Travel Information

Bishop, CA is on the east side of the Sierra Nevada in the Owens Valley, not far from the Nevada state line. Most visitors travel here by car via US 395.

Google Map

Check current road conditions on CalTrans

Map of White Mountains and surrounding areas, showing roads to Crooked Creek and Barcroft.

Bus service on Eastern Sierra Transit may be available from Los Angeles, to the south, and from Reno, to the north. The nearest major airports are in Reno, NV, Las Vegas, NV, and Los Angeles, CA.

There are small airports in the towns of Mammoth Lakes, Ridgecrest, and Bishop, but commercial service to these airports is limited.

Highways crossing the Sierra Nevada, for example Route 120 over Tioga Pass from Yosemite, are usually closed in winter/spring, and that US Highway 395 may experience winter snow conditions north of Bishop. 

Driving to Owens Valley Station From Bishop. The street address of the OVS is 3000 E. Line Street. From Main Street in Bishop (US 395) turn east on Line St. and drive for almost 6 km (note that the street name changes to Poleta Rd.). Shortly after crossing the Owens River bridge the OVS will be visible on the south side of the road. Please note that the Google Maps location for WMRS may be incorrect: we are 6 km EAST of Main St., not west as shown on the map.

Approximate driving times to WMRC Owens Valley Station (OVS) from the nearest airports are:

  • Bishop: 5 minutes
  • Mammoth Lakes: 45 minutes
  • Inyokern: 3 hours
  • Reno: 4 hours
  • Las Vegas: 4.5 hours
  • Los Angeles International: 5 hours
  • Los Angeles Ontario: 5 hours 

Driving directions to upper stations

From California
Access to Owens Valley from both northern and southern California is via US highway 395. At the junction of highway 395 and California highway 168 at Big Pine, drive east on highway 168 into the White Mountains. About 21 km from 395 at Westgard Pass, turn north (left) onto the White Mountain Road and follow the instructions below for the station you wish to visit. The White Mountain Road is paved and its intersection with highway 168 is marked with a sign. 

From Nevada:
Approach California Highway 168 from the Oasis junction at the south end of Fishlake Valley. Drive west on 168 over Gilbert Pass, through Deep Springs Valley and up Westgard Pass to the intersection of 168 with the White Mountain Road. A sign marks this intersection. Turn north on the White Mountain Road and follow the instructions below for the station you wish to visit. The White Mountain Road is paved and its intersection with highway 168 is marked with a sign. 

Once on White Mountain Road, drive north for about 16 km on pavement (see area map):

Crooked Creek Station At Schulman Grove, about 16 km from highway 168, the pavement ends. Continue north another 16 km until the junction with the road to Crooked Creek. This junction is marked with a sign. Turn right and drive 1 km east on this road to the Crooked Creek station. 

Distance from Owens Valley Station (Bishop) to Crooked Creek = 88 km (55 miles); driving time ~ 1.5 hours 

Driving to Barcroft Station Before leaving for Barcroft Station be sure to contact the WMRC office in Bishop to arrange to have the locked Barcroft gate (two miles south of Barcroft) opened. Follow the instructions above for driving to Crooked Creek Station. At the intersection of the White Mountain Road and the Crooked Creek road, continue north on the White Mountain Road. Drive 11 km to the locked gate. Locking the gate behind you, proceed 3 km to the Barcroft Station. 

Driving to the Barcroft Observatory Dome This facility is only accessible by a steep rugged road, and researchers must obtain permission from station personnel before driving to the dome.

Distance from Owens Station (Bishop) to Barcroft = 104 km (65 miles); driving time ~ 2 hours

Driving to the Summit Laboratory This facility is only accessible by a steep jeep track. 4-wheel drive low gear range and high clearance is essential. Only approved research projects making use of the summit lab are allowed to use this road, and only after prior arrangement with station personnel. Note that snow usually blocks the road 400 m below the summit lab.

Travel, including field work and use of WMRC facilities, is a significant contributor to carbon dioxide emissions and global climate change. Please consider donating $$ to alternative energy programs, enough to offset the CO2 generated by your trip. See Carbon Offsets page for more information

DISCLAIMER. WMRC high-altitude facilities are located at altitudes above 3,000 m (see area map) along the White Mountain Road. The road is usually clear of snow between late June and November. Please consider:

  • Discomfort and altitude sickness can happen to anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. If you have questions or concerns about your reaction to high-altitude environments, please consult your physician before attempting to drive to Barcroft or Crooked Creek Stations.
  • There are no services or communications facilites after leaving Big Pine.
  • If you are a WMRC researcher, please visit or call the Owens Valley Lab to leave your travel plans before attempting to drive to Crooked Creek or Barcroft Station.
  • the White Mountain Road north of Schulman grove is unpaved. Portions are rocky and have washboards — Keeping driving speeds below 40 km/h (25 mph) reduces the likelihood of flat tires.
  • Although WMRC recommends the use of high clearance vehicles, when the road is open it can usually be negotiated without difficulty by standard passenger cars.
  • For current information about the status of the White Mountain Road, please call Inyo National Forest at 760-873-2500.

Real Time Conditions

Crooked Creek Web Camera

Barcroft Station Web Camera

Alert Wildfire Web Camera (Eastern slope of the White Mountains)

Alert California Web Camera (from Silver Canyon)