This is trout country! Our cold, clear creeks dancing down mountain canyons and gem-like alpine lakes, are home to fighting rainbow, brown, brook and golden trout. The Owens Valley offers some of the finest fishing in the West, and it’s year-round! The general trout season in the Eastern High Sierra runs from the last Saturday in April to October 31st, but trout anglers in the Bishop area don’t hang up their rods after the end of the high country fishing season. Instead, they target the year-round open waters of the Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the more than 25 miles of the Owens River taking a mixture of wild brown trout and trophy class Alpers rainbows with either fly or spinning rod. (The Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce contracts with Tim Alpers to plant his trophy size Rainbow Trout in the Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Owens River in the Bishop area, throughout the year.) Bishop hosts several fishing derbies and events throughout the year. They are listed at https://bishopvisitor.com/activities/fishing/. You can get a current fishing report by visiting www.easternsierrafishreports.com.
Owens River and Pleasant Valley Reservoir
On the Owens River, there’s opportunity for any angling pursuit, flies, lure or bait. Open all year for fishing, there are miles and miles of the Owens to fish. Pleasant Valley Reservoir is located in a canyon along the Chalk Bluffs six miles north of Bishop on Highway 395 (make a right hand turn at Pleasant Valley Road, it is about a 1 1/2 miles to the reservoir, just past the campground). Very popular with both locals and visitors alike, many fishermen drive to the dam and then load their bicycles with tackle and pedal along the 2 mile long paved road (closed to motor vehicles) that lines the reservoir until they come to a likely spot. It is also possible to enter the reservoir from the north end at Gorge Road, 9 miles north of Bishop, at the bottom of Sherwin Grade on U.S. 395. Turn east, then drive a short way up to the pipeline and then turn right, this will take you to the power plant where there is plenty of parking for anglers. Here you will find the Owens River coming out of the power plant and slowly widening into the reservoir. Excellent stream fishing conditions are found here. The Owens River Wild Trout Area, a section of the river from Pleasant Valley Reservoir to Five Bridges Road is a California blue ribbon brown trout fishery.
If you are seeking solitude and rugged scenery, this is your purely magical spot! Access by the Gorge Road at the base of Sherwing Grade, 13 miles north of Bishop, with a strenuous hike in and out.
Rock Creek Lake and Canyon
Anglers visit here to sample the challenging trout fishing; rainbows, browns, bookies and golden trout all inhabit the local waters. Rock Creek Lake is the center of activity for fishermen, offering a well-supplied general store, cabin, boat rentals and home cooked meals. Flowing east from the lake, Upper Rock Creek offers close to nine miles of stream fishing. Call Rock Creek Lakes Resort at (760) 935-4311.
Just a short drive west of Bishop along Hwy. 168, the natural environment changes quickly from the high desert sage and dry climate of the Owens Valley floor to an alpine wonderland of pine forest, rushing streams and gorgeous deep-blue lakes surrounded by mighty mountain peaks.
South Lake (9,768′)
At nearly 10,000 ft., South Lake not only presents a breathtaking scene, it’s also loaded with trout. A very aggressive supplemental stocking program has introduced large German Brown Trout and the elusive Eagle Lake Rainbows. The South Lake Boat Landing has a full tackle shop and a rental fleet of clean, well maintained aluminum boats. Call them at (760) 873-4177.
Lake Sabrina ( 9,128′)
The north fork of the Bishop Creek road leads to an alpine wonderland…a splendid setting with magnificent fishing and photo opportunities, boat rentals, food services and accommodations. The north fork of the Bishop Creek Canyon is particularly beautiful in the fall, with its Aspen-lined slopes ablaze with gold, orange and red hues of autumn.
North Lake (9,350′)
At the end of a steep gravel road, North Lake feels like the backcountry. While the lake is the smallest of the three in Bishop Creek Canyon, it doesn’t fall short of natural beauty or great trout fishing. While the lake has no services, it is perfect for float tubing!
