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Central California: Hit the High Sierra along U.S. Highway 395

You’ll discover lots of great views as you cruise beautiful U.S Highway 395, which follows the formidable High Sierra as the mountain range thrusts into the sky to the west. Equally impressive are the small towns found along the way, which offer recreation and history in equal doses. Take your time as you discover the treasures of the Golden State running parallel to the Nevada border.

Drive 154.2 miles, 2 hours, 28 minutes

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Bridgeport

Starting Point

Come to play and plan to stay for a while in this unspoiled natural playground surrounded by pristine lakes, rivers, streams and hot springs. Bridgeport is famous for world-class trout fishing, hiking, horseback riding, trophy mule deer hunting, and more than 500 miles of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and dogsledding. Adventure awaits at the Bridgeport Reservoir, where water-sports, mountaineering and bird watching are favorite activities. Don’t miss the authentic gold rush ghost town of Bodie, frozen in time and boasting a legendary curse.

2. Mammoth Lakes

54.2 miles, 54 minutes

Welcome to Mammoth Lakes, a year-round recreational paradise that receives over 400 inches of snow during the winter, providing it with one of the longest skiing seasons in the country. Abundant snow makes it easy to hit the slopes and enjoy snowboarding, sledding, ice climbing, ice fishing and ice skating, but summer offers its own pleasures: fishing for natural golden trout, canoeing, kayaking, golfing, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountaineering and zip lining. For more adventure, grab a ride on the Scenic Gondola for panoramic views atop Mammoth Mountain.


Mammoth Mountain RV Park
Mammoth Lakes, CA
(760) 934-3822
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Bishop

42.1 miles, 41 minutes

Known as the “small town with the big backyard,” Bishop is located in the heart of the spectacular Eastern Sierra. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a hike among some of the oldest living trees in the world at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Fish for the area’s famous trout in a rushing stream or head to one of the greatest rock climbing sites in California, maybe the world: the Gorge. Photographers and artists will delight in the scenery and breath-taking views at Cardinal Village Resort, located at the bottom of Bishop Creek Canyon. Stand in awe of Native American petroglyphs, and then take to the mountain back roads for a scenic motor tour around the area.


Brown’s Town Campground
Bishop, CA
(760) 873-8522

4. Lone Pine

57.9 miles, 53 minutes

“Where the Real West Becomes the Reel West” is the slogan of Lone Pine, a film mecca established in 1920 and utilized for Westerns, space epics and historical adventure films. The Lone Pine Film History Museum is a treasure-trove of movie props, cars, costumes and memorabilia used in more than 700 films, over 100 TV episodes and innumerable commercials, all shot on location here and in the surrounding Alabama Hills. Discover the most famous characters associated with this town, where “Gunga Din,” “How the West Was Won,” “Bad Day at Black Rock” and “Iron Man” were filmed; it’s a must-see for any moviegoer. While in the area, set aside some time for the short trip up Whitney Portal Road for the self-guided tour of “Movie Road.” The route gives travelers a firsthand look at shooting locations of the many motion pictures filmed in the Alabama Hills.


Boulder Creek RV Resort
Lone Pine, CA
(760) 876-4243