Bishop Visitor Logo

Bishop Visitor's Center

Intro

The Owens River Gorge is a massive collection of some of the finest sport climbing that California has to offer. With over 300 routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.13, this crag has something for everyone. The rock in the Owens River Gorge is a type of volcanic tuff local to the region, which makes for a hard, compressed rock that has settled in a variety of formations. You’ll find everything from pockets to flakes, and even a few chimneys thrown in for good measure. The majority of the routes in the gorge are near-vertical, with some notable steeper selections such as the Eldorado Roof which hosts five classic routes (rated 5.11 and higher).

What Makes It Great

In order to best navigate the gorge, we’ve divided it into three sections with some classic route options for each.

The Lower Gorge: Despite the easier approach, this area sees less traffic than other parts of the gorge. Although some would argue that the presence of the power plant detract from the atmosphere somewhat, there is a good selection of routes here.
– Watch for Rocks, 5.8, Warning Signs
– Director’s Cut, 5.10a, Big Tower
– Timeless, 5.10d, Warning Signs
– Warning Signs, 5.10d, Warning Signs
– Flashflood, 5.12b, Penstock Rock

The Central Gorge: This is one of the most well-trafficked areas, and can occasionally feel crowded. However, this area also boasts a ton of great routes from 5.8-5.11, most of which are closely set, so if you’re looking to get a lot of laps done, this will be the place for you. Highly popular areas include The Warm Up Wall, The Social Platform, and The Pub Wall.
– Babushka, 5.8, Warm Up Wall
– Abitarot, 5.9, Pub Wall
– Hardly Wallbanger, 5.10c, Pub Wall
– Sendero Luminoso, 5.10b R, Solarium
– Expressway, 5.11b, Social Platform

Upper Gorge: The upper gorge is a little narrower and more winding than the lower sections, and offers a good selection of moderate climbs. However, for the hard charging climbers, this section of the gorge offers a large selection of 5.11 and 5.12 climbing. Another benefit of this gorge is that the winding narrow walls face all different directions, making it possible to chase shade all day long.
– For Patricia 5.7+ PG13, Upper Elbow Room
– Slip n’ Slide, 5.9, Lower Elbow Room
– Lava Haul, 5.10a, Flavin Haven
– Wacked Scenario, 5.10b, Gorgeous Towers
– Flex Your Head, 5.11c, Gotham City

Who is Going to Love It

If you’re looking for a climbing area that’s well-bolted, and offers a climbs for a wide range of abilities, then this might just be your crag. The close proximity to town, as well as the potential for year-round climbing, might convince you to give up the climber dirtbag lifestyle and set up permanent residence in Bishop.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Leave Bishop, head north on Highway 395 for 12 miles, then turn right onto Gorge Rd and follow this to a T intersection. To stay on Gorge Rd turn left, follow this road until you reach the parking area where you want to start climbing.

There are three options when it comes to starting your day, the first parking area is 3.3 miles down the road at a fork, park there and head left, following the paved road about a mile. The middle area is 4.8 miles down the road, where climbers will approach through a steep gully, requiring some class 2-3 scrambling. Finally, the third and final parking area, commonly known as the Upper Gorge, is 6.4 miles from the 395 intersection on upper Power Plant Rd, and like the middle pull-out requires climbers to scramble down a 3rd class gully.

Featured image provided by Jonathan Fox

Coronavirus Special Message

Check out the Digital Bishop Visitor Guide!

Archived Stories

Tell us:

Follow Us on Instagram

Join Us on Facebook!

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

This message is only visible to site admins
Problem displaying Facebook posts. Backup cache in use.

Error: Error validating access token: The user has not authorized application 1332798716823516.
Type: OAuthException

5 days ago

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist
... See MoreSee Less

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
https://californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist

Comment on Facebook

Wow... been a good long while since I’ve been to Bishop. Their high school team was in our league (I went to Tehachapi High) and we traveled there for some football games — something like a 5-6 hour drive each way if I recall correctly. A tough team to beat also. I’m betting it hasn’t changed all that much over all these years (circa late ‘60s).