Intake II (8,103′)
Managed by Edison, Intake II (aka: Intake No. 2) is the lowest lake in elevation in Bishop Creek Canyon. Easy to fish, Intake II is heavily planted during the season with both pan-size Rainbows and large Alpers Trout. Although there are no services at the lake, it is known as a great lake for both shore fishermen and tubers. The beautiful campgrounds at the west end of the lake are very popular.
Hiking and Biking
Our area lets you feel what it’s like to really use your mountain bike, in the mountains, or on the miles of scenic level dirt roads along the canals and creeks in Bishop. Take a day hike or backpack on one of the many trails in Bishop Creek Canyon, leading to the magnificent high country wilderness and the John Muir Trail (permits are required for overnight stays in wilderness areas) where it is possible to hike from Mt.Whitney to Yosemite, some 210 miles, without ever crossing a road or seeing a sign of civilization. Call the US Forest Service at (760) 873.2400 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/inyo/for more info on Inyo National Forest.
South Lake is popular with hikers, backpackers and horse packers, with the trail head for Bishop Pass leading to hundreds of high-mountain lakes in the John Muir Wilderness. At nearly 10,000 ft., South Lake presents a breathtaking scene. The road to the lake is lined with pine and aspen and meanders along beautiful Bishop Creek. There are campgrounds, boat rentals, food services and lodging accommodations available.
Fall Color at Lundy Canyon
This is what everyone around here talks about when “fall color” is the subject. To get there, turn west from Hwy 395 onto Lundy Lake road, 45 miles north of Mammoth, and follow it to the trail head. A tip if you don’t want to climb 2,000 vertical feet: Drop a car at the trail head, then drive a second car to the Saddlebag Lake trail head off Tioga Pass Road, then hike mostly downhill through the great aspen groves of Upper Lundy Canyon.
You can find detailed descriptions of many trails in Genny Smith’s guidebook “Mammoth Lakes Sierra”. You can also pick up the Eastern High Sierra Fall Color Guide at the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau at 690 N. Main Street in Bishop.
Pack Trips and Horseback Riding
Most of the canyons leading into the High Sierra from Highway 395 offer horseback riding facilities. Gentle, mountain-savvy horses can make your exploration of the high country in the John Muir Wilderness even more enjoyable. All of your equipment, sleeping bag, stove, tent, is packed onto the backs of mules while you ride a horse through the beauty of the High Sierra. Pack stations offer picnic and scenic rides, as well as extended trips into the wilderness lead by professional guides who will even set up an entire camp and cook all your meals. For a list of professional pack outfits visit https://bishopvisitor.com/activities/horseback/
You can pick up a map of the many campgrounds in the Inyo National Forest, as well as private campgrounds around the Bishop area, at the Bishop Chamber at 690 N. Main. Most camping areas on the Inyo National Forest are equipped with piped water and flush toilets. Private campgrounds may also offer showers, stores and food service. You can compare features and prices at https://bishopvisitor.com/activities/camping/
More Public Campground information
White Mountain Ranger Station
(760) 873-2500 https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=20230
National Recreation Reservation service (for some USFS campgrounds)
Bureau of Land Management
(760) 872-5000 https://www.blm.gov/office/bishop-field-office
County of Inyo
(760) 873-5577 or (760) 873-8405
Rock Climbing and Bouldering
Tired of indoor climbing walls? Living in the Owens Valley lets you experience climbing the way it was meant to be. The Buttermilk Boulders and the Happy Boulders on the volcanic tablelands offer world class bouldering within a half-hour’s drive from Bishop. The Owens River Gorge to the north has become a nationally known sport climbing area. It offers incredible climbing terrain, with the predominance of routes rated between 5.8 and 5.12. Additionally, the High Sierra has some of the best alpine climbing routes in the lower 48, with both short and long routes of all standards. Bishop is the base camp for some of the premier climbing areas in the country. Several guide services, offering a variety of instruction and guiding, call Bishop home. Call the Bishop Chamber at (760) 873-8405 for information on guide services and instruction for beginners or call Wilson’s East Side Sports at (760) 873-7520 or visit www.eastsidesports.com for more information.
