The peaceful area of Big Pine has a lot to offer.

Although the "big pine" of local namesake has disappeared, a majestic lone sequoia stands as a beacon just north of the business district at the intersections of Highways 395 and 168. The area around Big Pine, and indeed the entire Owens Valley, was once a green, agriculturally rich farming region. This changed in the early 1900's when the Los Angeles water department began purchasing riparian rights and developed a system of lakes and aqueducts that slowly drained the area of its water supply. Remnants of former irrigation canals and once cleared lands are evident when traveling the vast network of back roads throughout the area.

Well known to the thousands of skiers making the Los Angeles to Mammoth drive (Big Pine is just about the right distance from Mammoth to stop for one more cup of coffee — which will wear off just about the time you arrive at Mammoth so you can go to sleep), it's a place with a lot to offer beyond coffee and lunch.

To the south of Big Pine is the environmentally protected Big Pine Volcanic Fields of Crater Mountain and numerous red cinder cones and dark basaltic lava flows. Also to the south, the steep, rocky cliffs of Sawmill Canyon are a natural habitat of the Califomia Bighorn sheep, a subspecies of the Rocky Mountain Sheep. Now a rare and endangered species, the Bighorn population in the Sierra Range is protected by the 41,000 acre Califomia Bighorn Sheep Zoological Area established in 1972.

The Tinemaha Wildlife Viewpoint site overlooks an area frequented by a herd of Tule Elk in the Owens Valley. Black Rock and Fish Springs fish hatcheries both located a short drive south of Big Pine distributes catchable size trout throughout Inyo County. Just to the north of Big Pine is Klondike Lake, great for swimming boating, water skiing and wind surfing. Further to the north halfway to Bishop is Keough Hot Springs, natural hot pools named for an early pioneer family.

Above to the west is Palisade Glacier, the largest in the Sierra and the most southern in the United States. The paved road that heads in that direction ends at Glacier Lodge, four USFS campgrounds and several hiker parking areas. Trails and climbing routes are dispersed through both the South Fork and North Fork of Big Pine Canyon, connecting with the John Muir and Sierra Crest Trails. Big Pine Canyon and Big Pine Creek boasts some of the finest fishing in the Sierra. Big Pine lakes in both the North and South Fork areas are brimming with Brook, Brown, Rainbow and Golden trout.

East of Big Pine, high in the White Mountains, the ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest claims the world's oldest living things, the gnarled, picturesque Bristlecone Pine. The oldest specimen is estimated at 4,600 years. Cal Tech's Owen's Valley Radio Telescopes can be observed in the distance from Highway 395 north of Big Pine. The largest of these measures 130 feet in diameter and can be seen only a short distance into the park.

Things to See & Do
     
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