Bishop Creek: Guide to Camping, Resorts, Waterfalls & Lakes

California is full of beautiful places and each one has its own unique style and draw, but I do have to point out that for me, the Bishops Creek area is one of the most beautiful places you can see in all of California, here is my definitive guide to all the amazing things that are waiting for you there.

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Lake Sabrina

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We will start at the top in this guide and work our way back down to the base, and as far as the top goes Lake Sabrina is it. This high altitude lake is damned on the South side and surrounded by massive peaks on all the other sides.

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It is a amazing place to just take in the vista as often in the summer or fall the water level is to low to actually go boating on it. I love this view and it is like many of the other views you will get in Bishop Creek. It has a beautiful grove of aspens below that turn amazing in the fall.

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North Lake

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As you proceed down from Lake Sabrina there will be a turn to head up to North Lake, take it. After taking the crazy 1.5 lane road up to the North Lake area you will be greeted with views that are different but equally stellar from the other areas of Bishops Creek.

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North Lake is more surrounded by more meadows and marshy areas then the other lakes and in this it provides beautiful views like the below photo.

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This is a great lake for fly fishing as well as I have often seen 10 inch trout right in the creek that feeds the lake.

Trout

Lookout Point

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I don’t know what this place is called but if you happen to feel like a little hiking and are able to use the one parking space / turnout that is on the way down from North Lake, then climbing this mountain is a must. This mountain is where I got the above shot from as it provides 360 degree views in all directions, a photographers paradise.

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Waterfall Below North Lake

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As you are driving down from North Lake and Lake Sabrina keep your eyes peeled for the big cascading waterfall on the North side. This waterfall adds a lot to the view and is a great pull out. If you want to hike to it, stay tuned as I am putting up a post on it soon.

Cardinal Village Resort

resort

At the first turn for Aspendell coming down the mountain you can head to Cardinal Village resort. This is the trailhead for the hike to the waterfall and also a place where you can rent cabins to stay in the area.

South Lake plus Trailhead into the Backcounty

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At the end of the stunning road that leads to South Lake, on which you can get photos like the below, is South Lake itself.

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While it was not as full this year as it often is, that does not take away from how overly stunning it is.

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This lake provides the trailhead for many a backcountry adventure providing an access point to Muir Pass, the John Muir Trial and Evolution Valley.

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You cannot take a bad picture here.

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I did think it was sad to see how low the water level was with the small boats sitting on the ground and the dropoff right from the launching area.

Parchers Resort

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This is another place where you can rent cabins right below South Lake. There is some great fly fishing around here. They have a massive breakfast buffet on the weekends that is great and you can rent horses here as well.

Waterfall by Bishop Creek Resort

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As you proceed on the road to South Lake there is a beautiful waterfall on the South side. It cascades right over the mountain and seems to flow out like mist on the ground below. I didn’t get closer then the road to this one but it was beautiful.

Bishop Creek Resort

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This is the last of the three places you can rent a cabin at in the area. It is also the site of a general store and a restaurant if you are staying near and need a meal.

Here are the two places to rent horses in the area as well

  • Bishop Pack Outfitters
  • Rainbow Pack Outfitters

Camping

If you want to camp there are at least five spots in in the area. I would say anything close to South Lake would be my recommendation for either fishing or hiking.

Best Seasons to Visit

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For me I would say it is the spring and the fall as the spring there are less people then the busy summer months and the fall gives you all of the amazing colors you can see in the above photos.

Let me know if I left something off or if you like Bishops Creek as much as me.

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About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Katharine Knarreborg

    Really beautiful photos, what a stunning place. The aspens certainly add a nice touch in the fall.

    • Thanks for the comment and for the kind words about the photos! This was one of my favorite places I visited this year for sure.

  • Stacy Martin

    Have you hiked up to the old Bishop Creek Mine ruins? It’s the same trail in Aspendell past the waterfall. You can BARELY see the old mine shaft from the road to Sabrina…if you’re looking for it. But when you hike up to it…it’s amazing! I took 20 kid so on a hike there and they had fun climbing the rocks and looking into the mines that went pretty far into the mountain. It’s a hike I do every Memorial Day weekend…did it yesterday. Didn’t have my phone cuz there isn’t any service up there and I’ve taken hundreds of photos of the mines. But please, if you haven’t already done that hike….do it and add it to your list!

    • Thanks for the comment, that sounds great and I want to check it out next time I am in the area!