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Distance / Elevation:  10 miles / 1900 feet / Counterclockwise

Start GPS Coordinates: 37°15’42.4″N 118°34’59.6″W

Directions to Trailhead: From Bishop, head west on Hwy 168 / W Line Street. After 15 miles, just past South Lake Road and before Intake Two, turn right into the parking lot.

Difficulty: Medium. Making three loops, this run is customizable. While there isn’t steep vertical gain, the challenge comes from sustained, low-angle running on soft or sometimes rocky ground. As this run starts pretty high, 8000 feet, snow may stick around higher portions of the trail until later in the spring.

Views: The classic Bishop skyline, Humphrey’s, Basin and Tom, above, and the Buttermilks below.

Known as the Pipeline, the run actually spends very little mileage beside the prominent water pipeline. The route makes up a section of the Bishop High Sierra Ultras on a combination of dirt roads and trails, and takes you through some diverse landscapes; from Bishop sage to burns, old growth and high tundra terrain.

Start out following the pipeline along the dirt road. After 2.5 miles, you’ve reached the north end of the run and already left the pipeline behind. Here, at Buttermilk Road, turn left. After another half mile, stay left when Buttermilk Road turns right. In another less than a quarter mile, you’re at the point where the run begins a 3 mile loop, so you’ll come back to this spot on the return.

The far point of the loop is marked with a wood barrier. That’s where you turn left, still angling uphill, just a few steps longer, before starting downhill and closing the far loop. When you’ve rejoined Buttermilk Road, you’ll only go another 200 feet before finding a trail uphill to cut back onto the dirt road you ran in on. While aiming downhill back the way you came, keep straight when there’s the option to retrace the route back to the pipeline. The next mile of climb will open up a stunning view of the Sierra. Then the rocky road drops back to pavement and a final quarter mile along Hwy 168 to return to the parking lot. To learn more, visit @sierratrailruns

Photos by PatitucciPhoto

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