Home / Bishop


Bishop, California

Bishop is the largest and only city in Inyo County with a population of 3,879. The city is located at 4,150 feet at the northern end of Owens Valley.

The city is located between two mountain ranges with peaks over 14,000 feet. To the east are the White Mountains while the Sierra Nevada mountains are located to the west. Bishop runs in the north to south direction in the deep Owens Valley between these mountain ranges.

In 1849, Samuel Addison Bishop found his way to California. Before arriving in Inyo County, Bishop associated with Edward F. Beale, a general at Rancho El Tejón in present day Kern County.

In 1861, Bishop and his wife relocated to Inyo where they settled on a creek that would later become Bishop Creek. They settled on a portion of the creek three miles southwest of the present day city of Bishop.

The site, known then as San Francis Ranch, is located west of Bishop on Red Hill Road off Highway 168. The site was named after Frances Ella Young, the wife of Bishop.

Settlers lived in the area around the same time Bishop arrived. The town grew considerably thanks to rich farmland in the surrounding area and mining in the nearby White Inyo Range.

During the early years of settlement, the area was known as Bishop Creek.

On July 4, 1862, the United States army established Fort Independence, 40 miles south of Bishop. The purpose of the fort was to protect settlers in the Owens Valley from Paiute Indians residing in the area.

Farmers in the area supplied goods to miners in towns such as Aurora and Bodie, around 90 miles to the north near Mono Lake and Lee Vining.

The farming and agricultural industry thrived in Bishop until the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power made plans to create an aqueduct.

Los Angeles was looking for a source of water and the Owens River was the answer.

The aqueduct drained much of the water from the Owens River as it traveled for hundreds of miles towards Los Angeles. The aqueduct was dedicated on November 5, 1913.

On May 6, 1903, Bishop became a city. Today, it is the only incorporated city in Inyo County.

Bishop is located about 40 miles south of Mammoth Lakes and about 15 miles north of Big Pine.