Over the years I have heard countless praise for the Eastern Sierras, but have never had a good opportunity to visit. Specifically, I’ve been itching to spend time wandering the highly acclaimed Hwy 395 (California) corridor, which travels from suburban Los Angeles northbound through Oregon before terminating at the US-Canada border. Over a distance roughly 560 miles, this scenic byway boasts some of the most beautiful mountains in the west.
I’d heard that the descent out of Yosemite along Tioga Pass can be a bit harrowing in tow. As this was my first big mountain decent with the Airstream, 12 miles of mostly shoulder-less, steep grade with just enough sharp turns included had me sufficiently stressed out. In end, the descent wasn’t too bad, but I was plenty happy to have that portion of the trip behind me.
Tioga Pass road officially ends at Hwy 395, but on a strong recommendation from my neighbor, we stopped a bit short of its termination point in order to spent a few hours hiking through Lee Vining Canyon.
Winding next to a small creek, the canyon trail connects a number of wonderful forest service campgrounds. Primitive, quiet, solar-friendly, and offering cheap prices (especially if you have an interagency pass), these campgrounds are a jewel. Given their close proximity to Yosemite’s east entrance, coupled with a fraction of the crowds, you can bet I’ll likely stay at one of these sites when I next visit Yosemite.
Arrival to Oh Ridge was about as easy as I could hope. The park was nearly empty and excluding the handful of direct waterfront sites, we had our pick of the campground. Oh Ridge is lovely and I’d highly recommend it as a “home base” for many excursions. Within an hour’s drive to the north or south, many day hiking options are available across a wide variety of terrain.
Having concluded a few nights at Oh Ridge, it was time to push about 1.5hrs south to our boondocking site north of Bishop. Using social media insights from other bloggers, we narrowed into a section of BLM land and snagged a great site about 15 minutes north of town.
I’d heard a lot of good feedback regarding the town of Bishop, but I’m still not sure if I can give a strong endorsement. That said, the surrounding area is A+ and for that reason, I’d highly recommend Bishop, less for the town, but more because of the abundant surrounding outdoor playland.
Also, there is a Ford dealer in Bishop, which provided me an opportunity to test-drive a new truck. I was very pleasantly surprised with the ride quality of the new diesel-powered F-250, which now has me thinking upgrade …