Inyo County California

Inyo is a unique county in that it offers a plethora of varieties of all components you could ask for in a county; some areas are arid and barren, yet others are lush and green. It boasts the highest and lowest points within the states of America. There are many reasons to visit it, including the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley.

Inyo County offers a lot, from being the backdrop to big-name Hollywood films to having record high temperatures in some areas. It is home to numerous protected national parks and even has towns where the population is as low as 17people. If you love the outdoors, go to Inyo.

Alabama Hills Sierra Nevada Inyo County
Alabama Hills Sierra Nevada Inyo County

What Is Inyo County California Known For?

You will not be short of adventure and awe in this county that offers spectacular views and countless variations of landscapes. There are deserts but also meadows that are covered in wildflowers. Rivers run, coursing down the mountains, and there is nowhere that you will not see strikingly gorgeous natural beauty.

  • Lone Pine In Eastern Sierra
  • Having The Lowest And Highest Points In The States
  • Having The Second-Largest Number Of National Protected Areas

Lone Pine In Eastern Sierra

The reason that Inyo County is known for Lone Pine is that the surrounding areas of this town have been the backdrop for various Hollywood films. These are not small productions either; one of the most notable is Gladiator (2000), and additionally, others such as How the West Was Won (1962) and Gunga Din (1939) were also shot here.

Additionally, the town is known for being the jumping-off point for fishing trout. The trout season here starts early, and the best places to go fishing near Lone Pine are Lone Pine Campground, Taboose Creek, Cottonwood Lakes, Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery, and Onion Valley Campground.

Having The Lowest And Highest Points In The States

Death Valley is the lowest point in the United States, and it is home to the Great Basin bristlecone pines, which are reportedly the oldest life forms in the world.

On the other hand, you have the highest point in the United States, Mount Whitney, which offers an ideal space to fish for trout. The mountain provides incredible views and offers some of the best spring backcountry skiing, hang gliding, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

Having The Second-Largest Number Of National Protected Areas

Inyo County has the second-highest number of National Wilderness Preservation Areas, with as many as 22 in total. The only county that exceeds them is San Bernardino County, which has 35 wilderness areas. The Preservation areas include the likes of Argus Range Wilderness, Darwin Falls Wilderness, Death Valley Wilderness, Manly Peak Wilderness, and Resting Spring Range Wilderness.

The majority of the areas are managed by The Bureau of Land Management; however, four of them are part of Death Valley National Park and the Inyo National Forest. These are managed by the Forest Service and the National Park Service. Some of the wilderness areas do extend into bordering counties as well.

Inyo County Owens River
Inyo County Owens River

What’s In Inyo County?

One key factor about Inyo County is that nature and its preservation are paramount; there are incredible mountains and shallow valleys. You will find many lakes and rivers in which to fish or enjoy water activities. But the county has a little bit of everything from wildlife preserves to endangered species and even unique towns where odd habits have become attractions.

Pearsonville

This is a town you will miss if you blink; reportedly, only 17 people live in Pearsonville, according to a 2010 consensus. If you are traveling north on the U.S. 395, you will arrive at this little town dubbed the “Hub Cap Capital of the World,” which is owed to someone by the name of Lucy Pearson.

Lucy collected an extraordinary number of hubcaps and turned it into quite the collection; she cataloged and stored them in a vast warehouse. So if you enjoy seeing quirky collections, pull into Pearsonville, where you will find this, as well as food, gas, towing service, and a wrecking yard.

White Mountains

The White Mountains are the home of the Ancient Bristlecone Forest and are located 36 miles east of Big Pine. As mentioned earlier, the trees here are the oldest living things on earth. The oldest one, named Methuselah, is roughly 4,800 years old.

The Sierra Nevada that faces the White Mountains are desert mountains housing only a sprinkle of pine trees and are not nearly as lush as the White Mountains. If you head north along the upper valley, you will find that the range’s crest rises from 10,000-14,000ft (3,048-4,267 meters). Reaching the northern end, you will arrive at Montgomery and Boundary, which are often snowcapped.

California Bighorn Sheep

The California Bighorn Sheep, or more specifically the threatened Desert Bighorn and the endangered Sierra Bighorn, can often be spotted just north of Bishop.

You will spot the Sierra Bighorn toward the end of the roads that lead up to the Sierra Canyons, which are just west of the U.S. 395. The Desert Bighorn is more likely to be spotted heading up into the White Mountains, which is East of the U.S. 395.

Furnace Creek

Furnace Creek is aptly named, and evidently, not many people can handle the heat, as only 136 people live in Furnace Creek, according to a 2020 census. The village sits below sea level at 190ft (58 meters) and holds the record for the highest temperature of the air in the world.

