Bishop Visitor Logo

Bishop Visitor's Center

Did you know that there are countless children and adults who have never seen the Milky Way? Experts say that 80% of North Americans and one-third of humanity can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live due to light pollution. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to see, at least once in a lifetime, the amazing spectacle of the Milky Way and an intensely sparkling, starry night sky.

We’ve compiled an interactive guide to stargazing in the Eastern Sierra to help you learn more about a night sky experience here. Take some time to study our stargazing guide and make a plan to visit the Eastern Sierra for your stellar experience. When planning your trip to view the night sky consider all the various aspects that will affect what you will see in the sky. Keep a close watch on the weather and what each season will bring into view. Our guide includes a number of informative links that you can use to research and plan your trip.

The heart of the Eastern Sierra is perfectly situated for a brilliant night sky experience.

The Eastern Sierra still has incredibly dark, clear skies and the lack of light pollution in the Owens Valley is largely due to the fact that it is one the least populated regions in the country. Situated on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, the Owens Valley is in the ‘rain shadow’ of this magnificent mountain range. Weather statistics show that the region has a 92% chance of clear weather, resulting in about 335 clear nights a year. Within the valley, and higher up in the mountains on either side, are many easily accessible places where night sky viewing is exceptional. And, what makes these stargazing settings even more special, is that they have spectacular natural beauty of their own.

Night sky viewing is a year-round activity in the Owens Valley and should be coordinated primarily with moon phases, the seasons, timing of astronomical events, and the weather. On a cloudless, new moon night (when the moon is not illuminated by the sun) the stars will shine brightest for the longest period of time. Cold, clear winter nights present optimal conditions for night sky viewing, however, some high elevation destinations are not accessible during mid-winter. Summer months offer warm, dry nights that make this a perfect time for teaching kids about the cosmos. From late summer to early fall is the best time of the year to see the Milky Way. The brightest portion of this ribbon of stars arcs almost directly overhead from the southwest to the northeast parts of the sky.

Astronomy can be a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family. It’s as easy as looking up at the stars. A new smart phone is a great way to capture some simple snapshots of the night sky and there are many excellent star apps that can provide maps, charts, and information on what you will see in the sky. A good paper star chart would also be worth including in your astronomy kit.

Our guide includes an interactive map of stargazing hotspots along US Highway 395 from Lone Pine, 60 miles south of Bishop, to Mono Lake, 66 miles north of Bishop. There are innumerable places to stop, hike, bivvy for a few hours, or camp overnight for stargazing. Follow the stars on the map to see the descriptions and locations of these great stargazing places.

In addition to seeing the stars in the sky, visitors can tour a state-of-the-art radio telescope array. The Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), run by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is one of the largest university-operated observatories in the world and hosts numerous projects in radio astronomy and cosmology. It was brought into operation in 1958 with one 32-ft radio telescope. Today, the scope of the operation is extensive and world-class. OVRO now has the capability to ‘listen’ and analyze data using multiple different types of radio telescope technologies. Plan your stargazing experience to include a tour of this fascinating facility.

For more detailed information on local weather, as well as other things to do and see in and around Bishop, call the Bishop Visitor Center at (760) 873-8405. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you plan your trip to get the best possible experience.

Check out the Digital Bishop Visitor Guide!

Archived Stories

Tell us:

How do you enjoy OUR BACKYARD?

Follow Us on Instagram

Join Us on Facebook!

19 hours ago

Don’t forget to visit the Bishop Mule Days Celebration official souvenir shop located on the fairgrounds for 50th anniversary commemorative t-shirts, belt buckles, coffee mugs and more! Open now through Sunday, May 26th. ... See MoreSee Less

Don’t forget to visit the Bishop Mule Days Celebration official souvenir shop located on the fairgrounds for 50th anniversary commemorative t-shirts, belt buckles, coffee mugs and more! Open now through Sunday, May 26th.

 

Comment on Facebook

Can we purchase items online when we can’t attend in person??

Teresa Nunez

Are you online?

+ View more comments

3 days ago

Mule Days is open to the public; no charge to enter the fairgrounds and there is a lot to see and do all weekend! Bring the kids and enjoy all the fun activities Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Junior Packer Corral. Happening this coming weekend, Friday May 24 - Sunday May 26th. ... See MoreSee Less

Mule Days is open to the public; no charge to enter the fairgrounds and there is a lot to see and do all weekend! Bring the kids and enjoy all the fun activities Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Junior Packer Corral. Happening this coming weekend, Friday May 24 - Sunday May 26th.

