The entire town of Big Pine, California, is in the lower middle of the photo, in the Owens Valley with the Eastern Sierra as backdrop. View is shot from the lower slope of the White Mountains. PHOTO BY CLINTON STEEDS VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Big Pine is the hub for exploring some of the grandest areas in the region, from the Sierra Nevada in the west to the White Mountains in the east.
In the center of town is Crocker Street, which heads west and climbs into the Sierra. The road ascends the mighty Sierra escarpment and enters Big Pine Canyon, winding along Big Pine Creek to campgrounds, cabins, a supply store, and a pack outfit for horseback excursions into the backcountry.
At road’s end, lace up your hiking boots and head up trails that lead to unparalleled scenery and adventure including one of Big Pine’s several claims to fame: the Palisades Glacier, the largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada.
The Glacier Lodge, located east of Big Pine, is located near the largest glacier in the
Sierra Nevada. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, high in the White Mountains, is home to trees that are among the oldest living things on earth, dating to over 5,000 years old. A good paved road via Highway 168 leads to the Schulman Grove from the north end of Big Pine. A Visitor Center provides daily interpretive talks and natural history lectures mid-June through Labor Day. Three interpretive hiking trails lead visitors to close up views of these grand trees and stupendous views of the far off Sierras. Be sure and bring a camera for one-of-a-kind photos. Informative interpretive signs will help you understand the uniqueness of these noble trees as you meander along. Nearby Grandview Campground makes for a delightful base camp to explore the nearby region.
The Owens Valley Radio Observatory is located just a few miles northeast of town. These large white discs, seen from Highway 395, are owned and operated by Caltech and provides astronomers the ability to conduct extensive research of the stars and our solar system. Caltech offers occasional Open House events for the public to tour its fascinating research facilities.
Some of the Eastern Sierra’s finest fishing is found in and around Big Pine. Throughout the picturesque Big Pine Creek are numerous fishing spots, starting just a couple of miles outside town and continuing all the way to the end of the road 17 miles away. Close to town is the well- stocked Baker Ponds: turn west on Baker Creek Road, go about a mile to the campgrounds and from there the ponds are easy to find. The Owens River, about a mile east of Big Pine on S.R. 168, abounds with trout and warm water species like catfish, bass and others.
There is also a “back road” to Death Valley National Park from Big Pine; be cautious, though, because the road is mostly of dirt and there are no facilities, but the scenery is wonderful and 75 miles farther is the north end of the Park near Scotty’s Castle.
The list of “things to do” while in Big Pine could go on and on. Take the time on your next visit to the Owens Valley to experience some of these world-class and one of a kind adventures with friends and family. They’ll provide memories for a lifetime.
PHOTO BY RICK GOLDWATER VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The ancient bristlecone pines are among the oldest living things on
earth, with the oldest estimated at more than 5,000 years of age. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS