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Bishop Visitor's Center

I had the distinct pleasure of doing a motor tour with Joe Pollini of the Bishop Visitor Information Center (visitbishop) a couple of weeks ago. We started in Bishop, at the Visitor Center next to Bishop City Park, made our way up West Line Street to Buttermilk Road, then backtracked a bit to Ed Powers Road and out to Round Valley. We included just a couple of brief side trips up Pine Creek Canyon and on the Owens River Gorge Road before heading back to town on the highway.

This is a tour you can easily do in a morning or an afternoon. We recommend stopping by one of our friendly coffee houses for you favorite beverage before heading out on this pleasant loop, and it never hurts to throw a pair of sturdy shoes in the car in case you decide to explore a little more on foot.

Part 1.

From U.S. 395 (or Main Street) in Bishop, you’ll want to head west on Line Street and once you get past the main part of town you’ll see Manor Market on the left, and Cerro Coso Community College, also on the left. Shortly after you pass the college, be on the lookout for a large mosaic historical landmark on your left.

photo of battleground historical monument

This monument marks a moment of conflict between the original inhabitants of this land, the Paiute and Shoshone tribes, and the newly arrived settlers. You can look back out over the valley and the city of Bishop from this vantage point, and to the west see the road that leads up to Bishop Creek Canyon and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Back on the road and heading west for just a little while longer, be on the watch for Buttermilk Road on the right. Turn off on to Buttermilk Road and park to the side so you can get out of your vehicle and take a good look around.

photo of white historical marker for Buttermilk Road

Standing at the monument and looking at the Sierra Nevada mountains, you’ll see Basin Mountain on the left and Mt. Tom on the right. Behind Basin Mountain lies Mt. Humphreys. You’ll have a clear view of Horton Canyon, and remember it as you may want to hike all the way to Horton Lakes in the summer. At the base of the mountains and, roughly north of where you are standing, are the Tungsten Hills. Now a popular horseback riding, running, mountain biking, and ORV destination; the hills were named for the Tungsten Mines that flourished between 1910 and 1915. Looking to the northeast, you can see the Volcanic Tablelands and Chalk Bluffs, made up of Bishop Tuff and deposited there by a catastrophic event about 760,000 years ago when the Long Valley Caldera exploded.

Part 2.

When you are ready, head back down Line Street (east) to Ed Powers Road, and take a left. Take Ed Powers almost to U.S. 395, and turn left on Millpond Road. Follow Millpond Road past Millpond Equestrian Center and Millpond Recreation Area, and make another left on Sawmill Road. Sawmill Road was named for the sawmill that used to supply wood for the mines, and was located where Millpond Recreation Area is now.

Sawmill Road meanders through Round Valley and is a great place to look for Mule Deer during the winter months, when the herd is down from the mountains. We recommend heading up to Horton Creek Campground and getting out of the car to look around, perhaps for deer and other wildlife. Horton Creek Campground is a popular camping spot in the summer months for climbers because it is close to both the Buttermilk Boulders and the Owens River Gorge, both world-class climbing areas.

Back on Sawmill Road, you’ll pass the Arcularius Ranch and one of the last of the old corn cribs. You might also spot deer grazing in the pastures with the cows, and see some wintering mules and horses.

photo of an old corn crib

photo of old silo in Round Valley pasture

Part 3.

When you get to Pine Creek Road, consider a side trip up the canyon (checking road conditions first, especially after recent snowstorms). You’ll pass the small community of Rovana, which was built to house the miners and their families when the Pine Creek Mine was in operation. For an education trip back memory lane, check out the Eastern California Museum video on the  tungsten mine.

mule deer by the side of the road

A bit further west up Pine Creek Road is another climbing area you’ll spot to the right, the Pine Canyon Crags. You’ll have to pull off the road and hike a bit to get close to this fascinating area, but it is worth the effort.

a deep cleft in the mountains

At this point you can turn around and follow our route, or continue on up the road to view more of the spectacular canyon and get a glimpse of the mine (which is closed now, and off-limits to visitors). In the summer months, Pine Creek Pack Station operates near the end of the road and offers pack trips into the wilderness above.

Part 4.

If you follow our route, we headed east on Pine Creek Road and crossed over U.S. 395 on to the Gorge Road, and at the “T” turned left (north). We traveled along the graded dirt road keeping an eye on the huge pipe that carries water from the Sierra to Los Angeles, and just after the pipe disappears underground, you’ll find a road to the right. Take that just a short ways to a parking area above the Owens River Gorge. Click here to watch a short video of Joe describing the hike and the area.

view of horseshoe bend from above

You’ll want to stay and explore, but we had to hop back on to U.S. 395 south and head back to work… we hope you’ll stop by, get more accurate mileage from Joe or one of our other knowledgeable hosts (and perhaps even more information & tips on what to see and where to go), and stay tuned for the next VisitBishop motor tour!

 

 

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1 day ago

Hmmmmm... thinking about all of the things I'm grateful for...
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!

Photo by Instagram user @pardonmyfrencheee
#keepbishopsafe #Thanksgiving2020
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Hmmmmm... thinking about all of the things Im grateful for...
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!

Photo by Instagram user @pardonmyfrencheee
#keepbishopsafe #Thanksgiving2020

Comment on Facebook

FWIW, it's interesting that "Visit Bishop" posts a photo of scenery that's 60 miles away. Just sayin'... but I love this photo! <3

Adorable.....just like Bishop! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone❤️🦃🍁

What a great photo !!

Great picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤🦃🦃

Happy Thanksgiving!

See you soon!

Shana Gordon

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1 day ago

Members of the Emmy-award winning CBS show “One Day at a Time” and state health expert Dr. Diana Ramos share important tips and information on how to have safe family holidays in the time of COVID-19. Check it out!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

youtu.be/Tn0VVFnHSkQ (English)
youtu.be/0QCmyWRhF_A (Spanish)
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3 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!

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.

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.

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. 🥰

Can I have a friend request please

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6 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

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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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1 week 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

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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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