Bishop is one of the smaller cities in California’s Inyo County. City fathers estimate the locale’s overall population to be right around 3,500. Most travelers coming from Los Angeles and surrounding areas consider Bishop to be just a last stop before the final 45-minute leg on the trip to Mammoth Lakes, a popular California mountain resort and truth be told, downtown Bishop does not look like much when driving through on Route 395. However, for the adventurous solo traveler with time to spare, Bishop might just become a vacation destination in its own right, especially when taking any one of the bigger side streets that shoot off the main thoroughfare.
Where to Stay
Consider the cozy Joseph House Inn. This bed & breakfast offers six rooms that vary in nightly cost from $143 to $200 during the winter season and $153 to $200 during the summer. You get what you pay for. Dogs are welcome — as long as they are well-behaved and pass muster with management. The single traveler will appreciate the home cooking and comfortable atmosphere.
Where to Eat
Make this a brown bag vacation. Trust me! Bishop is home to two great food providers, whose fare is as addictive as it is inexpensive. There is Mahogany Smoked Meats in the red barn building. You can’t miss it; if all else fails, follow your nose to the smoked bacon. Buy a generous helping of the smoked meats and deposit them in a cooler.
Next, head over to Erick Schat’s Bakkery. Bread there is made the way it is supposed to be crafted: coming from rustic ovens without preservatives. Buy a half or full-sized loaf daily. Combine it with the smoked meat, and you will be eating well. In the alternative, let the deli staff at either location do the heavy lifting and prepare gourmet sandwiches for you.
What to Do in and around Bishop, CA
Bishop is an outdoorsy traveler’s paradise! There are fishing holes and creeks galore. Hiking trails invite the solo traveler to go backpacking or bring a loyal hound along. (Beware of the occasional rattlers that might come out during the heat of the day.)
Buttermilk Country and its bouldering opportunities are just six miles down on highway 168. Camping is not allowed, but there are ample opportunities for hikes, bouldering, trout-fishing and also bird-watching.
Plan on taking some day trips to Mammoth and its surrounding fishing areas; Convict Lake is a sure bet for lure fishing. Resist the Siren song of the nearby rock-climbing opportunities; as a solo traveler, this is a dangerous sport to undertake alone.
City of Bishop
Joseph House Inn
376 West Yaney Street
Bishop, CA 93514
Mahogany Smoked Meats
2345 North Sierra Highway
Bishop, CA 93514
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; the deli closes at 5 p.m.
Erick Schat’s Bakkery
763 North Main Street
Bishop , CA 93514
Open daily (except Fridays) from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; on Fridays until 9 p.m.