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Explore an outdoorsy adventure town with an artistic side

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Nestled at the north end of the Owens Valley just off Highway 395, Bishop serves as a gateway to some of the Sierra's most dramatic high country. This "small town with a big backyard" is a paradise for skiers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and anglers alike. With easy access to the breathtaking peaks of the Sierra Nevada—including 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous U.S.—this Inyo County town offers countless hidden gems for you to explore.

Things to Do Outdoors in and Around Bishop

As the snow recedes, Bishop becomes the perfect starting point for backpacking trips into the John Muir and Ansel Adams wilderness areas. (Obtain the required Inyo National Forest wilderness permits, along with helpful tips and trail maps, at the White Mountain Ranger Station on N. Main Street.) Sierra Mountain Guides offers a wide range of expert adventures, from ice climbing to ultra-light backpacking, and can tailor backcountry experiences to suit your interests and skill level. Other must-visit locations include the awe-inspiring White Mountains—home to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest—to the east and the Volcanic Tablelands to the north. If you feel the call of the water, just a half-hour drive southwest is picturesque Lake Sabrina, which offers boat rentals and great trout fishing. (Like other towns in the High Sierra, Bishop puts a priority on making activities accessible where possible; many of the rivers and lakes, including Millpond Recreation Area and Convict Lake, have specially designed piers that can accommodate wheelchairs.) Also, birders should take note: the lake is a good place to look for snow quail (technically white-tailed ptarmigan).

Bishop is also located along the fabled Eastern Sierra Pass, which runs from Death Valley to Tioga Pass, the eastern entry point into Yosemite National Park. The “highest, lowest, hottest, oldest, and wildest” 555 miles in the country, as the E.S.T. is known, is home to mountains, deserts, waterfalls, alpine forests, and more, making it the perfect road-trip experience.

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Art and History in Bishop

In addition to its natural wonders, Bishop has plenty to offer within the town itself. Stroll through the downtown area to discover more than 20 vibrant murals adorning local buildings, which showcase the rich history of Inyo County. Check out the town's events page to find out about upcoming activities during your visit. Train and Old West enthusiasts will want to check out Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site, which is located a few miles north of town on Highway 6 and showcases the agent’s house, depot building, and turntable, all from the 1880s, and a restored narrow-gauged steam engine.

Restaurants in Bishop

Bishop boasts a variety of dining options to retreat to after a day of outdoor fun. Stop by Erick Schat's Bakkery for freshly baked bread and treats, or indulge in a hearty meal at one of the local restaurants. Savor the dry-rubbed brisket at Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ, or, for a taste of old-school local culture, don't miss the famous pies at the Back Alley Bowling Bar & Grill or the handcrafted brews at Mountain Rambler Brewery. Before you leave, don't forget to stock up on elk, buffalo, and other unique jerkies at the original location of Mahogany Smoked Meats.

Lodging in Bishop

Bishop offers a variety of hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts that cater to a range of needs and budgets. Choose from well-known national chains, or opt for a more homey experience at the charming Joseph House Inn or the historic Trees Motel. If you prefer to immerse yourself in nature, Bishop also has numerous campgrounds and RV parks, such as Brown's Town Campground and Highlands RV Park, where you can enjoy the great outdoors under the starry Sierra skies.

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