 

Comment on Facebook

Gary Dutter

Silly Question I guess... But What Month???

+ View more comments

4 days ago

Winter just doesn’t want to leave!The winter that wouldn’t end! ... See MoreSee Less

Winter just doesn’t want to leave!

 

Comment on Facebook

What's with the snow??

Still wintery here right now in May!!

Down here at the very beginning of the PCT we are very wet and cold and wondering how all those PCT hikers in just tennis shoes are doing right now. Some of them look so ill prepared when they finish the first 22 miles and stop here at our Malt Shop for a pizza and hot breakfast before starting up into the Laguna Mts.

Great place to stay

I guess it must be the Sierra answer to that surfing movie, "The Endless Summer." And even here in Berkeley, CA on this side we turned on our heater today. Well, we needed to dry out the interior of the house. Pretty pictures, though. Thanks.

We had snow in Mc Cloud last night.

No snow but rainy and chilly on the Central Coast . We feel the same....😁

I like cardinal village

Geeeezzz!!! R-2 conditions over Donner Pass today, which is my home territory.

Oh no!❄️☃️

Can't wait to go up in August.....back in the early 1970's, there would be patches of snow on the mountain across from Camp Sabrina around Memorial day!

Well WE are raining, cold with thunder and lightning here in the Sonoma County area.

+ View more comments

1 week ago

Fishing and conditions report from Lake Sabrina Boat Landing: Mother Nature definitely didn’t want us to forget her this week – lots of fun weather. Beautiful sunny days, then rain, slush, snowball snow, lightening, thunder, big flake snow and lots of it and then back to beautiful sunny days. And it looks like we’ve got the same instore for us this coming week. We woke to 14” to 16” of snow on Friday, it was a pretty quiet Friday. We stayed hunkered down by the woodstove that day. Pretty much by Sunday that snow was gone.

The Lake was icing off fairly well prior to last week’s storm. The manmade part of the Lake is totally ice-free, but may have some skim ice in the early morning. We’ve got open water behind the Island in the first natural Lake. There’s open water showing in the back natural Lake over by Little George Inlet, but is still iced-over where the Lake narrows down by Cookie’s Point. With the cooler temps, the run-off has shut down a bit and the Lake is not rising. We’re hoping that will change and we’ll have boats on the Lake by Memorial Weekend – just need 6’.

If you’re fishing, might want to try back behind what is normally the Island – can’t really tell you what’s working cuz haven’t had many fisherpeople out there yet.
... See MoreSee Less

Fishing and conditions report from Lake Sabrina Boat Landing: Mother Nature definitely didn’t want us to forget her this week – lots of fun weather. Beautiful sunny days, then rain, slush, snowball snow, lightening, thunder, big flake snow and lots of it and then back to beautiful sunny days. And it looks like we’ve got the same instore for us this coming week. We woke to 14” to 16” of snow on Friday, it was a pretty quiet Friday. We stayed hunkered down by the woodstove that day. Pretty much by Sunday that snow was gone.

The Lake was icing off fairly well prior to last week’s storm. The manmade part of the Lake is totally ice-free, but may have some skim ice in the early morning. We’ve got open water behind the Island in the first natural Lake. There’s open water showing in the back natural Lake over by Little George Inlet, but is still iced-over where the Lake narrows down by Cookie’s Point. With the cooler temps, the run-off has shut down a bit and the Lake is not rising. We’re hoping that will change and we’ll have boats on the Lake by Memorial Weekend – just need 6’.

If you’re fishing, might want to try back behind what is normally the Island – can’t really tell you what’s working cuz haven’t had many fisherpeople out there yet.

 

Comment on Facebook

Would really like to go up there and fish.

Jessica Caballero Yolanda Wren Joseph Caballero

We are coming up early June! Staying in Lone Pine but plan on driving up to visit. Hope we can see Sabrina

Luv it there caught my share

Filling up, can’t wait

JJ Garcia

Joe Powell

Scott L Barnes

Jo Nathan let’s goooo!

Roberto Villegas look familiar?

+ View more comments

Load more
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!