What to do and see in Bishop, United States: The Best Places and Tips

July 23, 2017 Enriqueta Cusson

Bishop (formerly Bishop Creek) is a city in Inyo County, California, United States. Though Bishop is the only incorporated city and the largest populated place in Inyo County, the county seat is located in Independence. Bishop is located near the northern end of the Owens Valley, at an elevation of 4,150 feet (1,260 m). The town was named after Bishop Creek, flowing out of the Sierra Nevada; the creek was named after Samuel Addison Bishop, a settler in the Owens Valley. Located near numerous tourist attractions, Bishop is a major resort town; the town is a commercial and residential center, while many vacation destinations in the Sierra Nevada are located nearby.
Restaurants in Bishop

1. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

798 N Main St, between Big Pine and Deep Springs, Bishop, CA 93514-2428 +1 760-873-2500
Excellent
84%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 416 reviews

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Reviewed By Maria R

It took some time to negotiate the curvy road, but totally worth it. We started out on the discovery trail and were enthralled. Therefore, we also hiked the Methuselah. The description mentioned 2-3 hours. However, it took us closer to 4 hours, with resting, taking breathtaking pictures and admiring the scenery.

2. Laws Railroad Museum

395 Silver Canyon Rd, Bishop, CA 93515 +1 760-873-5950
Excellent
74%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 223 reviews

Laws Railroad Museum

Artifacts of the Railroad Era on display, from a Death Valley Railroad motor car to train tracks and historic buildings.

Reviewed By Morris E

My husband and I had gone by the signs for the Laws Railroad Museum many times during our frequent visits to Bishop but never really noticed the smaller print that said "and Historic Site". I'm not particularly interested in railroad museums myself so when my husband suggested we check it out during our last visit to Bishop, I was not expecting to find it that interesting. But what awaited us was far beyond either of our expectations.

It is much more than just a railroad museum – it is more like an historically accurate re-creation of a town from 100-150 years ago. There are about 30 separate buildings (many of them authentic originals) and each building houses interesting artifacts mostly donated by the locals. Each building specializes in something different – one building has only photographic equipment, another only kitchen items, another just glass bottles of all shapes, sizes, and colors. My favorite of the buildings housed a re-creation of a dentist's office, an optometrist's office, and a doctors office replete with old surgical instruments that made you glad to have been born in a more modern era.

You can easily do a self-guided tour because there are very clear and informative signs throughout. But there are also some very knowledgeable docents around to answer questions and help you understand/appreciate the exhibits even more. The day we were there we encountered an especially helpful and knowledgeable docent named Jay Smart who seemed to be an expert on not just the ore-processing mill where he was giving demonstrations but also local history and geology. We really enjoyed seeing the countless samples of precious and rare earth metals and gemstones he showed us that had been extracted from the ore mined in that region. There was another very friendly and knowledgeable docent in the library building which actually was formerly a church with the original stained glass windows and organ still there along with many other beautiful keyboard instruments. And books, books, books!

All in all, we think Laws Museum is a must-see attraction in the area and a great way to spend an afternoon- strolling about town from building to building instead of going room to room in a one-building museum.

3. Little Lakes Valley Trail

Inyo National Forest, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200, Bishop, CA +1 760-873-2500
Excellent
93%
Good
6%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 80 reviews

Little Lakes Valley Trail

Reviewed By 0garibaldi0

Aug 2017. You get a lot of bang for your buck in this popular, dog-friendly trail. I've been longing to do a hike in this area, but was hesitant knowing that my lungs don't handle high altitude well. I read reviews that said the trail was flat. This is not true. There are slopes and steps both going up and down (see my photo), and also flat areas as well. But I'm guessing this trail is still a lot easier than other ones that go into this mountain range. You can make this hike more challenging depending on how far you go and which route you take.

You'll pass by numerous lakes, but many people try to reach Gem Lakes as their final destination for a day hike. For someone who's altitude sensitive, and/or not acclimated, getting to Gem Lakes may prove a tall order. We didn't do a day of acclimatization and I REALLY regretted that. There's a lot of uphill hiking involved to getting to Gem Lakes.

Many hikers used trekking poles and I think it's a good idea given the steep steps and there's a stream crossing where the trail got flooded. People have been hopping on rocks to get across, which is doable, but it's going to be a lot more safe if you have a walking stick or trekking poles. Other portions of the trail are waterlogged but not difficult to traverse by stepping on the side rock barriers.

