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Bishop Visitor's Center

If there’s a place on Earth that’s perfectly suited for backpacking, it’s the Eastern Sierra. The Sierra Nevada receives nearly 300 days of sunshine. Wonderfully pleasant temps in the summer as well as into fall. And on top of it all, you’ll find serene lakes with nary a person round. Eye popping granite peaks to take in. And an adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life. 

Where To Start 

No matter if you’re going for an overnight backpacking excursion or a weeklong tour, we suggest visiting the Backpacking homepage first. It provides valuable resources, tips on what to bring, where to get an overnight permit, and even a few ideas on where to base yourself. 

First Foray – Hire A Pack Outfitter 

We can’t say this enough – take it slow. Most of the backpacking trails in Bishop start high – at 8,000 – 10,000 feet above sea level. Adjusting to the altitude will take some time. If it’s your first visit or attempt to backpack, consider savoring the mountains, just as visitors have done for over a century. Hire a pack outfitter to enhance your experience. Not only will they provide valuable insights into the region, but they’ll also ensure you immerse yourself in the local culture. Gain a glimpse of Bishop’s charm by listening to Craig London, the owner of Rock Creek Pack Station, as he shares his passion for the area and its expansive natural beauty. 

Long Lake via Bishop Pass 

Distance: ~ 5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 Feet 

Even if you’re the fittest individual and/or know the great outdoors, the skill set required for backpacking is a combination of both. Start small. Look for low-mileage, moderate elevation gain, and avoid tricky trails filled with things like boulder fields. A good one to start with if you’re craving iconic views of the High Sierra is Long Lake. This short but challenging hike features everything from aspen glades, tall granite peaks, and a shimmering lake for camping. Once here, spend a few nights and pick from a multitude of trails or just soak up the atmosphere. 

John Muir Trail 

Distance: 200+ Miles
Elevation Gain: 47,000 feet 

On the opposite end of the spectrum lies the John Muir Trail. The epitome of what Bishop’s backyard has to offer. Spanning across the Sierra Crest and situated entirely over 8,000’ above sea level, most of the trail winds through the designated Wilderness area of the same name. The John Muir Wilderness boasts 57 peaks over 13,000 feet, including the continental United States’ highest peak, Mount Whitney. On average, this formidable trail takes over three weeks to traverse and should only be tackled by the most experienced backpackers. 

No matter your age, fitness level, or experience, there’s a way for you to enjoy backpacking in Bishop on your own terms. Don’t miss out on exploring deeper into Bishop’s expansive wilderness this summer. 

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