4 Day Adventure Itinerary
When it’s time to get the girlfriends together for a long weekend of play and pampering, head for the hills. The mountains … actually!
Bishop, California is located in the heart of the Eastern Sierra in a deep valley known as the Owens Valley. It is bounded to two magnificent mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and the White and Inyo Mountains. We call this incredible space in and around our sweet town our ‘big backyard’ and there is so much to do here that you’ll want to come every season.
A winter weekend getaway is wildly wonderful here and we suggest you reward yourself with 4 days from Thursday through Sunday. Here’s what we suggest you do to get a good deal of recreation and relaxation.
Click on each day’s itinerary for a full rundown on where to stay, and what to see, do and eat!
Day One Itinerary
Head out of your city early. Soon you’ll find yourself cruising the scenic Highway 395 through the picturesque Eastern Sierra. Stop and see some sights along the way and begin to slough off the city stresses.
Activity (south option): Museum of Western Film History
If traveling from the south stop in Lone Pine and visit the Museum of Western Film History and take a drive through Hollywood’s largest backlot. The museum offers a fascinating look at the history of western movies, with so much of it filmed right here in the Alabama Hills. Ask for brochures on the self-guided tours and wend your way through the magnificent rocky outcrops of these hills. See the locations, that have remained unchanged, where so many movie scenes were set. Stretch your legs with a short hike to the Mobius Arch and snap one of the most iconic images in the region. It’s Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous USA) framed by this natural rock arch. Read more about this short hike in a previous blog here.
Activity (north option): Mono Lake Scenic Viewpoint
From the north stop at the Mono Lake Scenic Viewpoint and stretch your eyes across this magnificent lake. It’s one of the most breathtaking views in the Eastern Sierra. Stop in Lee Vining at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center and Book Store. Learn about the natural and political history of Mono Lake. This center is the headquarters for the non-profit group, the Mono Lake Committee, that is working to obtain long-term protection and restoration of the Mono Lake ecosystem. Watch the free, 27-minute film, “The Mono Lake Story” and peruse the comprehensive selection of books about the area.
Lunch (south option): Bishop Country Club Restaurant
Driving into Bishop from the south, kick off your long weekend with a late lunch at the19th Hole Bar & Grill. Lunch is served until 3pm and the full bar offers an excellent complement to your meal. This place has one of the best views that you’ll find anywhere. The fairways and greens, which might have light white blanket in winter, are accented by the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It’s majestic outside and quaint and comfy inside.
Lunch (north option): Tom’s Place Restaurant
The majestic and rustic option for arrivals from the north is Tom’s Place Resort. It’s been here for over 100 years, and the food is fresh and the company is often lively. There’s a fully stocked bar for a little toast to the weekend ahead.
Arrive. In. Bishop.
Check into your lodgings. Relax, unpack, and don’t dress up for dinner. Dinner in Bishop is casual. Your most comfortable jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt – layered with wooly winter jacket, boots, gloves, scarf and beanie – will give you the freedom to explore indoors and outdoors.
Activity: Bishop Mural Meander and sundowner cocktails
This beautiful town is situated at over 4,000 feet above sea level. You may want to acclimatize to the elevation, clear your head, and open your senses to the wonder of this landscape. With the last glow daylight take an easy walk around town and learn a little of its history from the beautiful murals that tell of the old stories. On buildings throughout Bishop the history of the Owens Valley is depicted on the exterior walls in the form of historically accurate and visually beautiful murals. The Bishop Mural Society was established in 1997 “to display our heritage in a spectacular outdoor art gallery surrounded by natural beauty.” Today there are fifteen murals, the most recent of which is made up of 421 sculpted ceramic tiles and mosaic, created by 216 community members. The society is a founding member of the California Public Art and Mural Society and mural projects are ongoing through the generous support of the community. Download this Mural Map, or load this google map on your device, and check out the society’s webpage.
Dinner: Whiskey Creek
Fine dining in Bishop with a relaxed atmosphere and a great bar. Call ahead to make a reservation and give yourselves time to start with cocktails in the saloon. You’ll get the best of both worlds here – tradition and innovation. Starters, salads, seafood, pasta, and steaks & more are classic American fare. The new healthy bowls offer a flair of fusion foods which can be made to satisfy vegetarian and vegan diets. Walk the 350 yards back to your lodgings to settle into a deep sleep after a long, adventurous day.
