Inyo National Forest is a large national forest that is located on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California and the western slopes of the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The entire park encompasses around 2 million acres and has nine Wilderness Areas. The park is home to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain peak in the contiguous U.S. The forest is very near several national parks, including Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Death Valley National Park. Visitors to this part of Northern California and southern Nevada have innumerable choices for designing their road trip itinerary through Inyo National Forest.
Activities in Inyo National Forest
Inyo National Forest is a large natural preserve, and there are many available types of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, camping, biking, riding horses, and generally exploring the natural ecosystems. The predominant tree species are the lodgepole pine and the Jeffrey pine.
Identifying Flora and Fauna
There are many stands of bristlecone pine, and you will be able to see some very old bristlecone trees inside the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, a section of the forest that serves to protect the Great Basin bristlecone pine. The second-oldest living known non-clonal tree in the world is "Methuselah," a bristlecone pine that is estimated at being approximately 4,840 years of age. Other types of plants you will find here are bitterbrush, sagebrush, saltbush, rabbitbrush, buckwheat, and pinyon-juniper.
Visitors can take the time to view the wildlife within the national forest. Species that call this area home include chukar, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, black bear, mountain lions, doves, grouse, quail, and various types of waterfowl.
There are boundless opportunities for fishing at any of the 400 lakes and 1,100 miles of rivers and other watersheds in the forest. You will be able to fish for rainbow, brook, brown, and golden trout, and there are often contests and other fishing events during the year. Other species of fish include largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and carp.
Geocaching is allowed in all national forests under certain rules and restrictions. Check with the forest headquarters before seeking or placing any geocaches in Inyo National Forest.
Inyo National Forest has minimal light pollution and affords many places to view the stars on clear nights. A popular site for stargazing is in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest because of the unique combination of twisted old-growth pines and brilliant stars in the sky above.
How to get to Inyo National Forest
Address: 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200 Bishop, CA 93514
Fee: Entry fee $0
Your journey through Inyo National Forest has the potential to be the ultimate trip you have always wanted to experience. The forest is large, and there is plenty to keep you busy, but you also have the opportunity to visit a number of iconic sites during your time in the forest. Driving an RV is the most logical and easiest way to get around to every planned stop on your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Inyo National Forest
Is Inyo National Forest open all year round?
Yes, the Inyo National Forest is open year round. The forest does get snow in winter, so it's great for hiking and biking in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Mammoth Mountain, within the forest boundaries, is a popular area for skiers and snowboarders.
Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Inyo National Forest?
Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp in the Inyo National Forest. Dispersed campers can stay in one spot for 28 days within a six-month period. Most developed campgrounds have a limit of between 7-14 days before a camper must move on.
Can you kayak, canoe, or raft in Inyo National Forest?
Yes, you can kayak and canoe in the Inyo National Forest. Mammoth Lakes has plenty of places for getting out on the water. Mono Lake is another great spot for kayaking or canoeing.
What type of wildlife lives in Inyo National Forest?
There are some unique wildlife species found at Inyo National Forest including Sierra bighorn sheep, black toads, golden trout, and Lyell salamanders. Bears can also be found in the Inyo National Forest, as well as mountain lions, coyotes, and deer.
What is the best time to visit Inyo National Forest?
The best time to visit Inyo National Forest is in summer, when the weather is warmest. Visitors can hike, boat, mountain bike, and more. If you want to downhill ski, snowshoe, or participate in other winter activities, January and February are the best months to visit.