

The campsite is set at little back from South Lake road and a 2-mile trail connects the campground to the Bishop Pass trailhead at South Lake. This campground is open seasonally for summer and was not yet open at the time of publishing.

BISHOP CREEK MIDDLE FORK

Intake 2 Campground

16 Miles from Bishop on Highway 168 toward Lake Sabrina is a small and very popular fishing lake – Intake 2.

Frequented by day visitors this recreation area has a number of lovely picnic sites and two small campgrounds. Lower Intake 2 is a small walk-in campground on the west shore of the lake with 5 sites available for tent camping. Less than ¼ mile further along the lake drive is Upper Intake 2, which has 11 campsites best suited for small vehicles. The sites are secluded and shaded and facilities include flush toilets, drinking water, and trash removal.

This lake is the lowest in elevation (at 8,103’) in Bishop Creek Canyon and is managed by Southern California Edison. It is well stocked for the fishing season and provides wheelchair access for fishing.

Picnic table at Intake 2

Picnic table at Intake 2

Bishop Park Group Campground

The large parking area for this group campground is just beyond the drive for Intake 2 and overlooks the Bishop Creek Middle Fork here. The camping area is accessible by a set of rough-hewn stairs where the site accommodates up to 25 campers in tents only. Drinking water, flush toilets, picnic tables, 2 bear proof storage containers, and fire rings are provided at the site.

Reservations are required at least 4 days in advance with a two night minimum stay over weekends. Up to 8 vehicles are allowed in the parking area and no camping in RVs is allowed in the lot.

Bishop Park Campground

This is one of the most popular campgrounds in Bishop Creek Canyon. There are 21 campsites with most being best suited to tent camping with walk-in access. A few can accommodate vehicles, but large RVs and trailers are not recommended. The sites are situated right alongside the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek and some are large and grassy. Amenities include flush toilets, drinking water and trash removal. Bear proof food storage units and picnic tables are provided at each site.

Almost directly across from the group site this campground is connected to the mountain community of Aspendell along Bishop Creek Camp road to Cataract road at the south end of the little town. Cardinal Village Resort, at the north end of town, has a quaint general store and lovely café for some special treats. The village maintains a picturesque pond where kids can safely, and likely successfully, cast for trophy trout.

Sabrina Campground

The last campground along Highway 168 before you reach the lake itself at 9,128’ ASL is Sabrina Campground. It is about three miles downstream of the lake and has 18 campsites. Most of these are alongside the creek and offer a mix of sun and shade. The majority are best suited or reserved for tent camping and a few will accommodate RVs.

Half a mile beyond the North Lake road turn-off is the entrance to the campground. This drive does connect to the North Lake road, but larger vehicles will have easier access and better ability to turn around by entering from the southern end.

As with all the USFS campgrounds in this canyon bear proof storage units and picnic tables are provided. The other services here are vault toilets, drinking water, and trash removal. At the time of publication this campground was not open.

Fish Planting at Sabrina Campground

Fish Planting at Sabrina Campground

BISHOP CREEK NORTH FORK

North Lake Campground

Situated above the highest of the lakes in this canyon the North Lake campground is accessed via a partially paved, partially gravel road that twists and climbs its way up the side of the mountain to North Lake (9,350’ ASL). Tall Jeffrey and Lodgepole pines grow abundantly in this cool, shady campground.

Parking at the campground is reserved for paid campers only and some of the 11 sites have parking at their respective sites, while others are a short walk in. Trailers and RVs are prohibited at this campground. Parking for day visitors and overnight wilderness hikers is available at North Lake.

Campers are requested to pack out all trash as no bins or removal service is provided here. Drinking water, a vault toilet, and bear proof storage bins are provided.

OTHER LODGING

In addition to these beautifully situated and excellently maintained campgrounds there are a number of lovely resorts, outfitters and commercial services in the Bishop Creek Canyon area. More about these in another blog post.

  • Creekside RV Park
  • Bishop Creek Lodge & Resort
  • Parchers Resort
  • Rainbow Pack Outfitters
  • Bishop Pack Outfitters
  • Cardinal Village Resort
  • Lake Sabrina Boat Landing & Café

DIRECTIONS AND OTHER INFO

Highway 168 – Line Street west will take you up into the Bishop Creek Canyon wonderland. About 15 miles from town a left turn will take you alongside the South Fork and deposit you in the parking lot at South Lake. Beyond the turn-off for South Lake the road winds through Aspendell and up a steep grade to the turn-off for North Lake. Further on the road becomes narrower and terminates at Lake Sabrina. The two main roads, Highway 168 – Line Street and South Lake Road are paved and in very good condition. The drive up to North Lake is a little less so and quite steep in places.

