Bishop brims with outdoor activities. Situated at the north end of the Owens Valley, with close access to some of the Sierra’s most dramatic high country, this “small town with a big backyard” is a blue-skied utopia for skiers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and anglers. Magnificent peaks—including 14,505-foot/4,421-meter Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous U.S.—offer countless secret places to discover, such as alpine stunner Lake Sabrina, about a half-hour drive southwest of Bishop. (Birders take note: Lake Sabrina is a good place to look for snow quail (technically white-tailed ptarmigan).
When winter snows retreat, Bishop is a common jumping off point for backpacking trips into the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas (Inyo National Forest wilderness permits required for some areas; permits, along with tips and trail maps, are available at the White Mountain Ranger Station on N. Main Street). Other great places to explore include the dramatic White Mountains—site of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest—to the east and the Volcanic Tablelands to the north.
There’s stuff to see in town too. Stop by Erick Shat’s Baakerÿ for just-baked bread and Scandinavian treats. More than 20 colorful murals adorn buildings downtown, showcasing the history of Inyo County. Before you leave, stock up on elk, buffalo, and other unusual jerkies at Mahogany Smoked Meats.
Snow-covered peaks in winter, gushing waterfalls in spring, wildflower meadows and glistening lakes in summer, vibrant colours in fall—this is a land of dramatic and wild beauty. World-class mountain resorts circling turquoise-blue Lake Tahoe, and at Mammoth Lakes cater to all, with scenic ski trails in winter and trails and vistas in summer.
Yosemite Valley…is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and gold and wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” --photographer Ansel Adams
Yosemite National Park, a World Heritage Site, is here, roughly 3½ hours east of San Francisco. Whether you hike a mountain, ski the steeps, or lounge in a hot tub beneath a canopy of stars, you’ll find your perfect getaway.
Granite monoliths, waterfalls, alpine meadows—it’s no secret that Yosemite delivery some seriously big wow moments. But what is a secret is the bounty of awesome things you can see and do on your...