The reading in question was done in 1913 and sat at 134 °F (56.7 °C); this is not all. The town also holds the record for the highest natural ground temperature, 201 °F (93.9 °C); this record was made in 1972.

One of the town’s primary tourist facilities is the Furnace Creek Golf Course, located at the lowest point on land, sitting at 214ft (65 meters) below sea level. During the summer, the heat is so extreme that some of the lodgings close; however, the golf course remains open, and in 2011 they even established a tournament called the Heatstroke Open.

Death Valley Inyo County
Death Valley Inyo County

Things To Do In Inyo County

As we have seen thus far, nature and caring for it, enjoying it, and soaking it in are some of the main reasons why anyone would want to escape to Inyo. You do not have to look for things to do as there are countless outdoor activities to engage in and keep you and the family occupied for hours. There are golf courses, fishing spots, camping grounds, and many other amenities.

  • Rock Climbing In Bishop
  • Visit Death Valley
  • Visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Rock Climbing In Bishop

Bishop is home to some of the most spectacular rock climbing and bouldering spots in America. The three main areas where you can go to engage in these activities are near Bishop, and they are The Buttermilk Country, the Happy Boulders, and the Sad Boulders. If you are looking for a serious range, then the Happy Boulder is for you as it offers over 450 boulder problems.

The Happy Boulders are in a narrow canyon, and then you do the climbing on mainly freestanding boulders within the canyon. You will also find problems along the rim of the canyon, from slabs to roof, and some of the most noteworthy ones are The Hulk, Action Figure, and Atari.

Visit Death Valley

Death Valley is a national park at the lowest point in North America and one of the hottest places on the earth. What you will witness during your visit there is a vast geological museum that contains an array of examples of the various geological eras of earth.

When visiting, it is highly recommended that you travel by car as the temperatures can be exceedingly hot; however, there is fall and spring when it is possible to take a bike ride through the valley. The only thing to do when you go is to look at the weather forecasts and be aware that the climate conditions in the valley will be vastly different from those on the higher elevations.

Visit The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

This pine forest is a protected area high up in the White Mountains in Inyo County. The Great Bristlecone Pines grow at 9,800-11,000ft (3,000-3,400 meters) above sea level and are in arid alpine conditions. This is also the home of the great “Methuselah”, which is reported to be approximately 4,800 years old.

Famous People From Inyo County

Famous people who hail from Inyo County or became prominent while in Inyo include Brittany Oaks, who is an actress; Walter Hoover, an American rower; and Walter Edward Perry Scott, who was a prospector, performer, and con man.

Brittany Oaks

Brittany Oaks is an actress from Inyo County and was born on the 8th of October 1993. She featured in A Time for Dancing (2002), The Cat in the Hat (2003), and Red Eye (2005).

Walter Hoover

Walter Hoover, an American rower, competed in the men’s double sculls event at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games. He lived from 1934 and passed away on the 16th of April 2020.

Walter Edward Perry Scott

Although born in Cynthiana, Kentucky, he was notorious in the area of Inyo and was referred to as “Death Valley Scotty”. He was a performer, prospector, and a con man, who found his fame in scamming people in gold mining. He also had an iconic mansion that was donned “Scotty’s Castle”.

Inyo County FAQ

Interesting Facts About Inyo County?

  • In a consensus held in 2020, the population sat at 19,016 individuals. This makes for a relatively small population as the median number of people who live in American counties is 100,000.
  • The county is reasonably sizeable, sitting at 10,000 square miles (16,000km2).
  • One of its towns, Furnace Creek, holds records for the hottest recorded air and natural ground temperatures.
  • It is the home of one of the oldest living things on earth, a Bristlecone Pine reportedly over 4,800 years old.

Is Inyo County A Good Place To Live?

Inyo County is the second-largest county in California as far as area goes; however, almost half of that is found within the Death Valley National Park. The population density is the second-lowest in California and sits at 1.8 people per square mile.

If you are the sort of person who does not mind extreme temperatures in certain parts of the County, then you will find it a pleasant place to stay. Thankfully, it is not all as hot as Furnace Creek, and there is a variation across the county. If you enjoy the outdoors and the thought of going biking, rock-climbing, and fishing appeals to you, this is a place worth looking at.

Is It Expensive In Inyo County?

Overall, Inyo is a cheaper place to live than most other places in California. The price of groceries is very similar to the rest of California and so are utilities. However, housing and transport are a lot cheaper, but there is also the downside of medical expenses being somewhat higher than what you would pay elsewhere.

References:

  • In a consensus held in 2020 the population sat at 19,016 individuals:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inyo_County,_California

  • 10,000 square miles (16,000km2):

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Inyo_County 

  • Having The Lowest And Highest Points In The States:

https://www.inyocounty.us/government/about-inyo-county