Things to see and do in and around Big Pine.

Places to Visit & Things to Do

Big Pine Area Campground Information
Inyo National Forest Big Pine Canyon Trails

Rock Hounding
In the Eastern Sierra, glaciation, volcanism and faulting has created a landscape of exposed soil and rock. Wind and water erosion has also helped to expose mineral and geological structures for easy observation and collection.

Rockhounds can find a wide variety of minerals here: agate, amethyst, crystal beryl, chalcedony, flourite, gamets, geodes, gold, Iceland spar, jasper, lazulite, lepidolite, obsidian, trydymite, turquoise and more.


Fishing
Anglers will find countless waters to fish in the Big Pine area, from roadside streams to barely accessible high mountain lakes.

From opening day in late April to closing day at the end of October, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, creeks and streams abound with fourteen species of fish, including five breeds of trout: Golden, Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown and Eastern Brook.

Warm water fish include large mouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and perch.

Accessible areas are stocked regularly by the Califomia Department of Fish and Game with catchable-size trout all through fishing season.

There are many fishermen's trails along Big Pine Creek and streams run through most local campgrounds. Baker Creek campground has two well-stocked ponds.


Floating / Tubing the Owens River
Tubing the Owens River is a great way to spend part or all of a day for the whole family. Simply bring or buy an inner tube for each person. Most service stations in the area have used tubes available and can direct you to the best locations to begin and end your floating adventure. Bring a small floatable ice chest to carry food and drink and enjoy a leisurely float down a slow river in the sun.


Klondike Lake
Only three miles north of Big Pine, this small lake is a popular local spot for swimming, water-skiing, sailing and wind-surfing.

Big Pine Canyon
Big Pine Canyon is a narrow and dramatic glacier-carved canyon with family and group campgrounds located along Big Pine Creek. Hiking trails into the John Muir Wilderness lead to numerous lakes, streams, and high peaks. A pack station and resort provide public services. Big Pine Canyon is also the home of the Palisade Glacier. This ice age remnant is the southem most glacier in the United States. The largest of the glaciers in the Big Pine area of the Sierra, Palisade Glacier, is estimated to be about two miles in length and several hundred feet thick.

To access the Big Pine Canyon recreation area from Highway 395, turn west on Crocker Street in Big Pine and continue nine miles up canyon to road's end. Trailhead, overnight and day use parking areas are clearly marked.

The North Fork trail offers access to Big Pine Lakes and the Palisades Glacier. The Palisade Crest averages 14,000 feet and is a favorite as one of the finest alpine climbing areas in Califomia. The trail zigzags through a slope of sage, manzanita and Jeffrey Pine before it reaches the 2nd falls and follows along the creek to its headwaters. Hikers will pass a stone cabin built by movie actor Lon Chaney while walking through a forest of lodgepole pine. The main trail will take hikers past First Lake, Second Lake and Third Lake, which are fed directly from the Palisades Glacier, causing their milky turquoise color from the glacial powder carried down from the grinding and melting glacier. The imposing dark mountain above Third Lake is Temple Crag.

Fishing enthusiasts can find Rainbow trout in most of the lakes in the canyon, with the higher lakes containing Golden trout.

The trail to the Palisades Glacier is about one half mile above Third Lake. The switchbacks lead through grassy benches and boulders to Sam Mack Meadow. The final half mile to the glacier requires much boulder hopping and the trail is very obscure. Hikers can meander safely along the lower part of the glacier where the slope is gentle, but should avoid the upper reaches unless well experienced on ice and snow.

The South Fork trail climbs up beneath the jagged peaks of the Palisade Crest and gives access to the Middle Palisade Glacier. Along the trail are a few gnarled Limber Pines growing on the steep slopes below Willow Lake. The few lakes in the South Fork of Big Pine Canyon contain both Brook and Golden Trout. Brainard Lake is a favorite of those seeking to catch the prized golden.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Of the many scenic wonders found within the lnyo National Forest, one of the most amazing is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, located between 10,000 and 11,000 ft. in the White Mountains, east of the Sierra Nevada.

Easy Day Trips

From Big Pine

Marble Canyon - 22 Miles - Death Valley Road to Saline Valley Road, tum right. This mining area is dotted with old mines and remnants of miner's shacks. Some mines are still in operation.

Saline Valley - 60 Miles - Many hot pools and historic remnants and mines.

Joshua Tree Forest - 22 Miles - An unusually large stand of Joshua trees. Especially spectacular in the May-June blooming season.

Death Valley National Park - North Entrance - 34 Miles - Enter the Park on the scenic and historic Death Valley Road. Most of the roadway inside the Oark boundary is unpaved as of this time.

Eureka Snd Dunes - 50 Miles - The highest dunes in the country. Camping and picnic grounds.

Sulphur Pits - 45 Miles - This old sulphur mine features yellow and green sulphur chunks pure enough to burn and melt into red liquid when ignited. Use caution.

