NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Highway 395 South Itinerary

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Our venture starts just outside the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, which is this trips first virtue. When the Yosemite campgrounds are crowded or full, there are options along Hwy. 395. Mono Lake has been noted; a nice place to spend a few hours admiring the tufa spires and being educated at the Mono Lake Basin Visitor Center. Saddlebag Lake, the highest lake you can drive to in the state(10,087 feet) is nearby. For the angler, Lee Vining Creek is nearby with access from the Cattleguard, Moraine, Aspen, Big Bend and Boulder campgrounds. This stocked river is one of many fishing spots in the area. Heading south, the next attraction is the June Lake Loop; you pick up Hwy. 158 about 5 miles south of Lee Vining and follow it back to Hwy. 395 6 miles south of there. There are several recreational lakes along the loop offering everything from fishing to family camping to resort living. Pine Crest Resort beckons those with a need for amenities. Across from Gull Lake on the loop is Reversed Creek, so named because it flows toward the mountains, not away from them. It is stocked with trout. Near Crestview the angler may wish to parallel the Owens River for a few miles and catch-and-release some native trout. Or fish for stocked rainbow trout across the road in either Deadmans or Glass Creek. Next up is Mammoth Lakes Basin, another multi-use recreation spot with several lakes, any type of fishing and boating and Mammoth Mountain. Devils Postpile National Monument lies just to the west, along with Sotcher Lake and several hike-to lakes. The middle fork of the San Joaquin River is also in the neighborhood. Moving right along, you will encounter Convict Lake and Crowley Lake to satisfy your boating and fishing needs, along with McGee Creek. A short detour takes you along Rock Creek Road with many campsites and Rock Creek Lake as the prize. Further along comes Pleasant Valley Reservoir as you enter Inyo County. Take a short breather in Bishop before detouring slightly by driving west on Hwy. 168 along Bishop Creek (stocked with trout- along with Little Bishop Creek) to a trio of lakes, North, South and Lake Sabrina. All offer trout fishing at about 9,000 feet and some nice camping options. Next up: Mt. Whitney. At 14,497 feet she will test your resolve, and your endurance. A wilderness permit is mandatory; a respirator an option. Climb to the peak, or just say you did. Lots of camping and hiking options in this neighborhood. Click the link for Hwy. 395 campgrounds for a selection. Our last stop is Lone Pine, a nice little town. The hills around Lone Pine have been a Hollywood favorite, serving as a backdrop to all manner of "westerns" dating back to the days before TV's discovered color. Have a cocktail and kick around the concept of why anybody would agree to be called Hopalong. Nearby Lake Diaz provides a place to sleep if you are continuing on to Death Valley National Park, a highly recommended option unless it is summer. If so, go home.