Keough’s Hot Springs hasn’t changed a whole heckuva lot since 1919, when Phillip Keough bought the land, envisioning a health resort. The heyday of the hot spring, in the 1920s and ‘30s, saw the resort as a hub of Owens Valley society.
Every year, thousands of hikers and climbers beat down the Mount Whitney Trail. Weighed down by over-stuffed packs and 5-pound boots they trudge up thousands of feet of rock and sand to reach the coveted 14,505-foot summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States.
The petroglyphs in the Volcanic Tablelands outside of Bishop are one of the most awe-inspiring and intriguing things to see in the Eastern Sierra. Their locations are no longer widely advertised, unfortunately, due to destruction of some of the ancient art—if you visit the Chidago Canyon site, you can see where chunks of the volcanic tuff have been shaved off by vandals.
Dust off your cowboy boots, put on your hat and head over to Bishop’s Main Street - there’s only one - to celebrate Mule Days. Here, in the Mule Capital of the World, breeders, trainers, and riders from all over the world come to celebrate the rare creation of a jack and mare.
If you’re not into sliding down hills wearing two planks (or one, if you’re a snowboarder), there’s still plenty to do in the Eastern Sierra in the wintertime, whether you prefer getting your hiking boots on solid dirt or are into the awesome exercise of cross-country skiing (only recently did I realize that a NordicTrack mimics the whole-body workout of this activity).
For all the natural wonders present in the Eastern Sierra, there are almost as many breweries in which to enjoy a libation after your hike, ski, climb or (insert adventure here). From June Lake Brewing in Mono County to Mountain Rambler Brewery in Bishop, the odds of hitting a brewery close to your destination are in your favor.
Rusty, antique farm equipment bakes in the Independence sun and squeak in the Eastside winds. The old tractors and plows sit in the front yard of the Eastern California Museum. The exhibits start before opening the door.
The Eastside is rich in natural beauty, steep and dramatic that makes it ideal setting for the sciences. Whether it’s geology or flowers or testing Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity or looking for galaxies beyond the Milky Way and even dark matter, the Eastern Sierra is a giant laboratory to test theories and the study the world, and the worlds around us.
Mammoth Rock ’n Bowl is one of the town’s newest additions, opening up in TK. It’s got a more modern feel than a lot of the town’s establishments, with a slick bar downstairs and a brasserie run by French chef Frederic Pierrel (formerly of Lakefront fame) upstairs with epic views of The Sherwins.
As the affordability and access to backcountry ski gear improves, more and more skiers and snowboarders are taking their hobbies off piste—but it’s important to remember that, even in a winter wonderland, the dangers of venturing away from civilization are very real.
Ah, autumn, arguably the best season on the Eastside. The tourist crowds have diminished, the air has a bite to it, and the sky is an indescribable cool blue, set off by fiery swaths of golden quaking aspens.
Getting a coffee or drink at Looney Bean Coffee Roasting is like having coffee at your friend’s place. The music isn’t too dry, the couches are comfy and the WiFi connection is solid. The coffee’s rich, the tea is spicy.