Bishop’s tagline is “small town with a big backyard.” Only 1.1 square miles are occupied by the city of San Antonio. However, outside of that small town, there are countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. You don’t have to get an adrenaline rush to enjoy Bishop’s backyard. Bishop offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, bouldering, hiking, bird watching, wildlife scouting, and simply pulling over to the side of the road to take in the stunning views.
Pine Creek Crags
Near Round Valley, in Bishop’s Pine Creek Crags, is a well-kept secret. There is a slot canyon off of Pine Creek Road called Pine Creek Crags, and it is a popular climbing destination for rock climbers. But you don’t have to be a rock climber to enjoy the short and beautiful hike up and through Pine Creek Canyon.
On the right side of Highway 395, you’ll find the trailhead for Pine Creek Crags. The slot canyon can be seen from the road, and two orange poles indicate the upper and lower dirt parking areas.
Due to the fact that Pine Creek Crags is not a well-known hike, you may have the canyon to yourself, as we did. A lone bighorn sheep was the only other creature we came across.
It’s a half-mile trail that winds through rocks and next to a gurgling stream. The trail comes to an end at a rocky ledge where rock climbers sometimes attempt to ascend.
Mountaineering At Buttermilk Boulders
The Buttermilks are well-known to anyone who climbs. There is a scenic climbing area at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains just outside of Bishop that is popular with climbers of all skill levels from all over the world.
Buttermilk glacial erratic boulders resemble giant marbles strewn about by a giant hand. Even if you’re not a climber it’s worth the trip out to marvel at the massive boulders and watch climbers in action.
Mountain Biking And Dirt Tracks At Buttermilk Boulders
Mountain biking is a popular activity in Buttermilk Country because of the abundance of dirt trails. There are also hiking trails in the area, and it’s a beautiful backdrop for photos. If you go in the spring, you’ll see a lot of wildflowers. Songbird nesting season is in the spring when the creek that runs through the Buttermilks is lined with willow trees that are ideal for birders.
Take Highway 168 West from Bishop for about 7 miles to reach the Buttermilk Boulders. After that, take a right onto Buttermilk Road and drive for 3.4 miles. Buttermilk Road is a rough dirt road to drive on in a regular sedan, so go slow or bring a 4WD. Parking can be found near the boulders.
Hike Owens River Gorge
Another more popular hiking spot is the Owens River Gorge. The Owens River Gorge is a steep-sided canyon created by the Owens River. The more visited trailhead is popular for both hikers and rock climbers. Just south of that trailhead is a lesser-visited part of the gorge, horseshoe bend. If heading north on Gorge Road, make a right turn where the water pipeline goes into the earth and go straight past the pipe to a dirt parking area.
Exploring Bishop Creek Canyon
Bishop Creek Canyon is a great place to camp while in Bishop, and it also has a number of resorts. Each of Bishop Creek’s three forks has a lake at its head, which we’ve detailed below, but even driving through the canyon area is a sight to behold, especially in the fall.
Summer and fall are popular fishing seasons in Bishop Creek Canyon. Even though the lakes are close by, you can also fish in the creeks.
Be sure to check out the Inyo National Forest website before heading out on a hike or other outdoor adventure to learn about safety precautions, such as being “bear aware,” and to obtain any necessary permits.
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
When you first see Bristlecone pine trees in Great Basin, you may think that they were bizarre and fascinating. Bristlecone pines are some of the world’s oldest trees, with some specimens dating back over 4,000 years. It’s a popular photography location because so many of the trees have become twisted and colorful over time. The world’s oldest tree, the Methuselah, can be found on the area’s self-guided trails.
Go to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest east of Bishop in the White Mountains if you want to see some amazing trees! If you want to visit the forest, head to Big Pine on US 395 south, then take CA 168 east to the White Mountain Road Visitor Center.
So we see that Bishop City is a really small town with a tonne to discover! Do visit and share your thoughts with us!
Also, check out the article on Weekend Getaway To Glacier Point!