The mosquitoes are still out, moderate and patchy. Repellent was effective, but they will take advantage of exposed areas where it wasn't applied. I got bit on my thumb. Also a mosquito net for your head may be a good idea. Sunscreen and a hat, too. The sun is intense. Even though the temps were initially in the 40's, you don't stay cold for very long, so you may want to leave the jacket in the car.

Get here early to secure a parking spot - even better if you can come at dawn to watch the mountains light up in a gorgeous reddish glow. Morning is also cooler in the summer and you'll have less crowds to contend with. It started to warm up by noon.

If you are altitude sensitive like me, do at least 1 day of just getting acclimated, no strenuous activity. And go at your own comfortable pace when hiking this trail, taking needed breaks as often as you'd like. What's the hurry anyway when you're in a beautiful place like the Eastern Sierra?

4. Buttermilk Country Loop

Bishop, CA +1 760-873-2500
Excellent
76%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 28 reviews

Buttermilk Country Loop

With all the gorgeous scenery - like waterfalls, grasslands, and gorges - you won't notice the difficulty of the track.

Reviewed By Calitripgirl - Glendale, Arizona

If you want to experience color change in the Easter Sierra's then this is the drive for you. A beautiful landscape of orange, red and green will accompany your drive. The canyon along Bishop Creek goes up to 6000 feet. The drive is 20 minutes outside Bishop. Lake Sabrina, South Lake, North Lake, and Intake I I surround this area. All scenic and must see drives. Gorgeous views up to 13000 ft. We went the last week of October and it was breathtaking!

5. Keough's Hot Springs

Keough Hot Springs Road, Bishop, CA +1 760-872-4670
Excellent
33%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
7%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 81 reviews

Keough's Hot Springs

Reviewed By panamint-bob - Huntington Beach, California

We went to Keough's on New Years day. Outside temperature 40 degrees. I though it was pretty crazy going to an outdoor pool in the winter. Pool water was probably 85 to 90 degrees, very comfortable. Hot tub very nice and warm. Best part about the pool is that it is natural spring water. Constantly circulates and pool is completely drained once a week, so very clean and no chlorine required. Some of the freshest feeling water I have ever swum in. My kids had a great time, they want to go back again today. It was not as traumatic getting out of the water as I expected. Older, vintage facility, but well maintained. Good place for a winter swim!

6. Cobwebs Antiques

307 Main Steet, Bishop, CA +1 760-873-5161
Excellent
75%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8 reviews

Cobwebs Antiques

Reviewed By Stacey M - Fullerton, California

Nice antique store but the prices seemed to be too high. It is a small store which is cramed full of antiques so take your time looking around.

7. Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center

2300 W Line St, Bishop, CA 93514 +1 760-873-8844
Excellent
40%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
10%
Terrible
10%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 10 reviews

Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center

Reviewed By Ginnie P - Des Moines, Iowa

Really enjoyed our stop here. The museum is small enough to see everything in less than an hour. However, there is a surprising amount of information you will absorb in that time. The building and grounds have been beautifully restored and the exhibits are interesting and informative.

8. Bishop Pass Trail

Bishop, CA
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Bishop Pass Trail

Reviewed By Shelley W - Bishop, California

This hike starts from the South Lake Trailhead. From Bishop take Hwy. 168 west, turn left at the sign and follow road to South Lake. Keep to the left and park where ever you can. Walk towards the lake and you will see trailhead sign to your left follow the trail. At one point you will reach signs stating Bishop Pass Trail or Treasure Lakes. Keep to the left and follow the trail. You will reach another junction but keep to the right. The first lake you will enjoy is Long Lake. Take a moment to have a snack and take in the beauty. Continue on to your first stream crossing. Follow the trail on the other side. You basically keep following the main trail. There will be one more junction where you will keep to the right. From here on the views are spectacular. Lake after lake, waterfalls, flowers. The only thing is the switch backs that take you to Bishop Pass. The entire way is dotted with views of lakes and flowers. Have lunch at the pass then head down. Approx. 5 miles one way

9. Monument Bank

Bishop, CA
Excellent
50%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

For buffs of the Red Apple Railroad, Monument Bank, where the offices of the venture were once housed, is a find.

Reviewed By paws2purr - Bishop, California

OK, I can see the historical value but don't miss the forest for the trees. The old Monument Bank building is now home to Mountain Light Gallery which features the life work of well-known photographer Galen Rowell. Definitely the must see in Bishop!

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