You’ve got unlimited tickets to paradise, so pack your bags and leave tonight!
As a four-season, outdoor-lovers paradise, Bishop California is hard to beat. Throw in small town charm, friendly locals, convenient amenities, and a trip to the Eastern Sierra is sure to please.
Bishop is located in the Owens Valley at the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains – world-class climbing, California-best fly-fishing, epic skiing/snowboarding, amazing hiking and backpacking, and trail running are just a few of the opportunities this area offers. Great bakeries and coffee shops centrally located on Main Street adjacent to the numerous motels, hotels and hostels are a frequent staging area for the day’s activity. You can grab any last-minute items at several outdoor gear shops easily within walking distance.
Where to go depends on time-of-year and desired activity:
Climbing is a four season activity with bouldering season staring during the cooler seasons, sport climbing in all but the coldest months, and trad/alpine climbing from Spring through Fall. The Volcanic Tablelands (Happy Boulders) and Buttermilks are the iconic bouldering areas offering a range climbing from steep-incut to fingery, technical problems. Sport climbing in the well-bolted Owens River Gorge and at Pine Creek yields thousands of routes between 5.6 to 5.13. Trad climbing adventures start as crags like the Alabama Hills and Little Egypt dry out, and then explodes into the endless granite spanning the Sierra from Mt. Whitney an hour to the south to Tuolumne Meadows an hour north.
Hiking and backpacking is the summer mainstay. With numerous trailheads at 8-9,000 feet stunning alpine terrain can be viewed both by weekend warriors and elite trail runners. Viewing the night sky after a day of High Sierra backpacking and fishing is an existential experience. Fall brings an array of colors to our mountains from the golden aspens to the orange shrubs.
Fly-fish the Owens River in the winter for wild trout, dunk a worm or lure in the roadside creeks and lakes from the April opener thru fall; day-hike to Sierra lakes for hungry summer trout and maybe even catch California’s own Golden Trout. It’s easy to take the family fishing and even “catching” using the equipment and great advice from the friendly experts at the local fishing stores. Guys and gals that actually want to help you to catch fish!
Mammoth Mountain is the area’s main ski resort offering the most consistent deep snowpack and endless terrain options. For backcountry skiers/riders numerous canyons and roads provide access to some the steepest, most majestic alpine terrain. Local favorites include shorter day trips out of Bishop and Rock creeks but, in a good winter, descents can exceed 6,000 vertical feet, offering skiing from car to summit.
Mountain biking – especially with fat bikes – has become a more recent favorite. Several trails traverse the valley foothills on both the Sierra and White Mountain sides. The wider tires have revolutionized riding on the sandy substrate allowing rolling terrain and shallow washes to be ridden with ease.
At the end of a long day enjoy the convenience of down-town lodging, low-keyed restaurants with great food, and maybe take in a movie or go bowling if you’ve still got some energy left.
Stop by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center located on Main Street at the entrance to the City Park to have any questions answered. The staff there are long-time locals and can help you get to the classic areas and will even let you in on some local beta.