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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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3 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?

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6 days 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
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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!

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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
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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.....

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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! ☺️
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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
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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

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