Bishop, California Has the Full Vacation Spectrum

From the peak of Mount Whitney to the depths of Death Valley—that’s how many options there are for things to do near Bishop, California. If that’s a bit extreme, here are a few more ideas: birding and fishing, cool rocks and hot springs, 4 wheel drive and all-star skies.
Prepared By:

Casey A.

Traveler, writer, editor

Bishop, California, refers to itself as a small town with a big back yard. We’ve always enjoyed spending time in and around this community, and we keep going back for more exploration. What really struck us this time was just how big this back yard is. So big, in fact, that it stretches from the highest point in the continental United States to the lowest point in the western hemisphere!

This story was created in partnership with Visit Bishop.

A spectrum like that—from the peak of Mount Whitney to the depths of Death Valley—could make it hard to decide what to do on your vacation to Bishop. But it can also be the inspiration for a unique trip! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Birding and Fishing

Lake Sabrina fishing in Bishop California
Lake Sabrina. Photo by Whitney James

From the skies above to the lake beds below, birders and fishermen alike can come together in Bishop. In fact, some of the spots that make for the best fishing can also be ideal for birdwatching.

The skies above Bishop host a variety of species, ranging from the year-round resident great blue herons to the migratory sandhill cranes. The season from November through May is particularly strong for spotting wintering species and spring migrants.You can find a full guide and additional resources from the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society here to fit your timing and your agenda in the Bishop area.

Meanwhile, the rivers and reservoirs across Bishop’s big back yard are boiling with trout. Depending on your angling style, you and your family will find the perfect fishing hole to cast your line and stock up on some fishing stories to tell back home.

Big Mountain, Deep Valley

california-bishop-gem-lake-trail-morgan-pass (8)
Morgan Pass Trail. Photo by Emily Sierra

Of course, you could tackle getting from the highest point in the Bishop area to the lowest in one vacation.But maybe there is a more mellow approach. Hike the Morgan Pass Trail to Gem Lake, for example.

Sunrise over Death Valley National Park
Death Valley. Photo by Emily Sierra

Or, admire views of Mount Whitney from Lone Pine as you make your way to Death Valley National Park. Whether you spend time at both or just one or the other, be sure to be fully prepared for the conditions—both settings are harsh in their beauty.

4-Wheel Drive and All-Star Skies

Eastern Sierra Observatory
Eastern Sierra Observatory. Photo by Whitney James

The entire Owens Valley stands out as a particularly pristine place for stargazing. A distinct lack of light pollution will make you feel like you’re lightyears away from your worries. To really drive home the point that you’ve escaped the chaos, take a four-wheel vehicle away from town to any of the top stargazing locations, such as the Eastern Sierra Observatory where you can even spend the night in an out-of-this-world pod!

Cool Rocks & Hot Springs

Rock climbing in Pine Creek climbing area

Just north of Bishop, The Owens River Gorge is a beloved sport climbing area, rich in rock climbing routes. But the climbing options don’t end there, thanks to the craggy valley walls. Fill your days with bouldering and bolted routes, then settle into one of several hot springs (we recommend taking advantage of the nearby campsites and cottages) in your evenings. What more could an adventurous traveler ask for?

Woman at hot springs in Bishop California
Photo by Emily Sierra.

Find even more ideas for designing your ideal, custom vacation in Bishop here.

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