Adventures in the Eastern Sierra: Family vacation recap

3 days – 12 miles – 3,500+ feet elevation gain – 10+ rainbow trout – a million family memories!

bishop, california will always hold a special place in my heart. i’ve visited bishop since before i could walk (in fact, my mom found out she was pregnant with me and my twin sis during a vacation in bishop!). my dad has visited for the past 60 years, my grandfather spent summers here in the ‘50s, and my great grandfather built some of the original edison power plants in the area in the 1930s. so i guess you could say the eastern sierra is in my blood!

our family tries to visit bishop every summer (mama needs her trout fishing fix!), but we missed last summer due to our big move from la to clovis. so this summer, we wanted to go big – not to mention we were all looking for an obvious escape from covid. bishop is known for incredible mountain views, beautiful aspen trees, creeks and lakes teeming with trout, and fantastic hikes.

what we explored

we planned our kid-friendly vacation around outdoor activities: first day, we’d rent a boat and fish south lake. on day two, we’d day hike along the bishop pass trail to long lake. day three, we’d complete another day hike to tyee lakes. and on day four, we’d pack up our cabin and make the long drive home.

getting there

the drive to bishop from clovis is absolutely gorgeous (that is, if you take the scenic route through yosemite national park). on a map, bishop is practically a stone’s throw away from clovis. but the majestic sierra nevada mountain range makes it impossible to drive directly (unless you hike over the mountain, but we’ll save that for another adventure!). you literally have to drive all the way around the mountains, either going through yosemite on the famed tioga pass, or down through bakersfield, and up through the mojave desert. we decided to drive through tioga pass on the drive out to bishop, as we had yet to explore this part of yosemite. tioga pass takes you into the less-visited, but equally as impressive parts of yosemite. clouds rest, north dome, tuolumne meadows, tenaya lake…all of these attractions are along the road. then, when you get through the park, you’ll hit some of the most picturesque sites along the 395: mammoth lakes, june lake, and so on.

hikes and trail running

i’ve been hiking these trails since i was a little kid…but let me tell you, they trails are anything but easy! the effort is absolutely worth the reward. each day hike leads you to another lake, often with very few visitors. we hiked to long lake (4 miles round trip, 900 ft elevation gain) with the kiddos in tow. i carried baby girl in the kelty pack and the toddler hiked as much as he could – but let’s be honest, hubby carried him most of the way. during nap time one day, i snuck away on a solo trail run/hike to tyee lakes (just under 4 miles, 1,200 ft elevation gain). hubby and i also did a kid-free hike to tyee lakes for some early morning fishing (my parents, who also joined us on the trip, watched the kiddos for the morning).

where we stayed

we love staying at parchers resort, which is just down the road from south lake (our favorite fishing lake, plus one of the major day hike trail heads). parchers offers rustic cabins and creekside views. we’ve been staying here since i was a little kid. one of my favorite places! while we usually camp on our adventures, we love the amenities of a cabin. not to mention the ambiance – this place has been around for generations and means so much to our family.

what i learned

we feel so incredibly fortunate to have taken this vacation, especially during these crazy times (i’ve never need a vacation more than now!). we feel refreshed and energized, and it really puts everything in perspective. time in nature is the best cure!!! also, this was a fun trip for me - this was my first trip to bishop since i discovered my love of running. i felt stronger than ever on these trails - even with baby girl in the pack! hubby and i can’t wait to go back to bishop this fall (this will be our first experience with the FALL COLORS!)