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Inyo National Forest
The Inyo National Forest is divided into two zones, the North Zone and the South Zone. These zones are each divided into two Ranger Districts. The Mono Lake Ranger District and the Mammoth Ranger District comprise the North Zone and the White Mountain Ranger District and the Mt. Whitney Ranger District comprise the South Zone. Each Ranger District has a Ranger Station and/or Visitor Center to meet our visitors' needs. In addition, the Interagency Visitor Center located in Lone Pine and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center are in operation to service visitors to these unique areas. To contact one of these offices, please see Contact Us.
The Inyo National Forest also has a Supervisor's Office, based in Bishop. Also in this office are many specialists that cover the whole Forest rather than only one District. Together the Ranger Districts and the Supervisor's Office oversee the entire Inyo National Forest.
For information on public transportation to the forest, please visit this page >>>
The Mt Whitney Ranger Station is located in Lone Pine, on US Highway 395, next to Lone Pine High School . This administrative office is open for business Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm , and is closed on official holidays. The Ranger District manages a diverse variety of resources, including those associated with its four congressional designated wilderness areas. Conservation, restoration and protection programs keep the staff busy, including hazard fuels management, wildlife habitat, and watershed resources. Recreation opportunities abound, including many trails into the John Muir Wilderness and adjacent Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park for day hiking or backpacking. It is home to both Mt. Whitney , the highest peak in the Continental United States, and the California state fish, the Golden Trout. Visitor services for the ranger district and an assortment of permits, including wilderness permits, are available at the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center , one mile south of the Ranger Station.
The White Mountain Ranger Station is located on Highway 395 in Bishop, CA, serving the public seven days a week from May 1 through November 1 and Monday through Friday the rest of the year.
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff offers information and assistance to visitors to the Inyo National Forest. Comprising nearly 1 million acres and including much of the White Mountain/Inyo Range and the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the White Mountain District stretches from south of Big Pine to McGee Creek near Crowley Lake. Our Ranger District includes many access routes into the John Muir Wilderness and into Kings Canyon National Park for backpacking or day hiking opportunities. You can also visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains or climb White Mountain Peak (the third highest point in California at 14,246 feet elevation) or Boundary Peak (the highest point in Nevada at 13,140 feet elevation). There are many lakes and streams in our district from which you can catch different types of trout, including the California state fish, the Golden Trout.
The station has a book store featuring a variety of books including topics of local history, hiking and fishing guides, natural history information, Native American literature and children's books. Maps are available in several formats, including 15 and 7.5 minute topographic scales. We also have books and postcards that focus on the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains.
The Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center is unique among Forest Service visitor centers as it is operated jointly by the Inyo National Forest, National Park Service, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association and the Town of Mammoth Lakes. This innovative "one-stop shopping" information center means that you can not only learn about the recreational opportunities of the National Forest, but you can also get information about lodging, restaurants and local services in the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Reservations for lodging can be made right there at the Visitor Center through special phone lines located outside the Ranger Station! By combining our resources, all four agencies have been able to save money and increase quality service to visitors. The Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center also has a bookstore featuring field guides, geology, local history and children's books that inspire a love of nature and more.
Located to the immediate east of Yosemite National Park, Mono is the westernmost basin of the Basin and Range Province, which stretches across western North America between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the heart of the Basin lies the strange and majestic Mono Lake, a vast inland sea nestled amidst the 13,000 foot peaks of the High Sierra to the west, the ancient volcanic Bodie Hills to the north, rolling oceans of sagebrush to the east and the towering cinder cones of the young Mono Crater volcanoes to the south. Here, the high desert environment harbors a thriving but fragile ecosystem of interdependent plant and animal species--some found nowhere else in the world but Mono Lake. From waters saltier than the oceans and as alkaline as household ammonia have evolved unique species of life, unearthly limestone spires of tufa and the dedication of countless human advocates who have devoted their efforts to the preservation of the Mono Basin. To help protect the unique ecological and cultural resources of the Mono Basin, the U.S. Congress invented the concept of the National Scenic Area, and in 1984 designated the Mono Basin National Scenic Area--the first in U.S. history.
