One of the most fascinating drives in the continental United States (and possibly the whole world) is Highway 395 that runs along the length of California, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Whereas there is a gradual slope all the way from sea level to 15,000 feet on the western side, the range drops dramatically and suddenly from 15,000 to 3,000 feet on the eastern side, appearing majestically like a Herculean wall of barren rock on one side of you as you drive up or down the plateau at 3,000 feet that is Highway 395.
Highway 395 offers some fascinating places to spend a couple of days. You could base yourself at Mammoth Lakes, Bishop or further down at Lone Pine. If you are at Bishop, don’t forget to visit Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light gallery on Main Street. And if you are with kids, or not, drop by the Eric Schat’s bakery a few feet from the gallery.
From the ghost town of Bodie, the remote White Mountains with the oldest living trees in the world – the Ancient Bristlecones, the countless Alpine Lakes (Convict, North, Crowley, Lundy, Twin Lakes, the June Lake Loop – just to name some of the bigger ones), Alabama Hills, and if you are willing to dig further east, Death Valley – there is enough to spend a few good weeks.
But probably the best time to visit the Eastern Sierras are during fall, when the Aspen, Cottonwood and Willow groves change their colors and saturate your retinas. Typically, that would be 2nd – 3rd week of October, but keep an eye out for traveler reports on Google as the dates change ever so slightly every year.
We try to get to 395 every other year as it is one of the more relaxing vacations you can take – unless you are a photographer, in which case you are stressed with excitement. This year was our skip year, so here are some photographs to help us relive the trip – a day in the trip to Eastern Sierras during Fall.