Mountain Lakes Near Bishop

Lone Pine, CA

On our last full day in Bishop we decided to drive north for a hike on the Little Lakes Valley Trail which begins near the Mosquito Flats Campground.  To get to the trailhead we drove north on US-395 for about twenty-two miles and turned west on to Rock Creek Road at the Tom’s Place exit.  The clouds hanging over the mountains created a great scene as we drove north.

As we headed up Rock Creek Road the sky became quite dark and a light rain began to fall.

But you gain about three thousand feet of elevation on this road so as we continued, we eventually broke through the clouds and the sky cleared.

Once we arrived at the trailhead we realized that we had made a serious mistake.  When we left the motorhome we were dressed for a hike at that elevation (about 4,100′).  But the hike begins at an elevation of about 10,000 ft!  Now, this is not the first time we have hiked at that elevation, and we know that the temperature drops sharply as you go up that high.  When we left Bishop the temperature was in the mid-60s.  When we arrived at the trailhead, the temperature was 44 degrees with a moderate wind and a low cloud hanging in the canyon…no sun.  There we were, sitting in the Jeep with shorts on and carrying only a light jacket.  We know better!  Other people preparing for the hike were dressed in long pants, winter jackets, hats, gloves, etc.  OK, no way we are doing this hike!

The view heading back down Rock Creek Road

Aspens surround a camp near the road

As we drove back down to Bishop we quickly developed “plan B” and headed back to the motorhome to put on a few more articles of clothing.  Once properly dressed for a high elevation hike we drove out of Bishop on Rte. 168 going up a scenic canyon headed for Lake Sabrina.  Lake Sabrina is a lake created by damming the middle fork of Bishop Creek.   The dam was built in 1908 to supply a constant flow of water to the hydraulic power plants located along the creek.  Like the rest of California, the lake is showing the effects of the extended drought.  

Lake Sabrina

There is a trail that goes along the hillside on the far side of the lake.  It begins a ways down the road from the parking area we were in, so we walked across the dam and scrambled up the other side to find it.

We enjoyed great views of the mountains surrounding the lake as we hiked.

Lunch with a view

We hiked up the trail for about two miles when a light rain began to fall.  Rather than risk the chance of the weather deteriorating we decided to turn around and head back.

Lake Sabrina Dam

Once back at the Jeep we headed down the road a bit before turning on a narrow dirt road leading to North Lake.  The Aspens lit up the road along the way.

North Lake

We woke up Sunday morning to a steady rain.  Since we don’t travel in the rain it looked like we would be spending another day in Bishop, but mid-morning the rain stopped and the sky cleared.  This allowed us to pack up and head further south down US-395 to the town of Lone Pine.  The rain in Bishop was snow at high elevations, giving the mountains on either side of us a nice covering of white.

Looking to the east . . .

. . . and to the west

After a drive of just sixty miles we pulled into Boulder Creek RV Park just behind Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) and set up in our site next to them.  The view to the east and west of us is quite beautiful.

Looking to the east . . .

. . . and the west

The Lone Pine area is filled with interesting things to do and see.  We paid for a week in our site but have the option to extend our stay if we want to stay longer.   With the arch-filled Alabama Hills just around the corner a few more days may be necessary.

More on that later . . .

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20 Responses to Mountain Lakes Near Bishop

  1. Sue says:

    Great pictures of your time around Sabrina Lake. You wouldn’t have seen it if you had dressed properly in the first place! Things work out…..

  2. The Aspens are spectacular! Sp glad you were able to have such a beautiful hike after going to plan B!

  3. pmbweaver says:

    Those clouds make the photo!
    I love seeing the Aspens. No fall color here in Florida but green…lol

    There would be no way Paul would have driven back, put on more clothes and drive back to the trail. He would have said…Suck it up. We came this far, we are hiking! Maybe he would have gotten a few yards, got back in the car, and called it a day…lol

    Looks like your new site is a great one. I love the view. Enjoy the area.

  4. Gay says:

    Breathtaking…those are some beautiful pictures! Looks like you are there for the perfect leaf peeping colors. The views around the lake with the lighting and spots of yellow trees is quite the sight! I’m enjoying your trip!

  5. You sure are getting some stunning scenery! I bet it is cold at night!

    • placestheygo says:

      Actually, Lisa, our temps have been pretty even. The days are in the high 60’s and nights in high 40’s and low 50’s. So we seem to have perfect weather, except for the wind yesterday and today, but a sunny sky:) The scenery is spectacular:)

  6. Nancy says:

    The foliage and the views and the trails and YOUR FEET! Spectacular!
    The Aspens are so pretty. We went up to Jerome a few days ago and enjoyed all the Aspen Color! So enjoy looking at the fall colors… !! We are truly blessed with God’s Painted Art of Nature!

  7. jcgc50 says:

    Too bad you missed the Little Lakes Valley trail. It was one of our favorites and in fact we hiked there twice. Nothing wrong with Lake Sabrina, though, and all those beautiful aspens.
    Enjoy the Alabama Hills! Be sure to hike to the Ashram.

  8. Jodee Gravel says:

    We loved the Lake Sabrina drive, those Aspens were incredible. Love the pics from around the lake, something about the little bit of color among those harsh rocks that really grabbed me. Bill found “Sue’s” fish too :-)))))

  9. Janna says:

    Looks like you found some fall color too!

  10. Laurel says:

    Beautiful aspens, sky, and clouds!! So glad you saved your adventure with a hike to Sabrina Lake — I’d love to hike that another time. We hiked the Little Lakes trail yesterday and it was 34 degrees when we started — brrrr!!! I needed several layers and gloves to stay warm, even hiking steadily for five hours! It was definitely worth it, but I wouldn’t have wanted to hike it in the rain. See you today, I hope! 🙂

  11. Looks like good snuggling weather. Great pictures. We have extra jackets and a few things in the back of our pickup. Sometimes that isn’t enough.

  12. We were at Lake Sabrina about a year ago. During the season, there is a couple who run the store at the north end of the dam. Daily, she makes fresh berry and apple pies that are to die for. An unlikely location for such treats. That is a beautiful high mountain lake, and I love that you can drive right up to it.

  13. Pam says:

    Looks like you hit the right time of year to visit the Bishop area, all those aspens are stunning.

  14. I think you need to go back there, I have not seen a picture of Convict Laken nor the June Lake Loop! Hmm was it weather that stopped you?
    But you did catch some glowing aspens, its beautiful out there!

    • placestheygo says:

      MonaLiza, we did the June Lake Loop and a hike near the end of it. You must have missed it. We did that Loop while we were in Lee Vining. We didn’t do Convict Lake. There are so many lakes and after a while they all look the same:)

  15. LuAnn says:

    Such beautiful photos of the aspens, the mountains, and the sky. This area could be one of my favorite in the country.

  16. Pingback: #400 « The Sophomore Slump

  17. Amy says:

    Thank you for taking us there. Fabulous photos! Rommel’s #400 brought me here. 🙂

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