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I‘m not going to lie, I was stoked to return to Bishop, California. As in, I threw my arms around and did a little victory dance at my desk. Some places–like Bishop–just grab a hold of you, and though you’re traveling, they make you feel at home. I was thrilled to explore deeper in this underrated part of California! Visiting Bishop once again during their fall/winter season meant fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, the same friendly folks, all the same restaurants, and still much of the same great outdoor recreation.

I got outside, again.

Winter typically conjures feelings of snow and snow sports when you’re vacationing in the mountains. You can certainly get a hold of that up the way at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, but there is plenty of other outdoor recreation within a close proximity to Bishop. To name a couple of those activities…

Hiking

The Gem Lakes trail is popular for darn good reason. It’s a short drive from town, and there are stunning mountain views the entire way to the lake. Hike this trail in the off-season (before the road closes and you have to strap on snowshoes!) and you’ll definitely find the place to yourself. If you don’t fancy walking in snow, there are plenty of other hikes at lower elevations for you, too!

Climbing

It’s no secret that the climbing in Bishop is world-class. The mild winter climate allows for cool, pleasant days outside, and the boulders in Buttermilk Country present some of the best and most interesting problems in the state. The jutting peaks of the Sierra as the backdrop don’t hurt either!

I explored downtown, differently.

Bishop has an easily walkable downtown with numerous independent shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, a brewery, a distillery, a climbing gym, and so much more (whew, have to catch my breath!). Truly though, the list could go on. This time, my friend and I explored on 2 wheels, courtesy of the Zagster bike share in downtown. There are 2 locations to rent from, making it even easier for travelers. We put ourselves on a bit of a mural tour around Bishop, and biked from building to building marveling at the local works.

I went somewhere totally unique.

Okay, I actually went to 2 unique places: a salt lake full of natural structures call “tufa”, and a historic town with private hot springs. Both places are within an hour drive of Bishop–easy to access, and totally worth the trip!

Benton Hot Springs

Whether you’re staying the night or just a couple of hours, a trip to Benton Hot Springs is bound to be rejuvenating and inspiring. This is also one of first hot springs I have visited where I could actually adjust the temperature of the water! The town of Benton is historic, and the highly photogenic cemetery on the hill above the hot springs is worthy of a short scramble.

Mono Lake

This massive, 70 square mile lake is saltier than the sea. It hosts millions of migratory birds every year who rely heavily on the special habitat in the Mono Lake basin. One of the reasons this lake is so unique are the “tufa” limestone formations on the lake’s edge, formations seemingly like stalagmites in a cave.

Why winter?

Why not? The winter weather in Bishop is totally pleasant, allowing for many outdoor activities that might otherwise be unavailable in other parts of the country. Another major perk of the off-season? Enjoy lower rates at hotels and rental car agencies, making for an all-around inexpensive vacation. It’s about time we rethought this whole “summer vacation” spiel… how about a “winter vacation”? Additionally, traveling to Bishop in the winter (and the rest of the year) is possible from all major nearby cities: Reno, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Though the travel time from each city is about 4 hours, all routes offer gorgeous views the whole way. For those travelers looking to book it straight to Bishop (don’t blame you!), the nearby Mammoth Airport offers daily flights.

This article was written in partnership with Visit USA Parks.

>> Click here to read this article in French
>> Click here to read this article in German
>> Click here to read this article in Chinese

 

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2 days ago

If only these ancient trees could talk...#BristleconePine
Beautiful shot @richmophoto.jpg
#KeepInyoOpen #WashCoverDistance
... See MoreSee Less

If only these ancient trees could talk...#BristleconePine
Beautiful shot @richmophoto.jpg
#KeepInyoOpen #WashCoverDistance

Comment on Facebook If only these ...

Looove the Bristlecone Pine Grove. I visited it several times and I'm awed by these magnificent trees each time. They are the oldest living organisms on earth! ❤

What an amazing experience it is to walk among those ancient beauties!

We’ve seen these ancients and it really takes you away...

I have been there and falled in loved 🥰 Those trees are magical. I love Bishop 😍

Thanks for the picture. My favorite tree for sure. I even have the Tee shirt. Love walking in that grove. Stay well, until I get back there again. <3

Amazing to walk amongst these ancient trees.

