It’s the weekend which means travel time! and the Eastern Sierra Nevada is our direct destination.
In the western part of the US, the Sierra Nevada is a major mountain range which lies in between the Central Valley of California and Basin and Range Province. This huge range runs more than 400 miles from south (Mojave Desert) to the north (Oregon) and 70 miles across east to west.
For the weekend, our family heads to the Eastern Sierra. The small town of Lone Pine at the base of Mount Whitney on east side of the Sierra Nevada is our destination. This is the starting point to both lowest and highest elevations in the continental United States; with 80 miles distance separating Death Valley (-282’) and Mount Whitney (14,505’). Thus, Diaz Lake Campground is our stop-off for the next 3 days and it is situated in Inyo County.
Driving along northbound route 395, I saw the outstanding beauty that I have never seen before. While others love the beach, there is something that will mesmerize you with the mountains. From Bakersfield to Diaz Lake, it took 3 and half hours of driving with a couple stops along the way (one of which was Red Rock Canyon which I will be covering in a later post). It was quiet long drive, but the views are amazing well worth the trouble.
Here is my Guide to Visiting Lake Diaz.
In 1872, an earthquake hit the Lone Pine which resulted in the Owen’s Valley to dropping around 20 feet down. Then, the lowland was filled with water through the newly opened spring. The lake was named after the Diaz family, an immigrant from Chile who owned a cattle ranch here in 1860’s. Eventually, the land was then sold to the city of Los Angeles.
Getting to Lake Diaz
Two days prior to our weekend trip, we booked our RV spot to make sure we have a space. The campground is run by Inyo County and the reservation fees are affordable at the low rate of $14 per site per night. You can make reservations for this campground and others at reserveamerica.com. The process is fast and easy. You can even pick your site from an interactive map. I recommend any sites from 64-80. These sites have direct lake access and are nice and level for an RV. The lake and campground are located 2 miles south of Lone Pine on US Route 395 and SR-136.
Diaz Lake offers dry camping services convenient for you and your family. Comprising of an 80-acre lake, you can enjoy swimming, fishing and boating. All year round, Diaz Lake allows shore fishing as they also have their fish cleaning stations available throughout the campground. You can also find their ADA fishing deck located near the boat launch ramp. Diaz Lake has 100 lakeside campsites and the spaces are very much accessible for large RV’s. There are no hook-ups available at any site. However, there are many water spigots located throughout. The campground is pet-friendly but as usual, pets should be on leash and must be attended to. Relax with your own expansive views while picnicking or keep yourself warm on cold days with a camp fire. Experience an insta-worthy view of the lake or of the famous Mount Whitney.
Helpful Tip: RV Dump Stations are available close by for a fee at Boulder Creek RV Park and Tuttle Creek Campground. Hot showers can be acquired (for a fee) at Boulder Creek or the Whitney Portal Hostel and Hotel in Lone Pine. The only real grocery store in the area is Joseph’s Bi-Rite Market and all other shopping needs mean a trip to Bishop, CA which is about an hour away (so come prepared).
Now that I have seen one side of the Sierra Nevada, I was asked if I love the mountains better than the beach. There is always beauty in them both that you can hardly compare. When you’re in union with nature – may it be in the desert, the mountains or at the coast, one thing that they will always give you is that they keep you grounded with yourself and give you peace from within…