Lodging: Creekside Inn
There’s no better place for a ‘spoil yourselves’ kind of weekend than Creekside Inn. The newly refurbished hotel is sumptuous, yet rustic to reflect the warmth of the Eastern Sierra. The wood-burning fireplace and cozy leather furniture in the spacious lobby is a delightful place for a girl-friendly gathering. The tastefully furnished rooms, with cozy beds and plush linens, luxurious bathrooms, and complimentary WiFi are everything a woman wants to slip into something really comfortable.
“We believe in incorporating the natural beauty of our surrounding areas in design and décor to provide warm, unique respites of relaxation.” ~ Tod McClaskey, Owner, Western Inns
Day Two Itinerary
Food fuels the body. Don’t miss the free full breakfast served in the delightful dining room at the Creekside Inn from 6:30 – 9:30am.
Activity: Half Day Easy to Moderate Hike
There are dozens of super winter hikes here that will suit all abilities. Take a look at this recent blog about great winter hikes here and decide what looks best for your group. The important things to remember when hiking in our big backyard are to dress in layers and wear sunscreen, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, and take water and food with you. A winter daytime hike can start out chilly and warm up nicely if the sun is out, which it usually is. Isn’t that great! Statistically speaking, Bishop has about 335 sunny days a year. That means you have a 92% chance of a dry Owens Valley adventure. Take advantage of the warmest part of the day from 11am – 3pm to enjoy a winter Eastside adventure.
Lunch: Pupfish Café
Pack a picnic. Pupfish Café serves fresh, made-to-order food on locally baked artisan breads and other delicious treats. Call ahead or pop and order a great mixed bag of sandwiches, salads and sweet Liège waffles to take along on your hike. The Liège waffles are a specialty. Made with a yeast-based brioche dough and studded with pearls of sugar, they’re buttery and pillow soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
This cute café is tucked into the back of the local bookstore, Spellbinder Books. Buy a book or magazine for a quiet escape. Get a gift of exquisitely made art and craft, created by our talented local artists. Celebrate yourself or a special someone.
Activity: Keough’s Hot Springs
As the sun sets over the Sierra crest head south on Highway 395 for 8 miles and turn right onto Keough Hot Springs Rd. The tradition of healing through natural mineral, geothermal spring water is hundreds of years old and this place continues the tradition with rustic, old-world charm.
Keough’s Hot Springs Resort was built in 1919 and harks back to its heyday of the 1920s & 30s when it was a first-class health resort. Much of the original wooden structure is still intact and the two pools, a large warm swimming and a smaller hot soaking pool, are the original ones built in 1919. A constant flow of hot, fresh mineral water fills the pools, making this a wonderful place to languish in these restorative waters. Enclosed on all four sides the pools are protected from the desert wind, but open to the sky above. Keough’s was conceived as a place to get away and get close to nature. Almost 100 years later it still delivers on that promise.
Dinner: Mountain Rambler Brewery
The Mountain Rambler Brewery is the place for craft beer, brewed right here, and good food made from scratch. The brewpub serves as many as nine beers on tap and a perfect way to get to know these brews is to order a flight. The menu features local produce as much as possible blended with flavors from around the world. It’s nourishing, delectable and delightfully casual. And get to know the locals! This microbrewery has a festive and friendly atmosphere with long communal tables. Live music is sometimes a great addition to the nighttime fun on Fridays.
Lodging: Creekside Inn
Mosey on back to your lovely lodgings and ease into a dreamy world of comfy cushions and luxurious linens.
Day Three Itinerary
Up and at ‘em with a hearty breakfast.
