Big Pine is home to some of the most breath taking and scenic hiking trails in the Eastern Sierra. The west side of Big Pine holds the Sierra Crest while the east side of Big Pine holds The Ancient Bristlecone Forest is located east of Big Pine in the White Mountains. This forest is known to be the oldest living forest in the world and holds the oldest tree on the world called Methuselah along the Methuselah Trail. The White Mountains also hold White Mountain Peak, which is the third highest peak in California at 14,252ft. Head east on Hwy 168 at the north end of Big Pine to take a trip into the White Mountains
The Eastern Sierra is home to some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world. The Sierra Crest and White Mountains provide endless opportunities for a day hike or numerous days of backpacking along the vast scenic mountain landscape. The famous trails and mountain ranges such as the John Muir Trail (JMT), The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Inyo National Forest provide numerous diverse hiking adventures. The many Eastern Sierra hiking trails available that will lead you past vast mountain landscapes, pristine alpine lakes and streams, and ancient forests sure to relax your mind and provide many stories and picture opportunities along the way.
Continue North on Hwy 168W and find yourself in the Bishop Creek Wilderness Area. The South and North Forks of the Bishop Creek provide ample opportunities to hike in the pristine wilderness setting of the Eastern Sierra. The South Fork Bishop Creek Area provides many amazing day hikes or overnight hikes in to the Inyo Forest and connects with the John Muir Trail(JMT) and the Pacific Crest Trail(PCT). Follow 168 West an turn at South Lake Rd. to access the South Fork Trails and South Lake at the end of the road. The South Fork provides beautiful hiking trails such as the Tyee Lakes Trail about half way down South Lakr Rd. on the right hand side. The Tyee Lakes Trail is marked with a forestry sign easily visible from the road. You can cross the bridge and ascend onto the scenic wilderness. This valley is particularly great for Fall Colors hiking. Continue again until South Lake Rd ends at South Lake to access many great destinations. From the South Lake parking lot you can access the Bishop Pass Trail, which will take you along many pristine alpine lakes such as Long Lake, Chocolate Lakes, Saddlerock Lake and many more. At another point shortly up the Bishop Pass Trail, break off to the Treasure Lakes Trail. This gorgeous hike provides not only scenic views of South Lake but also opportunities for Golden Trout fishing.
Just a short drive north from Big Pine is the Bishop Creek Wilderness Area. To access the Bishop Creek Recreation Area head west on Line St/Hwy 168 West. The first opportunity comes at Buttermilk Rd which leads to the famous rock climbing destination called, "The Buttermilk's" just 10 miles east of Bishop. The Buttermilk's provide not only bouldering but short trail hikes and the entrance to the Horton Lakes Trail. This area provides excellent views of Mt. Tom and Basin Mountain and the East side's White Mountains, Owens River Gorge and Volcanic Tablelands.
The South Fork of the Big Pine Creek Wilderness Area also provides wonderful opportunities for hiking. The South Fork Trail provides scenic views of the Middle Palisades Glacier while leading you along the South Big Pine Creek. The South Fork Trail will lead you to two different lakes Willow, and Brainard Lakes about 4-5 miles up the trail.
The North Fork Bishop Creek Trails also provides scenic Eastern Sierra wonders for hikers and photographers. Take Hwy 168 West past South Lake Rd. and find yourself in the North Fork Bishop Creek Wilderness. The North Fork of Bishop Creek has several access points for Sierra Crest Hiking. Head towards Lake Sabrina to access Hungry Packer Lake, Moon Light Lake, Midnight Lake and many more. Or, turn off at the North Lake Rd to access North Lake and either the Paiute Pass Trail, or the Lamarck Lakes trail. These trails can be accessed via their trails heads at the end of the North Lake Campground.
Big Pine Resort Cottages
To the west of Big Pine is the entrance to the Big Pine Creek Wilderness Area. This area holds many treasures for hikers including the Palisades Glacier, Norman Clyde Glacier, Norman Clyde Cabin, and the Big Pine Lakes. To access this area head west on Crocker St. in the center of the town of Big Pine. The road will lead you to plenty of parking spaces to enjoy your time in the wilderness. The two forks of the Big Pine Creek wilderness provide incredible scenic hikes along the creeks to the many alpine lakes and glaciers. The North Fork Trail of the Big Pine Wilderness Area takes you along breath taking views of the creek, two waterfalls and past the cabin built by actor Lon Chaney Jr. This cabin was later looked after by famous mountaineer Norman Clyde. After the Cabin the trail takes you through several stands of Jeffrey pines until it opens up to the towering Temple Crag rock formation and Big Pine Lakes. The trail will take you across 7 Big Pine lakes and Black Lake. The Third Big Pine Lake is fed from the Palisade Glacier and appears turquoise. For the more adventurous hiker the North Fork Trail will take you through Sam Mack Meadow and to the face of the Palisade Glacier. The North Fork Trail also joins into the John Muir Trail.