Obsidian Dome is a geology nerd’s dream. Nerd fact number one: The eruption date for the area around Obsidian Dome is one of the best estimated eruption dates in the prehistoric period on the planet.
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.
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.
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.
Established in 1940, Kings Canyon National Park encompasses 461,901 acres of mountains and lushly forested land that’s accessible by car from Fresno via U.S. Highway 180 heading west. On the eastern side the closest large town is Independence just off Highway 395 and there are many hiking trails leading into the park from that direction.