Scotty's Castle - 75 Miles - Popular historic tourist stop in the north end of Death Valley.


Driving to the South

Fish Springs Fish Hatchery - 6 Miles - Learn about the fish rearing process.

Fish Springs Petroglyph Sites - 8 Miles - Explore the art of the ancient Indians.

Wildlife Viewpoint - 9 Miles - View the Tule Elk herd at Tinnemaha Reservoir.

Black Rock Fish Hatchery - 14 Miles - Observe the fish rearing process.

Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery - 22 Miles - The beautiful and historic hatchery building and ponds make this the most popular site of its kind. Large trout in the pond may be fed food provided in vending machines.

Independence - 24 Miles - County seat and historical center graced by historical buildings, including the courthouse and Winneduma Hotel.

Eastern Sierra Museum - 25 Miles - Collections and displays illustrating the history of the Owens Valley and Eastem Sierra life in the early days of the old west. Old buildings and equipment. A National Historic Monument, this is the site of one of ten camps that confined Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Alabama Hills - 40 Miles - These fascinating hills and their unusual rocky formations have been the location for many westem movies and are highlighted by the Lone Pine Film Festival each fall.

Lone Pine - 46 Miles - Southemmost town in the Owens Valley features a Film Festival in the fall of each year, gateway to the Alabama Hills, west entrance road to Death Valley National Park, and is in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States.

Whitney Portal - 60 Miles - Turn west in Lone Pine, through the Alabama Hills. Trailhead to Mt. Whitney.

Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns - 57 Miles - Ruins of kilns used to make charcoal used in smelting raw ore taken from nearby mines.

Driving to the West

Big Pine Volcanic Fields and Crater Mountain - 3 Miles - Turn on MacMurray Meadow Road, just past the first bridge crossing Big Pine Creek. Explore this extinct volcanic area by truck, 4-wheel drive, motorcycle, bicycle or by hiking. Lava tubes and old mines and flora abound.

Palisades Glacier Trailhead - 10 Miles - Hike to Big Pine Lakes and Palisades Glaciers.

Glacier Lodge - 11 Miles - Historic resort, trout pond, and ranger programs.

Driving to the North

Klondike Lake - 3 Miles - This shallow lake has sandy beaches for the kids and is popular for swimming, water skiing and wind sailing. No fishing here.

Keough Hot Springs - 8 Miles - Natural hot springs for bathing.

Bishop - 15 Miles - Largest town in Inyo County. As the "Mule Capital of the World", Bishop features the "Mule Days" celebration every Memorial Day Weekend and a Rodeo every Labor Day Weekend.

Laws Railroad Museum - 20 Miles - Tribute to the "Slim Princess" and the good old days in the Owens Valley. Trains and authentic old buildings and equipment on exhibit.

Montgomery Pass - 60 Miles Via Hwy 6 - Nearest Nevada gambling casino.

Crowley Lake - 40 Miles - Favorite and traditional spot of "opening day" fishing.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area - 60 MILES - Califomia's finest high-mountain ski resorts. Lifts are open in summer months for tours to the top of the mountain and a spectacular view of the Sierra and White Mountains. En route, visit the Earthquake Fault and catch the tour bus to Devil's Postpile National Monument.

Inyo Craters - 70 Miles - Glass-like boulders of obsidian are a fascinating contrast to the types of volcanic material found in other volcanic areas.

Mono Craters - 80 Miles - These craters are considered to be active. Feather-light pumice rock is abundant in and around the craters. This area overlooks Mono Lake.

Lee Vining - 90 Miles - Picturesque hillside town at the intersection of Hwy 120 to Yosemite via Tioga Pass.

Mono Lake - 95 Miles - This prehistoric lake is the subject of widespread environmental concem. A new visitor center overlooks the lake and its large tufa pillar formations.

Bodie Ghost Town - 115 Miles - This authentic and impressive ghost town is the finest in the west, with over 100 standing buildings and no commercial amenities. It is well worth the drive. Be sure to take the camera!

Driving to the East

Owens River - 2 Miles - Zurich bridge area is popular for fishing, swimming and launching rafts.

Owens Valley Radio Telescopes - 7 Miles - Where the scientists listen to the sounds of outer space.

Toll Station Historical Site - 10 Miles - On the old Westgard Pass Road, now Route 168.

Sierra Viewpoint - 23 Miles - Most spectacular views of the Sierra from 9,000 ft. elevation. Maps and viewing scopes assist in identifying peaks on the Sierra crest.

Deep Springs College - 26 Miles - An all-male two year liberal arts college located on a cattle-ranch and alfalfa farm in California's High Desert, that prepares young men for careers of service to humanity. The school's 26 students, along with its staff and faculty, form a close community engaged in this intense project. It operates on the belief that manual labor and political deliberation are integral parts of a comprehensive liberal arts education.


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