8 of the Best Hikes Near Bishop

Posted by | 06.22.2018
Lake near Bishop, CA
There are thousands of miles of trails around Bishop, many with views like this one. jar 


Sandwiched between Death Valley and Yosemite National Park, the small town of Bishop, California, is packed full of wilderness adventure. Home to what some argue is the purest and most-inspiring wilderness in America, residents and visitors to Bishop have countless outdoor adventures within miles of their front doors. Steeped in conservationist history, thanks to John Muir, the hiking around Bishop leads to stunning waterfalls, amazing forests, and breathtaking mountains.


With literally thousands of miles of trails surrounding the town of Bishop, finding the ideal destination can be as tough as scaling all the peaks of the area. Luckily, we have selected eight incredible treks, perfect for your adventures around this idyllic California town.



1. Evolution 100K

Difficulty: Advanced Hiker/Backpacker


Views are plentiful in the Sierra
Views are plentiful in the Sierra no matter what trail you are on. John and Jean Strother


The Evolution 100K is 55 miles of pure beauty. It’s a point-to-point trail, which means it will involve a bit of planning, and get ready for almost 10,000 feet of elevation gain and loss along the way. The adventure starts in Piute Pass as you descend to the San Joaquin River. Take a break by the river before climbing up Muir Pass for the next 16 miles. It’s not easy, but Muir Pass has views of the some of the most scenic and remote areas in the entire Sierra. At the top of the pass, check out the stone Muir Hut. Continue on and soak in the mountain views, bright blue alpine lakes, and wide-open meadows all around you. This hike isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s one you will never forget.


The trail starts at the Piute Pass trailhead at North Lake and ends at the South Lake trailhead. You’ll need a wilderness permit to camp overnight along the way.



2. Lamarck Lakes

Difficulty: Moderate Day Hike


Lamarck Lakes
The water is almost as blue as the sky. Marshal Hedin


Surrounded by high alpine cliffs and sharp, jagged mountains, the gorgeously-photogenic Lamarck Lakes are too pretty to pass up. With only 1300 feet of elevation gain in the 5.8 mile round trip trek, reaching these stunning watery gems will soothe your soul and entice further wilderness exploration. Lower Lamarck Lake, just 2.2 miles from the North Lake Campground (4.4 miles roundtrip), is extremely pretty, showcasing Mt. George Davis a few thousand feet above the glassy water. Upper Lamarck Lake is 2.9 miles from the campground (5.8 miles roundtrip) and offers a majestic view that will leave your jaw on the trail.



3. Sabrina Basin Trail to Midnight Lake

Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging Day Hike


Sabrina Basin
Midnight Lake is one of many pristine alpine lakes in the Bishop area.


Considered to be one of the best hikes in the Bishop Region, showcasing incredible alpine lakes and mountain views. Those who make the 11.8-mile roundtrip trek along the Sabrina Basin trail gain access to pristine, untouched wilderness. This trail is steep, climbing more than 1,000 feet in the second and third miles. Take your time, enjoy the day and keep climbing up over the headwall, as you will be rewarded with shimmering lakes and grandiose views of 13,000-foot peaks reaching toward the heavens. If you hike to Midnight Lake, you’ll also pass the stunning Blue and Dingleberry Lakes, each surrounded by glacial-covered basins and 13,000-foot serrated mountain peaks.



4. Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes

Difficulty: Moderate Day Hike


Little Lakes Valley
A view of Little Lakes Valley. Tom Hilton


Starting out at 10,000 feet, the trail to Gem Lakes through the Little Lakes Valley will leave you breathless for two reasons. Starting at the Mosquito Flat Trail, the trail to Gem Lakes works its way up Rock Creek, passing a handful of stunning lakes and breathtaking viewpoints. Gaining just 700 feet over the 6.9 mile out-and-back trail, this is a great trail to introduce you and your family to higher elevation hikes in the eastern Sierra. The views are incredible, especially from Gem Lakes, making this the ideal day trip or first backpacking destination.



5. Methuselah National Recreation Loop Trail

Difficulty: Easy Day Hike


ancient bristlecone pine
The ancient bristlecone pines are a unique sight to see. Chao Yen


Did you know that the world’s oldest tree is in California and can be found with just a short hike? Just outside of Bishop in the Inyo National Forest, an ancient bristlecone pine is accessible on a gorgeous 4.5-mile loop trail. Starting at the Schulman Grove Visitor Center, grab a guide to the region and stroll along the ancient trees and enjoy the fantastic views. This family-friendly hike has virtually no shade and is around 10,000 feet in elevation, so make sure to bring some water and take your time to wander among the 4,000-year old trees.



6. Long Lake

Difficulty: Easy Day Hike


Long Lake
The hike to Long Lake is a perfect intro. to hiking in the Bishop area. jar 


At just 5.5 miles round trip, the trail to Long Lake in Bishop Creek offers incredible scenery for very little effort. Gaining a grand total of just 1800 feet, the short and sweet trek offers more bang for the buck than is imaginable. Huge peaks loom in the distance, while picturesque creeks and a gorgeous lake reward you with wilderness perfection. Through lodgepole pines, the path enters the John Muir Wilderness in the first mile, getting prettier with every step. Jaw-dropping views continue around every bend, rewarding your limited effort on this classic Bishop Area hike. If you only have a few hours and want to be stunned by wilderness, this is the trail for you. Take the Bishop Pass Trail from the South Lake trailhead.



7. White Mountain Peak

Difficulty: Challenging Day Hike


White Mountain Peak
Will White Mountain be your first 14er? Joe Decruyenaere


Climbing the tallest peaks in America may seem like a tough adventure, but White Mountain Peak changes that. Standing at 14,246 feet above sea level, White Mountain is the third highest peak in the California and the 30th tallest mountain in America. What makes this place so unique is that it shows off one of the deepest valleys in North America, the Owens Valley, 10,000 feet below the summit. This is an awesome mountain to climb, and while it should only be saved for advanced hikers, it is one of the easiest 14ers to hike in the nation. At around 14 miles roundtrip and gaining just 2,647 feet, it is hard to beat this oft-overlooked mountain adventure.



8. Bishop Pass Trail

Difficulty: Challenging Day Hike


Bishop Pass Trail
Don't forget to take photo breaks along the Bishop Pass Trail. Ray Di Ciaccio


Climbing a series of granite benches that show off numerous lakes and ponds, the 9.6-mile trail to Bishop Pass is yet another incredible hiking gem in the greater Bishop region. Starting at South Lake and gaining 2,100 feet over 5.5 miles as you climb Bishop Pass, the trails works its way past incredible views before entering a moonlike landscape at 4.2 miles. For the next 1.3 miles, enjoy spectacular views of mountains and glacial-scoured granite valleys. Under the watchful eye of Mount Goode and Mount Agassiz, the views are breathtaking, memorable and worth the effort. This is a very popular hike and requires a permit in advance if you plan to backpack overnight.


Written by Douglas Scott for RootsRated in partnership with Bishop Visitor Center.



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