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Bishop Visitor's Center

Paiute Lake Waterfalls. Photo: Roberta McIntosh

The sound and scene of flowing water, particularly when it’s falling over a rocky cliff or cascading down a rocky chute, instills a sense of wonder and peace. The waterfalls of the Eastern Sierra may not be the biggest or highest, but they are in one of the most scenic parts of our country and the most photographed region in California.

First Falls, Big Pine Creek. Photo: Gigi de Jong

We’ve created an extensive guide to show where each of the noteworthy falls is located and how best to see, photograph, and get near them. Some of our beautiful falls can be seen from vista points along mountain roads that will take you well into the alpine and sub-alpine regions of the Sierra Nevada. Many more can only be seen from hiking trails within our national forest and wilderness areas. That means a visit to a wild and scenic waterfall in the Sierra Nevada is an extraordinary experience.

Most waterfalls are only accessible or viewable during the warmer months and spring is primetime for waterfall adventures. A late summer or autumn adventure can still offer spectacular views of waterfalls. Late blooming wildflowers or the changing colors of autumn leaves nearby a perennial tumbling waterfall is magical. And … we even have a few that are quite remarkable during winter! You can find out about these in our extensive waterfall guide here.

A recent study in the United Kingdom, conducted by The University of Derby and The Wildlife Trusts, found that increased and sustained connections to nature significantly improved people’s health, happiness, and pro-nature behaviors. A visit to one or more of the waterfalls in our big backyard will surely result in improved mood, reduced anxiety, and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue. Trips to see backcountry waterfalls will provide good exercise and optimize time spent on earth.

Mt. Whitney, the highest peak on the continental USA. Photo: Gigi de Jong

The Sierra Nevada is a mighty mountain range in central and eastern California that runs for 400 miles, north-to-south, and about 70 miles, east-to-west. It rises to well over 9,000 ft all along its crest and has over 120 peaks above 13,000 ft. This immense range is the ‘water trap’ for California. The region receives up to 80 inches of precipitation annually, most of in the form of snow in winter. In the warm months the snow melts and water flows into innumerable glacial lakes and continues down canyons into more lakes and creeks. There is a constant supply of water year-round. The escarpment in the Eastern Sierra rises steeply and dramatically and the staircase of glacial lakes and streams produce countless waterfalls and cascades. Many of these are notable and worthy of the effort to see them.

Our guide is set up to show where each of the noteworthy falls is located and how best to see, photograph, and get near them. The list is compiled showing the proximity of each falls from the nearest town along scenic US Highway 395 from Lone Pine to Lee Vining. A trip to an Eastern Sierra waterfall can be a solitary experience, a romantic getaway, or a family, fun adventure. It all depends on what you or your group need and want. A quick drive up to a viewing site can be an easy and delightful side trip on a long journey. A lengthy hike or overnight camping trip may require some experience and planning.

Remember that the weather in the Eastern Sierra is always unpredictable and mountainous terrain makes it even less stable. Summer can produce fast developing thunderstorms and occasional flash flooding. Temperatures can differ significantly during the day between lower elevation valleys and higher elevation canyons and crests – even in summer. Always use caution when hiking in the Sierra Nevada, any time of year, and especially near water and waterfalls. All swift water and waterfalls are inherently dangerous. Be very aware of wet, slippery rocks and keep at a safe distance from rushing water, steep drops, and cliffs. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

For the best Eastern Sierra waterfall experience study our guide and come see us at the Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N. Main St. in Bishop or call ahead on (760) 873-8405. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff can provide maps, advice, and information on what would be the best adventure for you and your crew.

Route map to the Waterfalls of the Eastern Sierra

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22 hours ago

What's your favorite season in the Eastern Sierra?

Beautiful photo by @robert_lachman from October 12, 2019
#keepbishopsafe
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Whats your favorite season in the Eastern Sierra? 

Beautiful photo by @robert_lachman from October 12, 2019
#keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I go every year! 2nd or 3rd week of October! Beautiful scenery and weather!

Fall

I was raised on the Eastern side of the Sierras. When I was young it was Summers. When I got a little older it was Spring for the opening of trout season. Now at 73 it's Fall...😊

Nice One!

