GPS: 37°22’N; 118°24’W
Owens Valley ranchers and Buttermilk boulderers share paradise in this quiet community an hour south of Mammoth Lakes. Yosemite National Park is three hours away, Death Valley two, and the soaring Sierra Nevada less than one.
The Buttermilk Boulders are about 13 miles (21 kilometers) west of town; follow Highway 168 (West Line Street) for 12 miles (19 kilometers), then take the Buttermilk Road straight to the rocks. Or trek to the summit of White Mountain Peak, a 14,246-footer (4,342-meter peak) with views of the jagged Sierra, eerie Mojave Desert, and glowing Las Vegas. Load up on gear and local intel at Wilsons Eastside Sports (www.eastsidesports.com).
Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ has the best sandwiches (read: daily, home-baked bread) between Los Angeles and Tahoe (http://www.schats.com/).
The nearby Bishop Creek Lodge has rustic cabins smack in the heart of high Sierra country (cabins from $125; bishopcreekresort.com/front/index.htm).