Mammoth Lakes Ranger District is located in the northern half of Inyo National Forest, and is centered around the town of Mammoth Lakes, CA. While known for winter sports, it is also a mecca for mountain biking and fishing enthusiasts when the snow melts. Hiking and equestrian trails go into wilderness areas of Sierra Nevada.
During a gigantic eruption about 760,000 years ago, an area bordered by what is now Mammoth Mountain, the Glass Mountains and Crowley Lake (approximately 12 miles wide by 18 miles long), collapsed to form the Long Valley Caldera. The eruption produced the Bishop Tuff, a pinkish-red rock that can be seen along US 395 on the Sherwin Grade. Three hundred and fifty square miles were buried beneath 500 feet of Bishop Tuff. Ash from the eruption has been found as far east as Nebraska. Later, other volcanoes erupted along the rim of this gigantic Caldera, one of which was Mammoth Mountain, which grew on the rim of the Caldera over 50,000 years ago.
Volcanic eruptions have continued within the Caldera and north along the Inyo-Mono volcanic chain. Eruptions at Obsidian Dome, South Deadman Dome and Panum Crater all occurred as recently as 500 to 800 years ago. The bottom of the Mono Lake was pushed up above the lake surface by an injection of magma to form Paoha (the white) Island approximately 300 years ago.
Spectacular views from Minaret Vista survey this canyon full of recreational opportunities. Camp, fish, hike and explore Devils Postpile National Monument, Reds Meadow Resort and Agnew Meadows. Devils Postpile National Monument website has additional shuttlebus information.
Mono Lake Ranger District is the northernmost district of Inyo National Forest. The western portion of the district is adjacent to Yosemite National Park, and includes one of the most spectacular and accessible areas of the Sierra Nevada. To the east is Mono Lake, and the world's largest stand of majestic Jeffrey Pines.
White Mountain Ranger District extends from the crest of the Sierra Nevada to the White Mountains. There are lakes, ponds, rivers and creeks for fishing. Roads and trails explore a wide variety of terrain and life zones. Elevations accessible by car range from 3,900 ft in Big Pine to 10,100 ft at the end of Rock Creek Road.
This high desert mountain range is home to the oldest living trees in the world: the Ancient Bristlecone Pines. The range is anchored at the north end by the highest peak in the State of Nevada, Boundary Peak. Water is scarce in this Great Basin Range but the views, hiking and exploring are tops!
Visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is an enjoyable way to spend a day learning about the oldest trees in the world. Living trees exceed 4000 years of age with weathered, twisted, and beautifully colored wood. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Natural History. Bristlecone pines and limber pines dot this high elevation landscape with great views of the Great Basin in Nevada.
At Schulman Grove, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center is open in summer, with interpretive programs, gifts, and information about the trees. Bristlecone trees can be viewed from the parking area and boardwalks around the visitor center. Further exploration of the forest may be done via 3 self-guided trails.
Beyond Schulman Grove lies the Patriarch Grove, 13 miles north on a good dirt road. Patriarch Grove is home to the world's largest Bristlecone Pine, the Patriarch Tree. Its splendid remoteness and moonscape appearance gives the Patriarch Grove a surreal atmosphere. There are 2 short trails at the Patriarch Grove, with a picnic area and restroom.
A visit to both Schulman Grove and Patriarch Grove is possible in the same day if you get an early start. This is a high elevation, remote area with limited cell phone coverage. If you are going to visit the Bristlecones or camp at Grandview Campground, you need to be prepared to be self-sufficient. The nearest source for food, water, or fuel is Big Pine, CA.
Camping is not allowed in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Nearest campground is Grandview Campground.