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Bishop

Bishop
Explore an outdoor adventure town with an artistic side

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 hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and anglers. Magnificent peaks—including 14,505-foot 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 south-west 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. At Mountain Light Gallery, see the works of the late Galen Rowell, revered as one of the world’s finest alpine photographers. Stop by Erick Schat’s Bakkery for just-baked bread and treats. More than 20 colourful murals adorn buildings in the town centre, showcasing the history of Inyo County. Before you leave, stock up on elk, buffalo and other unusual jerkies at Mahogany Smoked Meats.

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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the High Sierra

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15
July
Average (°C)
June - Aug
22°
High
5°
Low
Sept - Nov
18°
High
-4°
Low
Dec - Feb
3°
High
-7°
Low
Mar - May
12°
High
-5°
Low

Snow-covered peaks in winter, gushing waterfalls in spring, wild flower meadows and glistening lakes in the summer, vibrant colours in the autumn, this is a land of dramatic and wild beauty. World class mountain resorts circling turquoise blue water, both Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes cater to all, with scenic ski trails in winter and trails and views 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, about three-and-a-half  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 will find your perfect getaway. 

 

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At 14,505 ft. above sea level, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Family-friendly resorts, snowy escapes

High Sierra peaks, deep drifts on a Mammoth volcano, family friendly resorts, snowy escapes on the edge of Yosemite and more - California has enough alpine destinations to keep any skier or...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Relax after a day on the slopes

Kicking back after you kick off your boots is a snow-country tradition, and there’s plenty of post-slopes fun at California’s top alpine resorts. Have a beer or warm up with an Irish coffee, dance...

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Jeff Enegerbretson
Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.
Ansel Adams
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Trip 6-7 days 10 stops

Sierra Adventure

Granite peaks, alpine valleys, towering trees-the High Sierra is nature's playground all year-round
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Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California Nevada border is a must, a place where the air is 'very pure and fine...it is the same the angels breathe,' according to author Mark Twain. Lake front towns dot the shoreline, each with their own appeal...

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On your way to this park, save time to visit the charming Gold Country town of Murphys (a great place for wine tasting and innovative dining along the town’s main street). Then continue north and east to discover peaceful groves of giant sequoias at this under-the-radar park. Established...

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Alex Farnum

Spotlight: Lake Tahoe

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Majestic Peaks, Bucket-List Essential

Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border is a bucket list essential. Where else...

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Rebecca Garrett

Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes

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Snowy winters, wildflower summers

Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, folks in this laid-back mountain town know they’ve got a good thing going. It’s a land of...

As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.
Mark Twain (recalling his first sighting of Lake Tahoe)
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Kodiak Greenwood

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Visit bizarre formations, cinder cones and a super-salty lake

There are few places in California—and maybe on the planet—that can make you think you might just be on Mars. This is one of them. At this high-...

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Kodiak Greenwood

Bodie

Tour the eerie remnants of a former boomtown

There's something eerily appropriate about bumping down the dusty desert road that winds the final few miles into Bodie State Historic Park. Round...

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Alex Farnum

Guided Adventures

Learn to climb, join a pack trip, and more

While there are plenty of ways to play on your own in the High Sierra, there’s a whole host of ways to learn a new activity, like how to catch and...

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Lucas Himovitz

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Look up at (and learn about) amazing giant sequoias

Established in 1931 to preserve a stunning stand of giant sequoias, this park offers one of the easiest places to see these towering trees. Head...

SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
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The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Gold Rush history, epic high-country landscapes, hidden wine country, and charming country towns

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...

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Mammoth Chambers of Commerce

Manzanar National Historic Site

Learn about a sobering time in U.S. history

During World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans were moved from their homes throughout the West and brought to internment camps like Manzanar...

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Jeff Mosers/ Flickr

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Soak in naturally heated mineral pools

Nestled in a notch of the High Sierra about an hour’s drive south-east of Lake Tahoe, mineral springs bubble up from the earth, a testament to the...

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Room/Getty Images

Lone Pine

Discover the natural beauty and another side of California in a historic Owens Valley small town

Head to Lone Pine to see a different side of California—one that is less...