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Bishop, California is in what is arguably one of the most beautiful pockets of land in the Lower 48. It’s no wonder that the town is known as “small town with a big backyard.” Between the Sierra and Inyo National Forest, just south of Yosemite and north of Death Valley National Parks, it’s backyard is big indeed.

This pocket of Inyo County is a secluded paradise with just about every ecosystem imaginable within reach—the Owens Valley, alpine forests, the deserts of Death Valley, hot springs, the oldest trees in the world, canyons, and everything in between. There are mountains and forests and lakes and every kind of outdoor recreation imaginable. You could spend your entire life exploring this small section of California and still leave many a trail untouched, forest nooks undiscovered, and mountaintops left to be summited. Here are just a few reasons why Bishop is a must-visit place for outdoor lovers.

1. Hot Springs

A photo posted by RootsRated.com (@rootsrated) on Dec 5, 2016 at 2:06pm PST

In business for almost one hundred years, one of Bishop’s most popular destinations is Keough’s Hot Springs—a hot spring with campsites for both tents and RVs. It’s the largest hot spring in the Eastern Sierra and provides visitors with a hot soaking pool and a waterfall cooling mechanism that pours into a larger pool. The pools are open year-round, with an average temperature between 86 and 92 degrees, perfect for summer and crisp nights alike. Keough’s is fun and historic—the perfect place to set up camp for a couple of nights and soak away sore muscles from a day of hiking or climbing the nearby Sierras.

2. Alpine Lakes

A photo posted by Nuvea Santos Cobb (@nuvea) on Oct 15, 2016 at 5:06pm PDT

Located in the Inyo National Forest, Lake Sabrina is one of the most scenic places in the region. With round-trip hikes ranging from 6.2 to 11.8 miles, there are options for both day and overnight adventures that’ll take you through 13,000-foot granite peaks and above blue glacial lakes. The hikes are strenuous in nature, but incredibly rewarding as you climb the steep switchbacks and unveil view after view. If you camp above the treeline, a night sky with no light pollution reveals a magnificent starry sky.

3. Oldest Trees in the World

Just an hour east of Bishop is a section of the Inyo National Forest called the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, which is home to the oldest trees in the world. Weather depending, the forest is generally accessible between May and October each year. The trees, which are more than 4,000 years old, reside in the White Mountains, growing at high elevations between 10,000 and 11,000 feet. The mountain road to the visitors center and Schulman Grove is well-maintained, and gives visitors the opportunity to access several hiking trails. If you have a four-wheel drive, the dirt roads that wind through the bristlecone forest reveal even more of gnarled, storybook trees. Look here for more info on these majestic trees.

 

4. Rock Climbing and Bouldering

A photo posted by Steven Mathis (@stevenmathis) on Oct 16, 2016 at 10:10pm PDT

With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, the Bishop area has ideal weather for world-class climbing and bouldering opportunities. Owens River Gorge is a climber’s paradise, with hundreds of routes throughout the gorge. With steep walls, cracks, and crevices of volcanic tuff, Owens River Gorge is one of the most popular climbing areas in the state of California.  Most climbing routes are found between 4,000 and 6,000 feet in elevation, and guarantee wild topography. More information on the climbing areas can be found here. Alternatively, Buttermilk Country is well-known for its dramatic landscape and bouldering opportunities, and the Happy and Sad Boulders are the place to go to give you skin a bit of a rest after spending some time in the Buttermilks. Specific bouldering areas are described here.

5. Mountain Biking

A photo posted by Andrey Popov (@wildmaverick) on Oct 13, 2016 at 5:20pm PDT

With all the surrounding national forests and parks, there are endless opportunities to hit mountain trails on two wheels. Buttermilk Country Loop is a narrow dirt road that winds through the John Muir Wilderness and reaches 8,500 feet at its highest point. While some explore the loop (and its side roads) in their 4×4, it’s a much-loved loop for mountain bikers. The 17.4-mile loop is steep and technical, so expect a solid challenge. The views are a pleasant reward for the hard work, particularly in the spring and fall when wildflowers and changing leaves abound. More mountain biking can be found here.

