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Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 | 7 comments

Rock Creek Area in the Eastern Sierra

The morning of day 2 of our short road trip, we headed to the Rock Creek area from the city of Bishop (the largest city along the U.S. 395 Highway).  Mission: To admire one of the most beautiful areas of the Eastern Sierra Nevada. 

Rock Creek is considered one of the premier areas for outdoor lovers in the Eastern Sierra.  It is not only the gorgeous views.  Enthusiasts are attracted because of the pack station, 10 campgrounds, 3 trailheads, a creek and a lake full of fish. Visitors can camp, hike, bike, swim, rent a boat or relax.  In winter, the area counts with a snow park where skiing, snowboarding and dog sledding are allowed. Even though I have mentioned a lot of interesting things to do in this area, a lot of people just visit to have a piece of pie served at the Rock Creek Lakes Resort main building (sadly, it was closed for the season when we visited).  A piece of pie that can compete with outstanding views and activities?  I guess it is that good.

We started our visit to Rock Creek by stopping at Tom’s Place.  This is a famous café, lodge, store and permits seller.  It is so famous that it appears in most of the area’s maps.

Tom’s Place


Once we started to get more deeply into the area, the foliage started to change colors.  Vivid yellows and burnt oranges captivated our sight. The colorful leaves added a sharp contrast to the pine green and white snow seen in the area.  We wanted to walk around one of the campsites.  You know, just to admire the surroundings.  It wasn’t open (closed for the season).  However, that didn’t stop us.  We enter by foot leaving the car behind.  We were rewarded with humbling views of the mountains, trees and clouds (for some reasons the clouds were forming weird patterns).  Additionally, we took a look around Rock Creek (the creek which gives its name to the area).  The creek is a tributary of the Owens River (the river which formed the valley).

Unusual Shapes in the Sky


Campsite next to the Mountain


After more than 45 minutes of admiring the area, we parted to the pack station.  Too bad I didn’t see a bear (from far away, of course).

Creek surrounded by pine


Heart shaped rock


In case you are not familiarized with the term (I wasn’t), a pack station is “the base of operations for transporting freight via pack animals in the Sierra Nevada mountains”.  The government and commercial outfitters have pack operations to transport construction materials, trail tools, and fire fighting equipment into wilderness areas.  This is mainly a California used term.

Fall foliage in mountain landscape


Wild berries


The pack station is also used to catch hourly or day rides (on an animal back).

Yellow Trees, Rock Creek


The pack station is at about 10,000 feet.  At this altitude, a lot of people start to feel funky.  A lot of my friends kept asking me if I was feeling the altitude.  Seriously, I didn’t feel anything (La Paz, I am ready for you).  The temperature dropped considerably.  Snow was covering the ground.  My husband was even chilling his Monster in the snow.

Road to pack station


Creek close to the pack station


Our final stop was the Rock Creek Lake.  First, we saw it from above. Pretty nice, huh? Looks like water you would see while vacationing on a Mediterranean island like Malta or on the Pacific side of Central America.

Rock Creek Lake Seen From Above


Then, we descended.  People were doing all sort of activities.  Some were fishing, kayaking or canoeing.  Fishing seems to draw the most attention since the lake is full of trout

Contemplating the Rock Creek Lake


However, I felt happy just by being there.  The beauty of the place was enough to captivate me.  Plus, the sound of the golden leaves moving with the breeze was music to my ears.  That sound still resonates in my head.

Fishing on Rock Creek Lake


As you can see, I had an amazing time exploring the area. I recommend it to anybody driving around, trying to discover a new place or just hanging around.

Another view of Rock Creek Lake


What natural landscape has captured you?  Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. 395 is a beautiful drive and is always listed as having some of the best Fall foliage in California. As part of my annual Fall colors tour, I am going to have to make this a stop one day.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Where in the world am I?My Profile

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