From a breathtaking desert course to alpine splendor, there’s something for each golfer at the five golf courses in the Eastern Sierra. Every one has its own individual set of challenges, and every one of them has its own and unparalleled scenery. From North to South, they are:
Snowcreek Golf Course
In Mammoth Lakes out Old Mammoth Road on Fairway Drive, is currently in the process of expanding from 9 to 18 holes. Snowcreek, is a par 70 with a pro shop, snack bar, driving range, putting range, chipping area, a bar serving beer and wine, club and cart rentals and twilight rates (after 3 p.m.) Tee-to-green distances are: Black tees –6,510 yards; blue tees – 6,196; white tees – 5,850; and red – 5,244. Call (760) 934-6633 or visit http://www.snowcreekresort.com/golf.htm
The newest golf course in the Eastern Sierra, and the highest in California, is located at 2001 Sierra Star Parkway (go SR 203 to second stoplight in Mammoth Lakes, and turn left on Minaret and then right on Meridian.).Sierra Star is a championship 18-hole, par 71 course designed by Cal Olson and includes a pro shop, snack bar, a practice facility, carts, club rentals, full bar and lessons. Tee-togreen distances are: Black – 6,708 yards; green – 6,617; blue – 5,980; red – 4,912. Call 924-GOLF (4653) or visit http://www.mammothmountain.com/MountainActivities/SummerActivities/SierraStarGolfCourse/
Bishop Country Club
The Eastern Sierra’s best 18-hole championship golf course is located on Hwy 395 at the south end of Bishop. A par 71, the BCC features a pro shop, restaurant, bar, and banquet facilities, and offers lessons, a putting green, chipping green and a lighted seasonal driving range, and early twilight discounts (after 1:30 p.m.) Tee-to-green distances are: Men’s blue – 6,613 Yards; men’s white – 6,072; ladies’ red – 5,462. Open to the public. Call (760) 873-5828 or visit https://bishopcountryclub.com
Mt. Whitney Golf Club
Is located on Hwy 395 just south of Lone Pine, where the views of the Sierra and Alabama Hills are breathtaking. This 9-hole course has a pro shop, snack bar, driving range, putting green, chipping area, full bar, club rentals, and carts. Tee-to-green distances for this par 72 (Ladies’ par 74) course are: Blue tees – 6,624; white tees – 6,376; red tees – 5,692. Call (760) 876-5795 or visit https://www.mtwhitneygolf.com
Furnace Creek Golf Course
“The world’s Lowest Golf Course” is located in the heart of Death Valley. This par 70 18-hole course, recently renovated by Perry Dye, has a pro shop, snack bar, practice area, club and cart rentals and a bar. Tee-to-green distances are: Blue tees – 6,215; white tees – 5,856; gold tees – 5,390; red tees – 4,724. Call (760) 786-2301 or visit https://www.oasisatdeathvalley.com/furnace-creek-golf-course/
The proximity of Bishop to Mammoth Lakes (43 miles) and June Lake (57 miles) gives us the best of both worlds when it comes to winter sports, with easy access to a winter wonderland of fun, without having to dig out of our own driveways! Information on all activities listed for Mammoth Lakes can be obtained by calling 1-800-MAMMOTH (626-6684) or by visiting www.mammothmountain.com, where you can sign up for snow reports via e-mail. Get more info on June Mountain Ski Area by calling 1-888-JUNE MTN (760) 648-7733 or visiting www.junemountain.com.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is one of the largest ski resorts in the country. With 150 trails, 30 lifts, 3 terrain parks, 3,500 acres of ski able terrain, a vertical drop of 3,100 feet, summit elevation of 11,053 feet and base elevation of 7,953 feet, Mammoth Mountain is appropriately named. Mammoth’s season is longer than almost any other resort in the United States. Although Mother Nature usually supplies enough snow for early season opening, Mammoth is fully equipped with extraordinary snowmaking facilities to ensure a perfect ski holiday. During the spring months of April and May, Mammoth offers some of the year’s best skiing. In heavy snow years Mammoth Mountain Ski Area may stay open until mid-June – sometimes until July 4th. Mammoth Mountain has three major base facilities, Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge and Little Eagle Lodge. Main Lodge and Canyon Lodge providing, full-service dining facilities, rental and repair shops, sport shops, and ski school facilities. Little Eagle Lodge has a dining facility, limited rental and sport shop.