6. Water Activities

Bishop Creek, the summer honey hole, is known statewide for its world-class trout fishing. It’s stocked annually by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with supplemental stockings from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce. Perfect for a weekend angler getaway, there are more than 200 campsites in the area, and a few cabins and lodges along the Bishop Creek drainage, so you never have to be too far away from the fishing. There are also several hotels in the town of Bishop, just a short drive away. Float the river, cast a line, and throw your fresh catch of the day on the grill, all while enjoying the solitude that comes with the remoteness of the area.

In the winter, try the Lower Owens River for fly fishing. It can get busy on the weekends (especially holiday weekends), so the middle of the week is the best time to go for solitude. This time of year there are midday blue wing olive (BWO) mayfly hatches in this area, so use BWO imitations to capture the wild brown trout—on a good day, you can get 20-30 trout in just a few hours!

>>>Find more great fishing spots near Bishop here!!

Originally written by RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Mark Doliner

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1 day ago

We appreciate our local businesses as they are working to #KeepBishopSafe. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Inyo County continue to climb, so we ask you to please do your part to keep our community safe as well!! Thank you. ❤️ ... See MoreSee Less

We appreciate our local businesses as they are working to #KeepBishopSafe. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Inyo County continue to climb, so we ask you to please do your part to keep our community safe as well!! Thank you. ❤️

Comment on Facebook We appreciate our ...

Stay safe! I want to visit this fall!

I'm going to keep telling you Bishop just how much I miss you. 💜💜💜😷🐈

Maybe next summer I can come, and I will wear a mask if still needed. Love the High Sierras.

Great job

I'm GOING to visit this fall! I promise myself!

Where is the truck located?

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3 days ago

It’s official...WE LOVE THE FAIR, BUT WE LOVE YOU MORE.

Sad news to our friends and families and riders and destruction derby drivers: The Tri County Fair has officially been cancelled for 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic rages on..... Fortunately, it looks like we are planning a major comeback in 2021 and for many years to come.
... See MoreSee Less

It’s official...

Comment on Facebook WE LOVE THE FAIR, ...

Darn, I was thinking about going there for your fair since ours was cancelled here.😏

Ok, but it will be missed!

. Not in Bollings it is going on this week

Sad, but necessary..

This year sucks!!

It will be back bigger and better, than ever. Stay well. <3

It's the Dems again!

Do sorry,. next year.

What ! Ran out of jobs !

Me too.

A couple more months of stuff like this and there will be Prime real estate in Bishop selling cheap!

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6 days ago

Heading into the weekend dreaming of backcountry lakes... which is your favorite?
#DreamNowVisitLater #KeepBishopSafe
Thank you Instagram user @kimonlhi for this spectacular shot!!
... See MoreSee Less

Heading into the weekend dreaming of backcountry lakes... which is your favorite? 
#DreamNowVisitLater #KeepBishopSafe
Thank you Instagram user @kimonlhi for this spectacular shot!!

Comment on Facebook Heading into the ...

Would have guessed Split Mtn, but have only flown over these mountains twice.

Too many to choose, the higher and more remote the better

Saddle Bag Lake. ❤️

Blue lake! The best, at least I know of~!!!

I need a good-looking tour guide(male) to show me around on my next visit. 😉🐈😷

So beautiful. I miss being up there.

Mt. Aggasisz? I probably butchered that spelling.

Blue Lake

Blue lake❣

Sabrina

Dorothy Lake

Horton Lake

Dorothy and Mildred

Beautiful

I'm guessing the trail to Bishop Pass at Bishop Lakes. :)

Beautiful

Upper Lamarck

Beautiful

That’s beautiful.

Nice 👍

Ruwau Lake, Tyee Lakes, upper Lamark lake, Blue lake, & Little Lakes Valley.

