Situated amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes of California’s Owens Valley, Bishop stands as a captivating city that invites explorers to uncover its distinctive attractions. As both the largest populated area and the sole incorporated city in Inyo County, Bishop is steeped in history and set against a breathtaking natural canvas. This makes it a magnet for visitors seeking memorable experiences. That is why we felt the need to write this article about things to do in Bishop, CA.
The city of Bishop is named after Bishop Creek, which flows from the Sierra Nevada mountains. Samuel Addison Bishop, a pioneer in the Owens Valley. Positioned at an elevation of 4,150 feet, Bishop enjoys a prime location at the northern end of the Owens Valley. It is flanked by the majestic Sierra Nevada to the east and the White Mountains to the west.
With a population exceeding 14,500, Bishop serves as the bustling heart of Inyo County, far surpassing any other settlement in the area. The city’s strategic position along U.S. Route 395 makes it a vital hub, linking the Inland Empire to Reno, Nevada, and providing a direct route to Los Angeles via State Route 14 through Palmdale. Moreover, Bishop marks the western terminus of U.S. Route 6, adding to its significance as a transportation crossroads. Just west of the city, the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony is overseen by the Paiute-Shoshone Indians, preserving a valuable cultural heritage.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Bishop is a gateway to an array of natural wonders. The city’s proximity to the Sierra Nevada range ensures that adventure is never far away. Iconic peaks such as Mount Humphreys, White Mountain Peak, and Mount Tom beckon hikers and climbers, while the sight of Basin Mountain dominates the western skyline. Bishop is also located west of the Owens River, enhancing its appeal to anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Now, let’s explore some of the top attractions that make Bishop, CA, an enchanting destination based on popularity:
- Erick Schat’s Bakkery: A beloved institution among locals and tourists, Erick Schat’s Bakkery is a pastry and bakery haven. Conveniently located with ample parking, this establishment offers an array of delectable baked goods, pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. The friendly staff and efficient service make it a delightful stop on your Bishop journey. Be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds and savor the treasures this bakery has to offer.
- Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest: Venture east of the Owens Valley to discover the awe-inspiring Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Perched on the eastern face of the White Mountains, this forest harbors the famous “Methuselah,” a Great Basin bristlecone pine that has stood for an astonishing 4,855 years. Methusselah is the world’s oldest non-clonal organism. The forest is open from mid-May to the end of November, weather permitting, and promises a glimpse into the ancient past.
- Keough’s Hot Springs: Established in 1919, Keough’s Hot Springs remains a cherished retreat for both locals and visitors. Featuring the largest natural hot springs pool in the Eastern Sierra, this oasis offers relaxation and rejuvenation. The pool’s waterfall cooling system and hot soaking pool provide the perfect blend of comfort and tranquility. Enjoy amenities like sunbathing on lounge chairs, a snack bar, a picnic area, and a serene rock garden trail. Camping and RV parking are also available.
- Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site: Immerse yourself in history at the Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site. Situated on land donated by the Southern Pacific Railroad, this site is a testament to the region’s railroading heritage. Explore over 43 buildings, including three originals from the 1800s, and take a ride on authentic, restored railroad cars. The museum hosts family-friendly events, including the Laws Good Old Days, the Laws Museum Picnic Concert, and the holiday Railroad Express.
- Bishop Pass Trailhead: Adventure seekers will find their paradise at the Bishop Pass Trailhead. Starting from the picturesque South Lake, the trail winds through stunning landscapes, offering opportunities for day hikes and exploration. The trail leads to Bishop Pass, a gateway to the pristine backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park. Keep in mind that this area is inhabited by bears, so proper food storage is essential.
Bishop, CA, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Its blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and culinary delights ensures that every traveler will find something to savor and remember in this captivating city.