Activity (option 1): Fish the Lower Owens River
The Eastern Sierra is world famous for … well, a lot of things and … fishing is what put Bishop on the map. Learn and enjoy the basics of fly fishing with some of the best guides in the business. Bishop Fly Fishing and Guide Service can take you gals out for an amazing half day wade or drift trip on the Lower Owens River. The river is only a few miles from town, but you’ll feel like you’re worlds away. The snowy mountain ranges rise up on either side of the valley and the quiet, secluded sections of the winding river are blissful. You’ll be catching fish in no time and, if you’ve never fly fished before, you’ll probably be hooked too.
Activity (option 2): Bouldering the Buttermilks
Our big backyard is also world renown for bouldering and rock climbing and, believe it or not, winter is the perfect season for it. Buttermilk Country is fondly called the “Buttermilks” by climbers and is considered by many to be the best bouldering area in the country. It is certainly California’s premier bouldering spot. The huge boulders that dot the area were pushed out across this landscape by glaciers some 2.5 million years ago and some of these giants are more than 40 feet tall. The Buttermilks, however, are not just for experienced climbers and there are numerous smaller rocks where beginner and intermediate climbers can experience the thrill and feel of rock climbing.
Many city gym climbers get their start on real rock right here in Bishop. A great place to get the beta on where, when and what to climb is at Sage To Summit. This is the store for great outdoor gear combined with an indoor climbing gym. You could get warmed up on the indoor wall, then rent a crash pad and make your way to the ‘milks’. If you need some inexpensive starter gear or climbing shoes, head over to Mammoth Gear Exchange and search through the used goods. Much of it is gently used and there’s always a good bargain to be had there.
Now, go climb. Head west on Highway 168 (W. Line St.) for 13 miles to the junction of Buttermilk Rd and turn right. The road turns to gravel just beyond the cattle guard and 12 miles further you will find yourself in the heart of Buttermilk County.
Read more about climbing in Bishop in one of our blog posts here.
Lunch: Eastside Juice Bar
As mentioned previously, winter day adventures are most pleasant when done during the warmer part of the day. So, go grab a bag of goodies to stay satisfied and hydrated while you play for a day in our big backyard. Eastside Juice Bar has great smoothies packed with protein and fresh, organic ingredients. Get wraps, salads, and snacks and you’re set.
Dinner: Live, from Bishop, it’s Saturday Night!
Make it a party night. Start at Yamatani Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar with cocktails at the bar and dinner in the restaurant. Follow it up with fro-yo at Good Earth Yogurt Pie & Wine Bar. Then get really local. Cross the street and git yer cowgirl on at Rusty’s Saloon.
This could be a night that slides from the sublime to the ridiculous in the best possible way. Just as you did last night, dress in your best casual and comfortable outfit and layer it for the chill outside and the warmth inside.
Since 1984 the Tani family has brought the best sushi and traditional Japanese cuisine to California’s eastern high Sierra. Yamatani is a visitors and locals favorite that serves only sushi grade (high quality) fish from all over the world sourced from the same fish markets that L.A. restaurants use. Call ahead to make a reservation if you’d like early seating at a table.
After that gastronomic delight, continue the indulgence with a helping of organic frozen yogurt at Good Earth Yogurt Pie & Wine Bar. If your taste buds call for a savory after dinner treat, get a nutty, cheesy, platter.
Now here’s when it gets ridiculously good. The experience of a lifetime… is Rusty’s Saloon! This is a lively locals bar that’s been serving up fun in bishop for over 50 years. You may catch a DJ in action, or join in for some Karaoke, or just choose your own tunes on the jukebox. It’s usually rockin’ at Rusty’s.
Lodging: Creekside Inn
Finally, sink into a warm bed for a restorative night’s sleep.
Day Four Itinerary
Go on … sleep in! Won’t that be lovely? Now it’s time to pack up and stock up on the yummy breads, pastries and cookies from Schat’s Bakkery (a Bishop landmark) for the road trip home. These goodies make great gifts for friends and family too.
Stop in at Keough’s Hot Springs for one more soak and soothe those muscles that worked for you this wonderful winter women’s weekend.
Before. During. After.
Call or come into the Bishop Visitor Center and tell us about your trip and find out how much there is to do. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can give you directions, maps, and information to help you plan your wonderful women’s weekend. Whatever you do and wherever you go, tell our Bishop business owners that the Chamber sent you. You’ll be treated like family!