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Existing as the sole incorporated city in all of Inyo County, Bishop is a small town in eastern California, high up in a mountain valley surrounded on all side by towering ranges. The town is named for Bishop Creek, a waterway that originates up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Originally, Bishop was home to the Paiute native people, before the westward expansion of the European settlers finally reached California. When the town was finally incorporated in 1903, it had become an agricultural area with cattle ranches and farms supplying the region with food and products.
Bishop has slowly moved away from its agricultural heritage over the past century, and it has blossomed into one of the state’s major resort towns. This old wild western town is noteworthy for its native heritage, with several reservations located nearby. A charming downtown area replete with saloons and other western-themed shops and businesses proves to be one of many attractions, but nothing compares to the incredible natural beauty of California. Inyo County is known for having some of the lowest and highest elevation points in the country, as well as several national parks and forests where you can camp or hike when you book an RV in Bishop.
Due to its isolated location, Bishop is hundreds of miles away from major cities like Sacramento and San Francisco, with nearby Fresno still a five-hour drive away. There are exciting events held throughout the year in town like the Bishop Mule Days Festival held each Memorial Day weekend.
Figuring out where to go first when you pick up your Bishop camper rental can be a daunting task. There are countless parks and forests surrounding the town of Bishop, so it's up to you to determine where you want to head off to. Inyo National Forest is only a few miles from Bishop, sharing a name with Inyo County. This majestic forest is full of impressive natural landmarks of all sorts, like Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. Trekkers can conquer this 14,000-foot-tall giant, but it is certainly not easy or for the faint of heart. Inyo National Forest is also noteworthy for being home to the oldest trees in the world. The Methuselah Grove in the forest is full of bristlecone pine trees that are nearly 5,000 years old.
Interestingly enough, there are four major national parks within a few hours' drive of Bishop, so you will certainly have a lot of options when you hit the road in your Bishop campervan rental. Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park both border one another to the south, with millions of acres of majestic forests blanketing rugged mountain ranges and deep canyons carved into the Earth’s crust. Kings Canyon is one of the most stunning canyons on the planet despite being overshadowed by the Grand Canyon in terms of notoriety. Both parks have ancient groves of sequoia trees that are thousands of years old and among the tallest living organisms on the entire planet.
Mount Whitney is the tallest point in the contiguous United States, and Death Valley National Park has some of the lowest. This park features rock formations in the deep canyons and crevices that date back almost two billion years and an assortment of sediments and marine fossils that provide evidence that Death Valley was once a massive inland sea. Death Valley National Park is also known for having some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded, so be sure to keep cool and comfortable in the heat.
You can't forget Yosemite National Park, the crown jewel of California’s park system, and an excellent place to visit when you rent an RV intending to spend your trip outdoors. Like many of the areas surrounding Bishop in Inyo County, Yosemite is a rock climber's paradise, with hundreds of sheer rock walls and granite monoliths that you can climb. Bouldering is a great alternative for those who don’t like heights while hiking to mesmerizing waterfalls proves to be a popular pastime. You can camp out in some of the park’s campgrounds with your Bishop motorhome rental, leaving you in prime position to wake up early and get your day started right.
California is chock-full of campgrounds and RV parks, so no matter where you rent an RV, you can normally find a spot to camp nearby. Highlands RV Park is right in town, with paved camping sites, a fish cleaning station, fishing areas, and restrooms. Cable TV and internet access are available at every camping site, and there is also a recreation hall within the park.
Crowley Lake RV Park is named for the lake on which it resides, and is open year-round. In the summertime, you can go fishing, swimming, and boating on the lake, and during the winter, you can go cross-country skiing or skiing at the local mountain resorts. Speaking of mountain resorts, Mammoth RV Park can be found at the base of Mammoth Mountain, home to one of the West’s most well-known ski and snowboarding mountains. There are hiking trails, laundry facilities, a playground, and an indoor heated pool for guests to use.
Inyo County and Bishop are both fascinating places with a whole lot of fun and excitement on the menu when you first arrive in town. Old western buildings and streets make you feel like a bounty hunter or outlaw while you stroll through town, and it is abundantly clear how much there is to learn about the area. The Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center is a fabulous place to visit, offering tons of insight into indigenous cultures of Inyo County and their story. The small but informative center has exhibits and guided tours showcasing native structures, homes, and artifacts.
Laws Railroad Museum is another historical resource in town, covering the interesting history of the railways that helped connect the mountain town to the rest of civilization. There are old train cars, vehicles, and items each telling their own piece of the Owens Valley story.
Keough Hot Springs is a fantastic place to rest and relax when weary from nonstop hiking in the forest. There are several different pools with varying temperatures of water, ranging from scalding hot to lukewarm.
The Inyo National Forest and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest have their very own nature centers, where you can learn about the oldest living organisms on Earth. There is much more to do and see in town as well, like identifying some of the filming locations used in town for classic western movies. The Bishop Mule Days Festival is a great time to see the town at its finest, with vendors, rides, games, and entertainment for all.