They Do:sayin Dont Move Around So Much and STICK Around Awhile:)

Looks like wizard of oz lol

Bristlecone pine.

The oldest of these magnificent trees have seen more than a million sunrises. They were alive when your 200th great grandparents were.

Guard them! Crazy times!

Special area. It was a honor to walk amongst these ancients.

An amazing place to visit

Went there it’s amazing

Maybe we wouldn’t want to hear what they would have to say.

You are speaking to my Soul now Bishop💜😷🐈😘

What would they tell us?

Knotted Tales🌲🌲

Amazing view

I will take you there Madison Hope-Hokulani Buffington’s. This is what I have been telling you about.

Fantastic.

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3 days ago

Lake Sabrina has been BEAUTIFUL these past few days. Blue skies and amazing temperatures. Please remember to travel safely and do your part to protect yourself and our community!!
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen
Thank you, @angelicalinder_ for the photo!!
... See MoreSee Less

Lake Sabrina has been BEAUTIFUL these past few days. Blue skies and amazing temperatures. Please remember to travel safely and do your part to protect yourself and our community!!
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen
Thank you, @angelicalinder_ for the photo!!

Comment on Facebook Lake Sabrina has ...

Andy Harris...let's go!

Looks great

Where is Lake Sabrina located? I've never been there.

Wish I could go

David Dietz I got to go here

Have you ever fished Cardinal Pond just below Sabrina? It is post card beautiful. My teenaged gradaughter said long ago, if I ever become a writer I'm coming here to write.

Beautiful

now that's the best place all around..beats traveling miles and miles its in our backyard and its gorgeous.....this is 19 miles up from Bishop, Abouit a 5 hr drive...

Beautiful place👍

Liz Benitez Grizelda Grizelda 😍

Wonderful place to spend a weekend

Gorgeous!

So beautiful

Beautiful

So beautiful thanks for sharing ❤❤😊😊

Gorgeous.

Madison Hope-Hokulani Buffington this is one of the places I want to take you to.

Wear is that place at

Bishop is an amazing place! So beautiful year round! Love it!

Used to go at least four different weekends a year. Beautiful place.

Always been so pretty. I miss all the lakes around Bishop.

Live the lake one if my favorites . Went there in October one year brave kids In a small trailer . Freezing but so fun..

Love this place!

Ano ano ang mga nahuhuli diyan.may tilapia din diyan

We went out fishing to different lakes since Saturday, but we didn't go to sabrina. 🎣🐟

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4 days ago

Who loves to get up where the oxygen is thin??!! Mt. Langley is one of the many 14,000' peaks here in our backyard. If you are coming this way, make sure to check out the current guidelines and state regulations. www.bishopvisitor.com/covid/
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen
Thanks, @wanderlena82 for this awesome shot!
... See MoreSee Less

Who loves to get up where the oxygen is thin??!! Mt. Langley is one of the many 14,000 peaks here in our backyard. If you are coming this way, make sure to check out the current guidelines and state regulations. https://www.bishopvisitor.com/covid/
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen 
Thanks, @wanderlena82 for this awesome shot!

Comment on Facebook Who loves to get up ...

I went up to 12,500 at Ski Apache in Ruidoso, N.M. My head nearly exploded.

Yep. I feel so amazing in high altitudes.

Very well done. I’ve never been over 12,000 and that just about ended me.

How come females look so good after bagging a peak, but guys look tuckered out?

Why cant we post pics on this site anymore?

Been there a couple of times. Better than Whitney

Always head up to Whites Mountain for Ancient Bristol Cone Forest.

Congratulations!

BEAUTIFUL

I like those kinds of places. You can get a natural high. I think I've been there before. Hope to get back there soon. <3

Awesome

Been up there.

Badassery

Great photo! Looking great @ 14k+ ❤️

Definitely has a great view

Just amazing!

...would have done it 40 years ago

Love Bishop👍

Mammoth parade starts at 11:00

My friend Jack McBroom from Hemet climbed the highest 14 peaks on California in about four and a half days. Not sure that is still the record but I know it was for awhile. Sports Illustrated did an article about him.

Hayden Pester adding this to our list

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