Inyo National Forest

Quick Facts

Inyo National Forest

California

(760) 873-2400

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Located in California's beautiful Eastern Sierra and extending 165 miles along the California/Nevada border between Los Angeles and Reno, the Inyo National Forest offers clean air, crystal blue skies, mountain lakes and streams, challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and beautiful views. With over two million acres, the Inyo National Forest is home to many natural wonders, including Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, as well as nine Congressionally-designated Wildernesses, comprising over 800,000 acres of land. Elevations range from 4,000 to 14,495 feet, providing diverse habitats that support vegetation patterns ranging from semi-arid deserts to alpine fell-fields.

Recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, equestrian use, and off-highway vehicle use. Two ski resorts offer alpine skiing and snowboarding; over 100 miles of trails groomed for multiple purpose winter use (snowmobile, skiing, and hiking), and approximately 45 miles of trails groomed for cross-country skiing.

Map of Inyo Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 37.835819, -118.287048

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Road cycling in the Inyo National Forest often entails steep, grueling hill climbs, rewarding your efforts with breathtaking views, but if you're up for something a little less intense, the neighboring lands provide ample opportunities for gentler riding -and are just as scenic! Mountain biking is also a very popluar activity in Inyo. The Inyo National Forest offers a variety of challenging single track and unimproved Forest Service roads to satisfy mountain bikers of all ages and abilities.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Scenic driving is a very popular activity in the Inyo National Forest. Hundreds of miles of roads with diverse vegetation and immense mountains are in view while driving in throughout the forest.

  • Camping

    There are 107 campgrounds and picnic areas with over 2,300 individual sites. Also, many resorts and several pack stations operate on the Inyo National Forest under special use permits. Most of the land in Inyo and Mono counties is publicly owned. Dispersed camping (camping outside of designated campgrounds) is allowed throughout much of the area. If you plan to backpack into a wilderness area to camp, you will need a wilderness permit; contact a ranger station to obtain one.

  • Fishing

    There are over 400 lakes on the Inyo National Forest. Many are home to rainbow, brook, brown and golden trout. There are also over 1,100 miles of rivers and streams on the Inyo National Forest. For information about fishing licenses, limits and seasons contact the California Department of Fish & Game.

  • Hiking

    There are hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails available to hike in the Forest. Difficulty ranges from easy to very difficult/technical. Make sure to be prepared for all weather conditions. When it is free of snow, from approximately July to October, the Mount Whitney Trail provides a non-technical, but strenuous, route to the summit of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

  • Historic Sites

    There are four visitor centers on the forest: The Mono Lake Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes, the White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop and the Intergency Visitor Center in Lone Pine. You will find helpful employees to answer your questions, give you directions and forest information and issue permits for firewood, campfires and wilderness travel. Each visitor center has cultural and natural history displays, recreational opportunity guides and tourist information. The centers are open 7 days a week during the summer.

  • Horseback Riding

    There is a long tradition of horses and mules helping visitors reach the high country at Inyo. Horses are allowed on most trails and in most areas but are off limits in others.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is a popular activity on the Inyo National Forest and in adjacent areas. Species include mule deer, chukar, quail, grouse, dove and waterfowl. For information about licenses, species and seasons contact the California Department of Fish & Game.

  • Picnicking

    With 107 campgrounds and picnic areas there are many opportunities throughout the forest for picnicking.

  • RVing

    RV camping areas are located in the Mammoth Lakes and Mono Lake Ranger Districts. Facilities and services are available.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The ridges, slopes, lakes basins and valleys of the Inyo National Forest are so infinitely varied that visitors will find endless opportunities for nature viewing. It is a land of extremes, from hot desert sagebrush country to lush, green meadows, icy lakes, towering pines and granite ridgelines; choose a climate zone and the Inyo will not disappoint. The contrast in elevation, from 5,000-foot bajadas to 14,000-foot summits, supports diverse populations of plants and animals. Head out on foot on any of the forest's hiking trails to see what nature is capable of producing.

  • Winter Sports

    The fun doesn`t stop when winter begins! Winter activities on the Inyo National Forest include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, snowmobiling, dog mushing, mountaineering, ice climbing and more! Elevations on the forest above 7,000 feet typically have snow from November through April, with the higher elevations holding snow until July. Many roads into the forest close during the winter, but the gate is where the snow and the fun begin!

Seasonality/Weather

Elevations on the forest above 7,000 feet typically have snow from November through April, with the higher elevations holding snow until July. Many roads into the forest close during the winter.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

Travel US Highway 395 to Bishop, California to reach the forest.

Flying

The forest is located less than a four-hour drive from Reno, NV and a six-hour drive from the greater Sacramento area

Public Transportation

Traveling to the Eastern Sierra If you live outside the Eastern Sierra, there are public transportation options from most major cities that provide service to Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, and the other communities of the Eastern Sierra.

From Reno:

Eastern Sierra Transit's CREST service offers transportation from Reno's airport and Greyhound Station to Lone Pine, CA, with stops in most communities in between.

From Los Angeles:

Metrolink's Antelope Valley Line offers service from Downtown Los Angeles to Lancaster, CA. Eastern Sierra Transit's CREST service travels north from Lancaster to Mammoth Lakes, with stops in most communities in between.

From the San Francisco Bay Area:

YARTS offers service from Merced, CA to Yosemite Valley and in the summer, continuing service to the Eastern Sierra, with stops in Lee Vining, June Lake, and Mammoth Lakes. There are many options for travel between the Bay Area and Merced, including Greyhound and Amtrak.

From Las Vegas:

Eastern Sierra Transit's CREST service stops in Mojave, CA, which is serviced by Greyhound from Las Vegas.

Travel Within the Eastern Sierra Eastern Sierra Transit offers a few different inter-city transit options along Hwy 395 as well as local transit routes in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop.

Travel To and From Inyo National Forest Recreation Areas

Two recreation areas of the Inyo National Forest are directly serviced by public transportation. Mammoth Lakes runs trolleys to the Lakes Basin area from town, and Eastern Sierra Transit operates the Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle from Mammoth Lakes into Reds Meadow Valley.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(760) 873-2400

Permits

(760) 876-6200

Links