Eastern Sierra Recreation
Whether you wake up charged to challenge Mother Nature or you prefer a more relaxed approach to appreciating natural wonders, plan your adventure with the Inyo County Visitor’s Guide. This dynamic Eastern Sierra region of California offers everything from hiking 14,496-foot Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental United States, to exploring the desert basin of the Western Hemisphere’s lowest point, Death Valley. Here are some highlights.
Biking Inyo County
An aficionado of the fat tire or slicks, cyclists agree that biking Inyo County is euphoric. Hundreds of miles of paved roads, highway, and dirt trails meander through Inyo County offering exceptional biking opportunities in one of the least populated areas of the United States. US Highway 395 through Inyo County is open to road bikes and spans 150 miles between the Eastern Sierra communities of Pearsonville to Rock Creek. Paved roads along US Highway 395 lead through Owens Valley and scenic canyons offering challenging rides with significant elevation gains. Death Valley offers popular routes at sea level and below.
Avid mountain bikers hone their skills in Inyo County. The open landscape of Death Valley is suitable for beginners and intermediate riders. Technical mountain bikers reap their thrills on expert terrain in the Owens Valley and high altitude Sierra Nevada and White Mountain wilderness areas.
Birding in the Eastern Sierra
The Eastern Sierra offers dramatic landscapes ideal for bird watching in California. Study a surprising variety of wildlife in Inyo County along the stunning 200-mile Eastern Sierra Birding Trail. Bird species you’re likely to see in Inyo County include golden and bald eagles, gray-crowned rosy finches, American dippers, Piñon jays, warbling vireos, sage thrashers, wood ducks, long-eared owls, shorebirds, and migratory waterfowl. Learn more with the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society.
Inyo County tops the list of premier fishing destinations among avid anglers. The Eastern Sierra’s hidden alpine lakes and streams, Owens River, Owens Valley tributaries, and annual trout derbies offer year-round reel and fly fishing. The California Department of Fish and Game stocks Alper’s Trophy Trout at various Inyo County locations. Anglers can also catch California golden trout, rainbows, bass, catfish, and crappie. Regular trout season in Inyo County runs from the last Saturday in April through October. Early-season fishing in Southern Inyo County opens the first weekend in March. A California fishing license is required to fish the Eastern Sierra.
Golf Inyo County
Your golf game doesn’t get much lower than in Inyo County, especially when you play the famous par-70 Furnace Creek golf course in Death Valley. Furnace Creek is the lowest elevation course in the world, and the only 18-hole golf course located in a national park. Golfers on vacation in Inyo County will also find year-round golf opportunities in Bishop like the Bishop Country Club.
Eastern Sierra Horseback Riding & Pack Trips
Exploring the Eastern Sierra on horseback is the perfect way to experience the untouched backcountry beauty of Inyo County. Enjoy an afternoon in the saddle or plan a more extensive multi-day equine adventure with specialized pack trips into such notable Inyo County destinations as the John Muir Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail, Onion Valley, and Bishop Creek Canyon. Horse around with the Eastern Sierra Packers.
Hiking the Eastern Sierra
Few places on Earth offer such diverse hiking and trekking as Inyo County and the Eastern Sierra. Here you can summit the tallest mountain peak in the continental U.S., Mt. Whitney, stroll past ancient petroglyphs in the Owens Valley, and hike below sea level in Death Valley. Spring is the optimum season for seeing Death Valley carpeted in wild desert blooms. Fiery Aspens steal the show in the fall when deep reds and yellow swathe the Eastern Sierra. Nearly 98 percent of Inyo County comprises uninhabited mountains and desert protected by National Forest Service, National Park Service, or Bureau of Land Management agencies. Lace up your boots – there’s much to explore in Inyo County!
Rock Climbing & Bouldering in Inyo County
People from around the world come to Inyo County to find themselves between a rock and a hard place. The diverse rock formations of the Eastern Sierra provide ample opportunities for exciting year-round rock climbing and bouldering. The Gorge, Buttermilks, Alabama Hills, and Happy and Sad Boulders of Volcanic Tablelands are a just a few of the world’s renowned sport climbing areas that you’ll find in Inyo County.
Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing
If backcountry skiing is your sport of choice, you’ll find some of the best North American descents in Inyo County, especially in the spring. Plan a multi-day trans-Sierra tour or click in for a full-day of wide open bowls and steep couloirs. Signature Eastern Sierra routes accessible from Bishop include the Wahoo Gullies, Elderberry Canyon, Mt. Tom, Onion Valley, Shepherd Pass, and Mt. Whitney. Snowshoeing is also a fantastic way to explore the Eastern Sierra shrouded in snow. Traverse expansive meadows or hike steeper terrain for incredible valley views. Have fun, but be safe. Click here for avalanche conditions in the Eastern Sierra.
Inyo County’s labyrinth of backcountry dirt and partially-paved roads leads to exciting off-highway adventures. You’ll discover natural wonders, hidden places steeped in history, and spectacular vistas. Inyo County’s Sport Utility Vehicle Routes are fun, day-long adventures that showcase famous Eastern Sierra landmarks such as Casa Diablo Road, Sawmill Canyon, and Alabama Hills.