Fall when leaves change and late summer when tubing in cut off’s by day with jeans and flannel by the fire at night

I have to say mid to late fall. Although mid spring is awesome as well. ✌️

Fall

Beautiful picture

Fall is the best...but the other 3 run a close 2nd!

Yes! 😅😁

We from Bishop

Fall🍁🍂🎃

Gorgeous

FALL...used to go up from L.A. EVERY OCT.

Autumn and Winter

Spring

Anything but fire season 😭

Love the fall leave. We try to go every year in October

Fall by far! I love the colors. We try to go every year in October for my husband's birthday.

In Bishop all of them. Bishop picture love this site 🙂🙂❤❤

So pretty

Beautiful

Fall

Fall for sure. Before the snow shuts the roads. And early summer. When it is just a little cooler. 🐈😷

Beautiful!

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3 days ago

With fires, poor air quality and COVID-19 all currently going on, who needs a little something to look forward to??
How about Wynonna for Labor Day Weekend of 2021!!
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With fires, poor air quality and COVID-19 all currently going on, who needs a little something to look forward to?? 
How about Wynonna for Labor Day Weekend of 2021!!

Comment on Facebook

Lol whatever floats your boat Bishop. With way things are we might be in a middle of some other bs that will shut it down. I’m done hoping and waiting for “better” times to come.

its sept 21??!!

Can’t wait!!

oh next yr ugh

Looks like she needs an enema !

Mary Allegra Nicol

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6 days ago

Wishing all of the firefighters and emergency support teams a safe weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing!!!

Sending love from Bishop to all who are being affected by the fires. ❤️

This photo by Instagram user @sammyzz17 and is from February of 2018 when we had the Pleasant Valley Reservior Fire. Hoping that he and his crew are safe!
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Wishing all of the firefighters and emergency support teams a safe weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing!!! 

Sending love from Bishop to all who are being affected by the fires. ❤️

This photo by Instagram user @sammyzz17 and is from February of 2018 when we had the Pleasant Valley Reservior Fire. Hoping that he and his crew are safe!

Comment on Facebook

🙏God Bless you all. I have been praying for rain to help put all the fires out and is in the forecast for some areas yeh!

God Bless all of you amazing men and women fighting these horrible fires. Stay safe!🙏❤️👩‍🚒👩‍🚒👍

Thanks guys!! Hope you all stay safe and return home to your families soon!!! Bless you all❤️

Wonderful pic.of these brave Firefighters! Prayers for their safety! 🙏🏻💕🙏🏻

Thank you to ALL FF's and Incident Command crews, Strike Teams busting butt out there. Love & prayers for All Your Safety from Santa Rosa 💜😷🐈

🙏 to all the first responders and thank you for your hard work.

Thank you Bishop firefighters for all of your extremely hard work!

A big Thank You To All Our Firefighters God Bless You And Your Families Stay Safe

Sending love and prayers from the Florida Panhandle. Be Safe! God Bless you and yours!

Thank you for your service. and God Bless You All .

God be with you all. Thank fort doing what you do

What a commitment! Thank you! Your work can never be repaid!!!

God bless you boys! Please stay safe!

Thank you God bless and stay safe

God Bless you all🙏☮️

Thank you all for what you do for us everyday 💗

Stay safe 🚒😊👍🏼

Amen

Ty

👊👍🤙😎🙏

Thanks to all the firefighters out in California, Oregon & Washington who work tirelessly everyday ❗️❗️. You are true heroes❗️

This is a spectacular photo, a real prizewinner! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks never were more than a few brave people

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7 days ago

To any of our Inyo County residents....Please take a minute, if you haven’t yet, to sign up for the Inyo County emergency alerting system, CodeRED. This will ensure that if there is a local emergency such as an evacuation notice or missing child report that you will be notified. Stay safe and stay informed!
Click on this link to sign up:
public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/DAD807D480BF

📷 by John Paul DeRousseau
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To any of our Inyo County residents....

Comment on Facebook

Jack Lila McKinney just making sure your signed up ❤️

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