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Old 07-30-2016, 07:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tdst51 View Post
There are so many places to see it's almost impossible to list. Starting at Lone Pine, you might want to check out the Alabama Hills. Once you see them you'll recognize them from hundreds of movies you've seen. They sell a paperback book in town that tells all about them. You more than likely won't see anybody else there; it's a very hot time of year and dry camping only. If you want to stay cool, there's an RV park in town with all the hookups. Heading north from there there is just tons of places- watch the signs- everything is interesting and calling your name. Mammoth, Virginia Lakes, June Lake Loop, Twin Lakes, Bridgeport, then you start dropping down into the Antelope Valley and the West Walker River. Campgrounds everywhere! Just out of town in Walker is a place called Meadow Cliff Lodge. I think it's now a KOA campground. Then you get to Topaz, with a couple of RV parks if I remember right. And of course the casino. So many campgrounds between Lone Pine and Topaz you couldn't see them all in a season. Anything on the right side of 395 is going to be un-Godly hot; anything on the left is in the mountains and stays fairly cool, though it can get hot up there too. Have a great time! Hope you like to fish!


P.S. September/October is a great time to go. Everything should be fairly cooled down by then.
Sept.-Oct. will NOT be ungodly hot! It should be perfect timing with the summer crowds gone. I live 1/2 mi. from Hwy. 395 in the Mammoth Lakes area. We occasionally get a dusting of snow in late Sept. After passing thru Mohave heading north are the quaint towns of Lone Pine; below Mt.Whitney, Independence and Big Pine. Next comes the larger city of Bishop; Brown's Town RV park with hookups at the south end of town is beautiful in the Autumn. The K-Mart has overnight camping. If you go up Bishop Creek canyon there are four beautiful lakes, spectacular autumn foliage and also dry campgrounds. Heading north there are many campgrounds in the Mammoth Lakes area. Many will be closing after Labor Day( the higher elev. ones) or by Oct. 15th. Tuff Campground and French Camp at the base of Rock Creek Canyon (well known as Tom's Place) stay open late. Try to catch Tom's Place Taco Tues. or Sat. Night Prime rib special.
Rock Creek canyon is famous for Fall colors photography. If you drive up to the top, the elevation is 10,200 feet; the highest elevation into the back country that you can drive to in the eastern sierra, even higher than Yosemite. There are numerous other campgrounds up this canyon and on Rock Creek Lake.
Next is Convict Lake with dry camping. In the town of Mammoth there is the Mammoth RV park with hookups, open year round. About 15 minutes north are the June Lakes, I believe it's dry camping only; very few amenities here. Buy your groceries in Mammoth or Bishop. Buy your fuel in Bishop, or you will get gouged everwhere else, until you get to the NV stateline at Topaz with cheap NV fuel. About 10 minutes north of June Lake is the town of Lee Vining overlooking Mono Lake (a huge salt water lake and great for photography.) I believe the RV park there has hookups. This is also the eastern gateway into Yosemite, known as the Tioga Pass. There is also a nice dry campground at the bottom of Tioga Pass called The Aspen Campground. It can be tricky to park if you have a large rig though. About 10 minutes north of Lee Vining, don't miss the Lundy Lakes! There is a campground here. This has the most spectacular Fall scenery!! There is a Beaver pond and lake at the base. If you hike up the canyon there are two beautiful waterfalls, groves of giant Aspens, pines and forever views. Back on the road you will climb a steep grade overlooking Mono Lake. At the top are cars all pulled over taking photos of the Aspen groves in Their Fall colors. Next is the old goldmining town of Bodie on your right. Then the quaint town Bridgeport and it's lake with camping. After that you will wind thru the scenic Walker river and valley until you arrive at the small town of Walker. After that Topaz Lake with the Casino, plus it's RV park is only about a 15 minute drive. There is also another RV park just before the Casino overlooking the lake. If you decide to continue 20 minutes further; Carson Valley has quaint Genoa, the oldest settlement in NV. Just over the mtn. on the Kingsbury grade or Hwy. 50 W is South Lake Tahoe.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:30 PM   #12
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We live in Minden, NV (Carson Valley) and have spent many years exploring the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley. If you are returning to San Diego I would recommend coming all the way north and doing your touring in Death Valley on the way home when it's a little cooler. Don't miss Kehoe Hot Springs south of Bishop for a full hook-up. There are a number of free guidebooks/pamphlets available for travelers, and one that we have found to be very good is from Sterling Publications (see Scenic 395 | The Official Guide). Another is a small fold-out from Mono County Tourism and Film Commission (Mono County Tourism Info | Hotels, Events, Things to do and Restaurants). Yet another is from the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau (Bishop Visitor Information Center | Bishop California Welcome Center). And if you do come to the Carson Valley, be sure to check out the Carson Valley Visitor's Bureau located in the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Gardnerville. Again, consider coming north on I-5 to Stockton and heading east on SR-88 to Minden, then take your time going south via US395. Faster coming north allowing more time to visit the Easter Sierra and Death Valley on your way home when it's a little cooler.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:19 PM   #13
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Agree with all comments above. Boulder Creek RV just south of Lone Pine is top notch. We'll be there Tuesday en route to Reno. Recommend you visit Manzanar, the Rogers Movie Museum in Lone Pine, and the County Museum in Independence. Fantastic stories of real Americans at all those places. Whitney Portal is close by, with great trout fishing in the creeks leading up toward the mountains.

