The easternn slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is little known by most, but dearly loved by those who have seen and experienced its beauty. Here the mountains are steeper, the elevation changes are greater, and the climate is drier than on the west side of the mountains. The east side is geographically separated from the populated California Coast and Central Valley regions by this massive granitic mountain range. This isolation gives the landscape a distinctly wild and scenic character.
The culture also has a distinct character as a result of this isolation, and has been affectionately named the culture “behind the granite curtain.” Also, the Sierra Nevada Range is the longest, highest and most diverse mountain range in the continental United States, and it is a region of extremes. In the High Sierra, it is a mere 80 miles from the highest peak in the lower 48, Mt. Whitney (14,494 ft.), to the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park (282 ft. below sea level).
There are many beautiful places to visit in the Eastern Sierra. The Ansel Adams area, with glacier views and pristine alpine lakes, is a spectacular part of the vast Inyo National Forest which is home of the Eastern Sierra gems surrounding Bishop, Mammoth Lakes and Mt. Whitney. Evolution Valley is another gorgeous granite landscape with lakes, waterfalls, and snow-covered peaks. Near Bridgeport, Mammoth Lakes, and Bishop are access points to the high mountains and desert landscapes alike. Yosemite, with its granite domes and waterfalls, and the White Mountains, with their bristlecone pines and breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain, are just minutes away as well. The Eastern Sierra destination has endless potential.
Day hiking, trekking, rock climbing, bouldering, scrambling up peaks and granite domes, and visiting hot springs and ghost towns are all possible in the Eastern Sierra. You can choose a base camp and enjoy daily excursions to the mountains or cultural sites, or go on a backpackers' dream trip to Evolution Valley or the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Day tours to Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, and Rock Creek Areas include stops at waterfalls, hot springs, mountain lakes, and cultural sites.
Once we gauge your interest, we’ll contact the proper national forest or wilderness managers to see if permitting quotas are still available. The extremely popular Ansel Adams Wilderness Area can require up to 200 days advance notice to obtain use permits. So that Lifeschool has ample time to acquire the proper permits and you aren't disappointed, please plan well in advance if you choose Ansel Adams for your destination.
If you love the desert, combine the Eastern Sierra with a trip to Death Valley! Please see the Death Valley page for more details of this area.