The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center is located 1/2 mile north of the town of Lee Vining, just east of Tioga Pass (the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park), on Highway 395. A variety of activities and exhibits introduce the natural and human history of the Mono Basin. Enjoy a twenty-minute film, an interactive exhibit hall, two art galleries and a Book Store. The center's staff would be glad to help you plan your explorations of Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra.
The Mono Basin Scenic Area is one of 47 National Forest sites throughout the country that are taking part in the Congressionally-initiated Recreation Fee Demonstration Project, in which 80% of fees collected will be returned to the collection site to support resource protection, education and recreational services. Presently, there is a charge of $3 per person at the South Tufa exhibit and trail.
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is generally open from mid-May through the end of October, weather permitting. Winter storms will close the White Mountain Road during winter months and into the spring. Please check our recorded information line at 760-873-2500 for current road closures and conditions.
Schulman Grove Visitor Center - The Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center is usually open from late May through the end of October. The center is the interpretive focal point for the oldest living trees in the world, the Bristlecone Pines. The interpretive center has exhibits, a natural history sales area, self-guided interpretive trails and rangers on duty. From mid-June through Labor Day, daily interpretive talks and natural history lectures are presented at the Visitor Center. The area also has restrooms, picnic tables, hiking trails and a nearby campground. The Bristlecone Pine Forest is located at 10,000 feet, so visitors are urged to come prepared for just about any weather conditions and to bring your own water. Sunscreen and a hat are also recommended.
Patriarch Grove - Beyond Schulman Grove lies the Patriarch Grove. This second grove is a 12-mile drive north of Schulman Grove on a good quality dirt road. Near tree line, the grove is the home of the world's largest Bristlecone Pine, the Patriarch Tree. Its splendid remoteness and moonscape appearance gives the Patriarch Grove a surreal atmosphere. Bristlecone pines and limber pines dot the landscape with a background view of the Great Basin in Nevada. Patriarch Grove is a favorite location for filming and photography in the early morning light. Picnic tables, restrooms (pit toilet) and a self-guided nature trail are available. A visit to Schulman Grove and Patriarch Grove is possible in the same day if you can get an early start.
A visit to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is an hour drive from Bishop on paved roads (to Schulman Grove). Take US Hwy 395 south to Big Pine and turn east onto State Hwy 168 just north of Big Pine. Follow Hwy 168 east 13 miles to White Mountain Road. Turn left (north) and drive 10 miles to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. The Bristlecone pines can be viewed from the parking area of the visitor center and along three nature trails. Schulman Grove is a Recreation Fee Demonstration Project site. The fees collected are used to open the visitor center earlier in the spring and later in the fall, provide seven-day-per-week staffing and extended hours of operation. The cost is $3.00 per adult to a maximum of $5.00 per vehicle; children under 18 are free. Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access Passes are accepted. Fees are collected at the Visitor Center during operating hours or at a self-service fee tube near the Visitor Center.
The Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center is located at the junction of US Highway 395 and State Route 136, one mile south of Lone Pine. It is open daily, 8:00am to 5pm , including most major holidays, and has extended hours in the summer. This unique facility is operated by federal, state and local governmental agencies, including the Inyo National Forest . It provides a regional orientation and information program to visitors from around the globe traveling to the Eastern Sierra Nevada , and Northern Mojave Desert . A wealth of world-class visitor destinations, are ready and waiting for exploration. At this location, one can view the highest peak in the “lower 48 states” - Mt Whitney - or plan a trip to the largest national park in the “lower 48 states” - Death Valley - with the lowest elevation in the western hemisphere. Passes and permits are required for some public land activities and are available at the Visitor Center . These permits help to provide quality recreation opportunities and to regulate activities such as removal of firewood and other land based products. A non-profit organization, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA), operates the Discovery Bookstore with a comprehensive selection of titles and provides an extensive selection of maps for the region. The sale of such items helps to generate revenues for the operation of the facility.
US Forest Service - Inyo National Forest