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Exploring California's Eastern Sierra

03.16.16

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Exploring California's Eastern Sierra

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  • An early start on the Mount Whitney Trail.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Looking west from Trail Crest toward Mount Hitchcock ( 13,184').- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Mount Whitney's infamous "99 Switchbacks."- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Alabama Hills is home to climbing crags and camping near Lone Pine.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Looking toward the Owens Valley from Lone Pine Peak.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Hiking above Second Lake, Big Pine Creek North Fork.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Dispersed campsite in the Buttermilks below Basin Mountain.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Bouldering in the Buttermilks.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Saddlerock and Bishop lakes on the Bishop Pass Trail.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Camping under a fall dusting of snow near Bishop Pass.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Lake Sabrina.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Fly fishing on the Owens River.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Wild Willy's Hot Springs.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Mount Morrison (12,168') watching over Long Valley.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • On the search for Eastern Sierra hot springs.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Looking west to the Sierra Nevada from Lower Hot Creek.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • The sulfuric pools of Hot Creek are heated by magma 3 miles beneath the Earth's surface.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Crystal Crag (10,377') and Duck Lake Peak (12,077') from the Mammoth Crest Trail.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Vista over the Minarets and Ritter Range.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Devils Postpile National Monument.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Carson Peak seen from Silver Lake.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • The Mono Basin lies just east of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • The boardwalk at Old Marina, Mono Lake.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • The trail from Navy Beach to South Tufa. - Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Bodie Ghost Town in Bodie State Historic Park.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Travertine Hot Springs near Bridgeport.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • The Eeastern Sierra's Sawtooth Ridge marks the northern start of the High Sierra- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
  • Bird's-eye view of Buckeye Hot Springs.- Exploring California's Eastern Sierra
Article
Team

California's Eastern Sierra is a fascinating landscape, a land where 14,000-foot summits descend to sage-filled plains, where the oldest trees on earth still stand atop wind scoured ridges, where geothermal springs pepper one of the word's largest calderas, and where limestone columns rise from an ancient alkaline lake. 

Found amongst and within these unique natural features is a region teeming with outdoor recreation opportunities. The Sierra's steep eastern escarpment is home to Whitney Portal, the gateway to Mount Whitney. A plethora of other trailheads provide direct, albeit steep, access to the High Sierra, including Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The Eastern Sierra is home to world-class rock climbing and mountarineering, countless hiking trails, renowned lake and stream trout fishing, and is considered a soaker's mecca for its abundance of hot springs. Year-round recreation is available here with winter activities plentiful around the mountain resort destinations of Mammoth and June Lakes.

Highway 395 parallels the Eastern Sierra and provides access to this remote part of the Golden State. The highway corridor and its offshoots connect the historic towns and local tourism and recreation communities of Lone Pine, Bishop and Mammoth Lakes with the populated regions of southern California to the south and Reno/Lake Tahoe to the north. 

There is far more to see and dig into than one could hope to do in a single trip to the Eastern Sierra, but that's fine, because this is the type of place one returns to again and again. Once you get the "eastside" bug, you won't be able to shake it.

To help get you started, we've compiled a list of trails, campgrounds, hot springs, climbing areas, ghost towns and more. Check out the featured adventures below, and enjoy exploring!

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