Before you head up into the mountains stop in at our Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N Main Street. Our friendly, helpful staff can answer your questions and provide maps to help you plan the best possible camping adventure.

Day hikes in the area do not require permits, but should you need a permit for overnight wilderness trips pop on down to the US Forest Service office just half a block north of us on Main Street.

Happy Camping!

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2 days ago

This is Bishop from the Tungsten Hills looking east. Our little town is almost like an island. We have to travel hours to do most major shopping, or for any major medical issues. For most of us, it is absolutely worth it because we love the Eastern Sierra and although our town is small, our “backyard” is big and full of majestic natural beauty. We know many of you who live far away love this place as well. ❤️

So as you are making holiday plans this year, please remember to protect the people and places you love to play in. We appreciate it!!

Photo by Betsy Forsyth Johnson
#keepbishopsafe
... See MoreSee Less

This is Bishop from the Tungsten Hills looking east. Our little town is almost like an island. We have to travel hours to do most major shopping, or for any major medical issues. For most of us, it is absolutely worth it because we love the Eastern Sierra and although our town is small, our “backyard” is big and full of majestic natural beauty. We know many of you who live far away love this place as well. ❤️

So as you are making holiday plans this year, please remember to protect the people and places you love to play in. We appreciate it!! 

Photo by Betsy Forsyth Johnson
#keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

We were campground hosts at Mammoth & went to Bishop for nice dinners on our days off, get haircuts, do laundry & see dentist. Enjoyed Bishop Mule Days too.. Besutiful area to spend the summer... Had to edit & add Schat's Bakery 💞💞

My first trip to Bishop was 57 years ago and have been back more years than not. I plan to keep coming back until my legs can’t walk the trails anymore. It’s truly a special place.

Wish I could be there. Great place to do star watching. Seem to be extra stars in the sky over there. Wishing you all the best for the holidays. Wish that bakery could deliver. So yummy. Stay well. <3

Loved growing up in Bishop, many fond memories there! I bet the town has changed since 75, but never the scenery!

One of my favorite places to camp don't how many times I've been there but I've been a bunch of times love it over 30times

I love it too! Grew up in Big Pine, worked in Bishop and Big Pine! 😊

best town I ever lived in

A place and time far far away! A place named Bishop, where I was born.

Take care! Hope to see you again next year!

Lived in early 50’s I lived in a mine camp Sheelite till the mud slide, moved to Rovanna To a mine housing . Parents bought a house in Tungsten City, up behind Rocking K Ranch, attended school in Round Valley Lots of memory In the area

Maybe you need to stop Blaming people that travel to the Eastern Sierra for your local problems. Its not really that small of a town and With the tax you get from tourism build a real medical facility and hospital!

My Dad grew up in Bishop, he actually worked at the Tungsten mines for awhile before heading to El Paso to go to college. Then the war started and he joined the Army Air Corps . I spent many a summers staying with my grandma Duffy, playing with my cousins in that magical place. Still my favorite place on earth.

Best place to grow up ‼️

Bishop is always one of our stopping points if we're visiting Yosemite and Death Valley. Bishop Creek Canyon, Rock Creek Canyon, Schats Bakery, Jacks, Spellbinder Books, Whiskey Creek- all previous haunts. Once normal travel arrangements return, we'll be back to visit one of our favourite places in the USA.

I know this viewpoint........magic.

I really miss Bishop and the Owens valley.....

Lived at Hilltop Estates/ Swall Meadows for quite a few years in the late 70’s to the early 80’s. Only place in California that keeps me coming back every couple years.

We would love to move there! Love the area.

Thank you for the words and picture you are blessed to live there xo

Our favorite place to go. Always come to the car show.

Home🇺🇸

To bad its in commiefornia. Love bishop

I remember Lone Pine too. Loved it

Small Town, Big Back Yard. 🥰

One of my favorite places on earth

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5 days ago

Flashback to Main Street, 1886. Who would like to escape to this scene?

#LoveBishop #historicbishop
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Flashback to Main Street, 1886. Who would like to escape to this scene?

#LoveBishop #historicbishop

Comment on Facebook

I will take 1986. Had a cool uncle living there. Free lodging, and his Land Cruiser was available for deep snow drives.

Heck no...especially after I saw the video on "the old western hygiene". Talk about funk and stink! Whew, even the women stunk! Man-o-man....plus add on disease, diet and doctoring! Nope...lol 😆

I wonder if they still had to pose to get the exposure by 1886. Probably not.

Hmmm...1886 in Owens Valley? Was there a Sheriff? Or just a bunch of gun toting fools on horseback.

might be a sale but I will think it is a Halter class in the middle of the street and that will make me happy

Love that picture

I would love it. 🙏❤️🙏

I see Rusty’s!! Lol

It would be hard an cold but very free it would be something to go back in time

Every horse looks so healthy (extra shiny coat).... all that great pasture of the area > Owens Valley!

