Eastern Sierra

Eastern Sierra attractions

The Sierra Nevada mountain range is the highest in the USA and Canada outside of Alaska. The road to visit this area is Highway 395.

Attractions along 395 include

  • Bodie ghost town
  • Mono Lake
  • Devils Postpile
  • Mammoth Lakes
  • Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (with the oldest trees in North America
  • Laws Museum in Bishop
  • Petroglyphs: take highway 6 from Mishop, turn left after 2 ms into Five Bridges Road and 4 kms later turn right into Fish Slough Road (unpaved) and you'll find the Bishop Petroglyphs on your left (after about 10 kms), the Chalfant Petroglyphs on your right (after a further 5-6 kms) and the Chidago Canyon Petroglyphs on the left side (shortly afterwards, at the junction with an unpaved road that connects back to highway 6)
  • Keough's Hot Springs in Bishop: drive south from Bishop on highway 395 and turn right into Keough Hot Springs Rd and park by the second road on your right, the one marked "Wilkerson" (these are the free ones, open to everybody, not the tourist resort further up the road)
  • Alabama Hills
  • Manzanar concentration camp
  • Eastern California Museum in Independence
  • Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery (1 Golden Trout Circle, Independence)
  • Eureka Sand Dunes
  • Coso petroglyphs (The Maturango museum in Ridgecrest organizes tours or contact the China Lake Public Affairs office 760-939-1683 for free visits but you must be a US citizen because this area is on a military base, it takes the whole day and requires a military escort - click here for details)
  • Some of highest mountains in the continent: Mt Whitney, Mt Williamson, White Mountain, the Palisades, etc.
  • Lake Tahoe
  • The Union Pacific Tunnels at Donner Summit (1870)

Hiking the Eastern Sierra

  • Sierra Nevada peaks
  • For details on the hikes, see Hiking in California
  • Pictures
  • Links:
    Recommended restaurants (2012)
    • Nicely's in Lee Vining (in town, but closes early evening)
    • Jenny's Cafe in Independence (one block north of the Courthouse, pricey but big portions and tasty) CLOSED
    • Village Cafe in Bishop for breakfast CLOSED
    • Astorgas in Bishop for Mexican food
    • Imperial Gourmet in Bishop for Chinese food
    • Upper Crust Pizza in Bishop for Italian and pizza
    • Looney Bean in Bishop for breakfast
    • The Bakkery in Bishop is wildly popular for bread and dessert but a bit overrated
    • The Two Brothers in Big Pine for Italian
    • After the High Sierra Cafe closed in Lone Pine, i can't really recommend any restaurant there: they tend to be overpriced.`
    Showers (2021)
    • North of Lee Vining on the left-hand side is a campground (Mono Vista RV Park) that has showers for $2.50 (2012)
    • The store/cafe at Whitney Portal (the Mt Whitney trailhead) has showers for $3 (2012)
    • The Whitney Portal Hostel in Lone Pine has showers for $5 that include towel and soap (2020)
    • The California Hostel in Bishop has showers for $5 that include towel and soap (2020)
    • The Bishop Creek Lodge on the South Lake road has (expensive and brief) showers for $7 (2012)
    • The gas station and motel in Big Pine at the corner with Glacier Lodge Rd has showers for $3.50 (2012)
    Internet (2021)
    • Most libraries in Inyo county offer free wi-fi except Bishop where for mysterious reasons Internet access is rationed (only one hour per person per day in 2021).
    Gasoline (2012)
    • Bishop is a good place for gasoline, especially the casino north of town and the gas station on 168 west going towards Lake Sabrina
    • The gas station just north of Independence is even cheaper
    • One place to avoid is Lee Vining: most expensive gasoline in the region
    Camping
    • There are many campgrounds in the Eastern Sierra. Most tourists tend to get stuck in the widely advertised campgrounds near the towns but the best, quietest and cheapest campgrounds are to be found along the roads that go west from highway 395. Visitor centers and ranger stations have brochures with the full list. I don't list my favorites because i don't really want hundreds of people to congest them! It is also legal to pitch a tent at many trailheads (if they are inside the national forest).