Terra Rankin

Lake.

Johanna Atwell

Any part of Bishop is fine, I JUST WANT TO BE THERE TO ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE! 😀❤️😄💙

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1 week ago

Our friends at Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association welcome everyone to stop by for in-person visitor service plus a great selection of area maps, books and more. They do a great job of helping our guests recreate responsibly!Thanks ESIA for providing helpful information and advice to visitors on responsible recreation in our region! ... See MoreSee Less

Our friends at Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association welcome everyone to stop by for in-person visitor service plus a great selection of area maps, books and more.  They do a great job of helping our guests recreate responsibly!

1 week ago

Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals (Oxford Dictionary)
We are grateful to our COMMUNITY locally and afar, for loving and supporting BISHOP and Inyo County. ❤️

Here is a little glimpse of how our community has pulled together over the past few months:
www.bishopvisitor.com/eastern-sierra-covid-stories/
... See MoreSee Less

Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals (Oxford Dictionary)
We are grateful to our COMMUNITY locally and afar, for loving and supporting BISHOP and Inyo County.  ❤️

Here is a little glimpse of how our community has pulled together over the past few months:
https://www.bishopvisitor.com/eastern-sierra-covid-stories/

Comment on Facebook Community: a feeling...

The community stories are wonderful

The big deal when I was growing up was going to the Tri-County Fair rodeo, taking in a movie, and having dinner...all over Labor Day. Then there were the trips from Mammoth to Bishop to go to the grocery store, topped off by a stop at Schatz for sandwiches and to buy bread. What a wonderful place!!!

Used to watch movies at this theater back in the early 70's. Great memories wonderful town. I visit just about every year and enjoy the old school vibe. My parents started AYSO soccer in Bishop. I used to bicycle down the street as a kid, drop a fishing line and pull out lots of trout.

No Bishop does not need a Walmart mart or another supposed better grocery store. We do not have the people to work them. Plus we have new buildings that weren't supposed to be built and a whole mess of empty buildings. We want to keep it a small town feel.

I was sorry to hear that the JC Penny store closed there. I used to work there when I lived in Cali. I had the most wonderful coworkers and the best boss ever!!! Bishop will live on in my heart forever.

Remember Jill Kenmont👍👍

Great little town Bishop is, leave it alone. My mom graduated from Bishop High school, we went to Bishop many years for Christmas with my Grandparents

I was born in Bishop and moved out around 1990. I've moved all over California since then, and no matter where I moved to I always wanted to go back. Some day... Maybe when my kids are all grown and out of the house I'll take my wife and dogs and move back...

Great town. can't wait to come visit when things calm down. Missed Mule days and our family reunion at the lodge but we will be back

Looking forward to visiting as soon and we can! We love Bishop!

Love Bishop! Just passed thru Monday on the way back from Yosemite!

Bishop is in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth. The eastern Sierra and the Owens Valley will persevere.

I love that Bishop is a smaller town. It part id it s charm for visitors. Needed some items last trip , found them in town and what friendly people !! And you should fit your town , not always for the town to fit you.

3 yrs ago we just started driving , landed in Bishop, stayed several days, just loved that trip, no fish but who cares .... 😍🎣🚗💨💨

best town in California

We believe in Bishop. Stay well. <3

Between 1934 and 1939, I spent some Saturday afternoons watching movies at the theatre in Bishop - think the Hollands owned it then - one of the Holland boys was in my elementary school grade. Best wishes to all.

Bishop is fine the way it is.

Please don't change! I love you the way you are!!

We would like to keep it that way, but there are a lot of people coming into the area now who are leaving their trash on the ground & putting graffiti on any available surface. Do that S... at home, not in our town.

You have no idea how badly I need to visit You Bishop.

Saw it has been 100 degrees up there.

Play my brother Danny scene Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at that theater years and years ago

Lived here in the early 80’s

Soon as possible.

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