One road I travel quite often and am quite familiar with is the 395 through the Owens Valley. Since my parents live in Reno, I make the trip up there from Southern California quite often. And this year, we spent Labor Day weekend at Convict Lake. Here are some shots from up and down the 395 from this year (supplemented with a few pictures from other years), starting with the picture below, which was taken right outside of Olancha. I’ve always liked this spot on the road.
One of the biggest landmarks through the Owens Valley is Owens Lake, which is really a misnomer because it really isn’t a lake. At least not any more.
Dried up due to the diversion of water south to Los Angeles, the court has ordered DWP to perform dust control operations. This has turned the lake into a patchwork of different colors and textures which seem to change, depending on the season.
I have so many pictures of Owens Lake taken throughout the years and in different seasons. It seems as if it never looks quite the same.
To really see Owens Lake and the dust control operations, the best view is from the Whitney Portal Drive out of Lone Pine. I didn’t travel up there, but here is a picture from 2009 from up that road.
If you drive up to the top of the Whitney Portal Road, you will be treated to this beautiful waterfall, easily accessible from the parking lot. There is also a gift shop, campground, fishing lake, and the trailhead to Mount Whitney up at the top of the road. This is one of my favorite and most memorable places along the 395, and well worth the 13-mile or so trip up the road to see it.
The largest city along the route is Bishop, a picturesque town of about 3500. This picture was taken just north of Bishop.
Driving north out of Bishop, the road steadily climbs, providing an amazing view of the Eastern Sierra and the Owens Valley.
Here is another shot from north of Bishop where you can see the Owens River Gorge cutting across the valley. (Technically, it’s a volcanic tableland here.)
Here’s what the Owens River Gorge looks like closer-up. These pictures were taken in 2009 (with my old camera, which I will conveniently blame for the washed out colors of the shots).
The rocks in the Owens Gorge are amazing, but I must confess I haven’t hiked very far down into it. Exploring the gorge further is on my list of things to do.
I travel this road so often, I have my favorite “mountain”, and this is it. This year I finally stopped and took a picture of it.
This picture and the next were taken around Bridgeport. Usually there are cows grazing in the pastures here during the summer, but due to the extremely wet winter, there is still too much water.
And lastly, just over the California-Nevada border is Gardnerville.
Here are some of my other posts on the Eastern Sierra:
- Return to Bodie
- Virginia Lakes: An easy high country experience
- A stop at Mono Lake
- Mono Lake
- Our weekend at Convict Lake
- The Eastern Sierra Mountains
- The end of the line for the Owens River
- The Trona Pinnacles
- Red Rock Canyon State Park
Believe it or not, I still have more pictures to post from the Eastern Sierra, so there’s more to come!