The number one reason people visit Bishop is to RELAX!  Just a few hours drive on one of the most scenic highways in the world will deliver you to a place where work, school, traffic & the hustle and bustle are left far behind.  People relax in many different ways.  Some prefer adrenaline-pumping activities, while others take a more leisurely approach to unwinding.  Which one are you? 

Adrenaline Pumping Activities: Palms sweaty. Gigantic boulders looming. This is the land of giants. Not only is it the mecca for bouldering classics, highballs, and airy granite climbs, there are other opportunities to challenge even the fittest. So what’s on your tick list?  A road cycling loop equivalent to climbing Everest in three days? The Sky Marathon, taking in the great Sierra tour on foot. Or perhaps boot pack up one of the many 13,000 or 14,000 foot peaks that surround Bishop and have the most inspiring ski descents of your life.  Whatever pulls you to the Eastern Sierra, please practice good outdoor etiquette; leave no trace, stay on trails, pack it in/pack it out, do not feed wild animals, take pictures (not things) and sign your name to the Access Fund’s Climbers Pact.

The leisurely approach: Rest day. Chill. Indulge. Explore. Most hotels in Bishop are within walking distance of every resource a traveler might need: coffee, food, souvenirs, laundry, etc. Start your morning with a fresh-roasted coffee from Black Sheep Coffee Roasters. From there, work your way down the street to Spellbinder Books and Pupfish Cafe. In one building, you can thumb through books, shop from local artisans, and even get a heaping dose of avocado toast. 

Our definition of RELAX is Benton Hot Springs. This gem is a family-friendly resort, where you get your very own unique private hot tub with a campsite, bungalow or room at the Inn. Benton Hot Springs is situated 30 miles north of Bishop on US Highway 6, nestled in the rocky hills between the White Mountains to the east and the Sierra Nevada to the west, where the past and present meet in a remote, tranquil setting. 

Sleeping under the stars? Winter in Bishop, California is the best season for so many activities including the kind where you lie on your back and look up at the stars, with optimal conditions for night sky viewing. Our public lands are big and untamed, try creating good habits by camping in designated campgrounds.

A brilliant way to learn about the stars is at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO). This state-of-the-art radio telescope array, affectionately known as “Big Ears,” is situated just east of Big Pine, 15 miles south of Bishop. It is run by the California Institute of Technology and is one of the largest university-operated observatories in the world and hosts numerous projects in radio astronomy and cosmology. Public tours and lectures are offered regularly and this is definitely the place that will open eyes and expand horizons. A visitor could really ‘geek out’ at OVRO.

We have a wonderful, wild, big backyard here in the Eastern Sierra and we’re committed to caring for it. Together let’s:

  • Protect our public lands like those who came before us,
  • Preserve our public lands for those who will come after us,
  • Participate in taking good care of our public lands for all of us to enjoy right now, and
  • Perpetuate the benefits by taking Bishop’s Big Backyard pledge!

Whatever path that drives you to this small town with a Big Backyard, start your Eastern Sierra excursion is at the Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N. Main St. in Bishop.  Come in for free maps and brochures and chat with the friendly, knowledgeable staff, or call ahead (760) 873-8405. Visit us online at 

The brilliant stars and beauty of the Eastern Sierra awaits…YOU!

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