No thank you. I love Bishop, but I can't imagine living there without AC or a swamp cooler. lol

Even tho these days were hard ,they were free to enjoy great days.

Life was harder back then but better in My opinion.

Looks like a stock sale. If it were today, I would call it a horse show.

A busy place!

Early "Mule Days"?

I would buy that Appaloosa .

I would escape in a second :)

great pic

Right on

Can we visit but not stay?

Me

Great picture

Me toooooooo

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7 days ago

Ahhhh, we sure love sunsets in the Eastern Sierra!! 😍

Photo by John Paul DeRousseau
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Ahhhh, we sure love sunsets in the Eastern Sierra!! 😍

Photo by John Paul DeRousseau

Comment on Facebook

An amazing picture of a beautiful sky. Thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

The dinosaurs are still around when you see the sky like that

Hermoso,Bishop calf.

Awesome

Felicidades yerandi que tela pases muy vien

The ponds. Nice

I'm ready to FISH

Wow

Fantastic!

That's the sky color of snow on the way!! Lovely😍😘🐈😷

That is amazing beautiful blue sky I like winn you took that picture of the amazing beautiful blue sky

Amazing picture to put up on a wall

Gorgeous photo!

Wonderful!

So beautiful!

Beautiful

Beautiful

Beautiful!!

Beautiful

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1 week ago

Just an FYI. Seems fire season is still not over.
MONO COUNTY —U.S. Highway 395 in Mono County Due remains closed from Emigrant Street in Bridgeport to the Nevada State Line due to a wildfire in Walker Canyon. The fire has reached 20,800 plus acres and claimed 80 structures. It is unclear how long this section of the highway will be closed.

Drivers heading northbound on U.S. Hwy 395 should detour to either U.S. Hwy 6 just north of Bishop to NV360 to US 95 or State Route 182 in Bridgeport to Nevada 338. Southbound traffic from Nevada should detour to U.S. Hwy 95 to NV360 to U.S. Hwy 6 or Nevada 208 to Nevada 338 to State Route 182.
roads.dot.ca.gov/

This photo is from 9/11/2020 near Bishop... if you weren't here, the smoke was HORRIBLE!
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Just an FYI. Seems fire season is still not over. 
MONO COUNTY —U.S. Highway 395 in Mono County Due remains closed from Emigrant Street in Bridgeport to the Nevada State Line due to a wildfire in Walker Canyon. The fire has reached 20,800 plus acres and claimed 80 structures. It is unclear how long this section of the highway will be closed.

Drivers heading northbound on U.S. Hwy 395 should detour to either U.S. Hwy 6 just north of Bishop to NV360 to US 95 or State Route 182 in Bridgeport to Nevada 338. Southbound traffic from Nevada should detour to U.S. Hwy 95 to NV360 to U.S. Hwy 6 or Nevada 208 to Nevada 338 to State Route 182.
https://roads.dot.ca.gov/

This photo is from 9/11/2020 near Bishop... if you werent here, the smoke was HORRIBLE!

Comment on Facebook

Hoping for an end to this nightmare. Time for some real rain and snow. Be safe. <3

Blah blah anything from keeping people away ! Come on people clear road a little hazy try and drive back east ! Quit whining!

We used to always camp with my parents at Bridgeport or Topaz lake years ago.

Tanner Ernst

Oh no!

These fires are never ending! Be safe.

Y'all stay safe!

Wow!

🙏🏻

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1 week ago

How many of you love to take pictures when you visit Bishop and the surrounding areas? With large amounts of open space, stunning scenery and ample wildlife, it might be the perfect place to work on your composition and skills.

Make sure to ready this blog article about photography here in the Eastern Sierra:
www.bishopvisitor.com/4-fabulous-photography-features/

With COVID-19 on the rise, we ask you to please protect the places and communities where we play. Stay SAFE outside.
#loveBishop #keepbishopsafe

Photo by @leviaguilera_photography
... See MoreSee Less

How many of you love to take pictures when you visit Bishop and the surrounding areas? With large amounts of open space, stunning scenery and ample wildlife, it might be the perfect place to work on your composition and skills.

Make sure to ready this blog article about photography here in the Eastern Sierra: 
https://www.bishopvisitor.com/4-fabulous-photography-features/

With COVID-19 on the rise, we ask you to please protect the places and communities where we play. Stay SAFE outside. 
#loveBishop #keepbishopsafe 

Photo by @leviaguilera_photography

Comment on Facebook

Your Bishop is on my list of places I want to visit when all of this is over.

Love the contrast....... nice photo of wild nature!

Mule (deer) Capital of the World!😄

Where is this?great picture

Nice!

Awesome

Beautiful deer

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