Mammoth Mountain purchased June Mountain in 1986. June Mountain has two summits, both serviced by high-speed quad chairs giving fast access to all trails, with terrain for all abilities. June is a powder skiers and snowboarder’s paradise. June Mountain has some of the best powder skiing and snowboarding in California. June Mountain may not be as big as Mammoth Mountain, but it’s just as big when it comes to fun.
Ranked #1 Pipe and #2 Park by Transworld Snowboarding, Mammoth has been considered among the best for terrain parks for some time. Riders of all abilities will find what they need to enhance their skills. From the Family Fund Park by Canyon Lodge, to stepping up a bit more in the Unbound South Park, and finally riding with some of the worlds best in the Unbound Main.
June Mountain’s revolutionary terrain park development brings free-riding all over the mountain for different ability levels. The parks and pipes are groomed nightly, and terrain features are reinvented and reshaped all season long by JM2’s expert staff. Ride the Superpipe, the perfectly sculpted pipe that is making June Mountain famous.
Mammoth Mountain is unquestionably one of the finest Snowboard Mountains in the world. An average of over 353 inches of snow falls onto the 11,053 foot summit, making the entire 3,500 acres of rideable terrain enjoyable for all. The average snowfall allows for riding and exploring in between marked runs, or in the backcountry. Choose from half pipes, snowboard parks, natural hits, gullies, heart-pumping steep chutes, wide-open bowls, tree riding, or wide-open cruisers. Mammoth has everything from jibing to big mountain riding. Don’t be surprised to wake up to 2 or 3 feet of fresh snow.
Cross Country Skiing
While Mammoth is renowned for its world-class downhill skiing, its cross country skiing is among the best in the West. Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, located at Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, grooms 45 kilometers of track and skating lanes and provides lessons and rentals. For information go to https://www.mammothmountain.com/winter-activities/cross-country-skiing or call (760) 937-2442
Inyo National Forest
You may snow play anywhere on the Inyo National Forest, which is ideal for sleds, tubes and saucers. Bring your own sled but be cautious of boulders and trees! For a map on snow play visit the Mammoth Visitor Center/Ranger Station at the entrance of town on Hwy. 203 and ask for the free Winter Recreation Map or call the Mammoth Visitor Center/Ranger Station at 760-924-5500.
Rock Creek Sno Park
Rock Creek Road is plowed all the way to East Fork Snopark. You can enter by paying a nominal fee. Once there, there is a variety of areas where you can snow play and sled. Call the U.S. Forest Service at 760-924-5550.
Located on Minaret Road on the way up to Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge, Sledz operates a snow play area with plenty of inner tubes on hand. There is even a tow to get you to the top of the hill fast Call 760-934-7533.
Each year Mammoth Lakes receives some of the deepest snowfall in the west. The abundance of snow creates plenty of opportunity for snowmobiling in the area. Mammoth Lakes has 80 miles of groomed trails and 75,000 acres of open expanse. Take an exciting ride to Lookout Mountain, the Inyo Craters or Bald Mountain.
Historic Keough’s Hot Springs
Located just off US Hwy 395 7 miles south of Bishop, Historic Keough’s Hot Springs features the Eastern Sierra’s largest natural hot springs pool. Call (760) 872-4670 or visit www.keoughshotsprings.com.
The Old House at Benton Hot Springs
Located on Hwy 120 in Benton, the oldest town in Mono County, 33 miles north of Bishop via Hwy 6, the Old House has some of the purest hot springs around. Enjoy the natural hot springs in redwood tubs in a private outdoor setting. Call 760-933-2507 or visit https://www.bentonhotsprings.us