40 mi / 65 km
If you're seeking magical mountain vistas with lush alpine meadows and lakes, then don't miss this invigorating road trip deep into the Sierra's. You'll venture near the quaint Aspendell, stopping by the crystalline South and Sabrina Lakes for pure mountain bliss, hiking and wildflower admiration.
It all begins with a carve up the lower plains and a quick traverse through Bishop Creek canyon with its gentle sloped ravine. Glimpses of the snow-capped spires shimmer in the distance as you edge your way upwards to a cool 10,000 feet.
The first stop – South Lake, where you'll take in the absolute serenity that’s impossible to avoid. After the turn off, look out for Misty Falls to your left. It’s darn charming come fall with the blast of bright yellows framing the cascades free-fall.
South Lake itself is a hot spot for anglers looking to try their luck for a rainbow, brook or golden trout. During California’s recent drought, the lakes water levels have taken a fair hit. However, mother nature sure knows how to recover, and that's likely what she intends to do.
Fall definitely knows how to light up this mountain paradise. However, it’s in spring when you can enjoy both the snowy peaks and vibrant wildflower blooms. If you have a couple of hours to spare, don’t miss the hikes here. There’s endless alpine lakes and meadows here that will surely invoke a deep admiration for this breathtaking region.
Heading back north, lake Sabrina is equally as stunning. It lies just beyond the quaint little town of Aspendell. There’s not one shop here until you hit the spectacular lake itself. The Lake Sabrina Boat Landing serves up a meal, boat rentals and a popular fishing report for the local lakes.
This entire region was transformed in the early 1900’s with multiple reservoirs being formed for water supply, power generation and of course with the perks of fishing! You’re looking at one of them right now – Lake Sabrina and South Lake being just 2 of the 12 man-made lakes here in the Eastern Sierra’s.
If you’re craving a hike deep into the mountains, then swing up and around to the northern car park. It’s all uphill trekking from here, with steep inclines, spectacular views and tranquil lake-side meadows for contemplating life.
It’s the culmination of serene mountain vistas, expansive lakes and raw nature that makes this scenic drive an unforgettable trip just outside of Bishop.
If you're looking to camp then head into the backcountry or check out the numerous campgrounds along South Lake Rd and the 168.No permits are required unless you are camping in the wilderness or wish to have a campfire. Got a tip for this route? Send us yours! The roads are sealed along this route. View current alerts and warnings from the Forest Service.
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