I'm so sorry the smoke is bad there still. I missed my annual visit this year. It's on my to do list for next year.

We can see it over the Spring Mountains to the West/NW here in Las Vegas. Fortunately, not much of it made it into the LV valley.

Would LOVE to move there if my hubby can find a job nearby!

We left this morning. Not only is it very smokey the smell of smoke is incredible. I don't smoke and I was ready to light up.

Nice photo. That's the real West.

Miss Bishop, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Tinnamaha campground!!!!

No, that is where the theater and Joseph’s used to be. Joseph’s has been gone for some time now. Penny’s is now Dollar General. Unfortunately a lot of vacant stores. Hi Kent!❤️

Hello and good morning. I am planning to drive up to Bishop from Southern California. The main purpose is to see fall colors. May I know if the fall colors are still at peak this coming next two weeks or is it past peak? Thank you for your advice/suggestions.

We were just there.😔

We have to leave too, I almost threw up it was so bad, got to Lee Vining and blue fresh air..take care of yourselves

so sorry for the smoke crazy time for all this year.

I spent a week here and didn't get to see the beauty through the smoke 😏

When was this picture taken, Sunday at 6 am ? never seen it this quiet.

Awesome pic! I wish a Main Street business had a rooftop deck so you can eat with that exact same view!

No smoke in the photo. ??

Is this an old photo? Joseph’s market was the only market back when we lived in Bishop in 1969.

It’s still Smokey? Where is the smoke coming from ?

Beautiful town

I always love to go threw Bishop.

Went thru Bishop yesterday, it was terribly Smokey 😪💚

I wish it was still small !

Does bishop still have a jack in the box

My favorite place ❤️

Isnt that the Old JC Penney store?

View more comments

1 week ago

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom
... See MoreSee Less

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful vacation destination

And a free thinker! This is Good!

🙏praying that it stays like this 💖

I miss Bishop so much and living there too 😢😉❤️

This is one of my favorite places to take pictures when I lived in Bishop. There’s many more.

Sigh. Bishop. Love it.

See you next week little sheep

We loved our visit to Bishop

Miss bishop fun times there

Nice!!!

Oh how I love that view

It was beautiful

Love Bishop

👍

Need snow on them things!

View more comments

1 week ago

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14
... See MoreSee Less

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14

Comment on Facebook

I've been on that same road every year at this time...

It sure was smoky today.

Still hazy there.😥

I love the West.

Beautiful picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

We always used to stay at Brown’s Millpond Campground just north of Bishop. Very nice private campground with a stream running through it. So many wonderful memories from Mule Days!

Up her for 4 day little smoke but really nice trees turning colors

It's the hunting and fishing Road 🏞️🎣🏕️🌌🤠🥰

Love Bishop and the surrounding mountains !!!

Hwy 168 going to Lake Sabrina, North and South lakes?

With I was there.

maybe next weekend any hotel suggestions?

Johanna Atwell

GOD HOW I WISH I WAS ON THAT ROAD... CAREFREE HIWAY...

Lots of nice smoke.....

View more comments

1 week ago

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!Hello Friends!☺️
💥 ESCA 20th Annual 5K Walk & Fun Run! 💥October 11-17th! Virtual Edition!
Please LIKE and SHARE this flyer with your friends and family!
Thank you for your continued support! ☺️
... See MoreSee Less

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!

1 week ago

Dog days of summer or fall??!!
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe
... See MoreSee Less

Dog days of summer or fall??!! 
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I heard the colors have peaked in this area. Is it still worth visiting or are there other good spots to hit up?

Beautiful picture.

Wonderful vacation destination

Beautiful

Beautiful picture! Cute dog!

North Lake?

Looking good

View more comments