Day trips to Death Valley are OK from Lone Pine, but really hot during the summer months. I'd wait until late Sep or early Oct. Don't miss Scotty's Castle.

Farther north, I would recommend Mammoth Mountain RV Park. Most sites are full hookup. The town has fantastic attractions, and some of the best restaurants in the Eastern Sierras. Go to Whiskey Creek for fresh trout. Visit Devils Postpile, Red's Meadow, Rainbow Falls, Obsidian Dome, and other natural wonders in the area. Ride the tram to the top of Mammoth Mountain and have lunch at the summit.

Make sure you buy some baked bread at Schatt's Bakery and jerky at Mahogany Meat Market. Best in the West.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:42 PM   #14
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A couple of corrections: it's Keough's Hot Springs and RV Park, about seven miles south of Bishop. The two pools are closed on Tuesdays for draining and cleaning. There are Schat's Bakeries in both Mammoth and Bishop(Bishop has a larger store and selection.) The Whiskey Creek Restaurant in Mammoth is now a brewery. The Whiskey Creek in Bishop closed down also, but new owners are going to be reopening it up- date unknown. A new restaurant in Bishop Patrick Schat's Roadhouse has very good food((barbecue and rotisserie.) Agreed, delay Death Valley til your return. VERY hot!!! This week it has been 122 - 125 degrees!
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:21 AM   #15
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Wow! Many thanks for the updates. We were looking forward to dinner at Whiskey Creek, but my wife is not a beer drinker. Her loss. I'm sure we'll find something else to her liking at Mammoth.

Schats Bakery in Bishop is still one of the finest in the world.

There also used to be a fine Beef Jerky store in the little village of Olancha on the way north to Lone Pine. Anyone know if it is still open? I remember they had about 15 varieties of jerky: beef, chicken, turkey, bison, venison, ostrich, and several others.
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:33 AM   #16
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Gus' Really Good Fresh Jerky in Olancha is still open and as busy as ever. When my sons were young, twenty years ago, everytime we were headed to Mammoth skiing , we had to stop!
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:47 AM   #17
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We really enjoy Red Rock Canyon State Park. On Hwy 14, a little west of 395. Great scenery, hiking trails, no services and dump station has been "out of order" for several years (up through my last visit maybe a year ago anyway). Sites right in the red rock formations.
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:02 AM   #18
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Gus's Jerky was featured in one of the Honda Pilot Brochures many years ago when I was still in the business. Can't wait to try them again. We'll be there Tuesday.
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Old 07-31-2016, 11:45 AM   #19
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We travel 395 a lot, stayed many places as well. Visited Death Valley last March and Scottys Castle was closed with no expected opening due to a flood last winter. The ghost town of Bodie is really cool if you have time. There are also numerous natural hot springs from Mammoth to Bridgeport. The Bridgeport ones are easily accessible. We highly recommend Alabama Hills, awesome views of Mt Whitney's 14,503 foot summit. They were doing some road construction last March that was to continue through the summer so it may hamper you a bit. Most likely not though. Above Bridgeport is beautiful Twin Lakes, there is plenty of first come first serve Forest Service CG sites. Deer hunting season may be open during that time which impacts camping so keep that in mind. If you get to Topaz consider a side trip up highway 89 to the Monitor Pass area, fall colors are incredible if you hit it right, we go every year, of course living at Lake Tanoe helps. Speaking of Tahoe, that is a great time of year to visit the lake too.
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:19 PM   #20
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I suffer from an affliction that drives my wife crazy whenever we are travelling. I have this compulsion to memorize the elevations of mountains and mountain passes that we encounter. For example, Mt. Rainier - 14,410 feet; Pikes Peak - 14,110 feet. I have for a long time remembered the elevation of Mt. Whitney as 14,494 feet. Then it was reported at 14,503 feet. Then I looked at our latest AAA Map of California, which lists it at 14,505 feet. Then I remembered that the scientists I worked with years ago on the phenomenon of plate tectonics and continental drift have concluded that: (a) the Sierra Nevada mountain range is constantly rising, and (b) the Owens Valley is constantly sinking. So much for my memory exercises!!
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