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City of Bishop
—  City  —
Location in Inyo County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°21′49″N 118°23′42″W / 37.36361°N 118.395°W / 37.36361; -118.395Coordinates: 37°21′49″N 118°23′42″W / 37.36361°N 118.395°W / 37.36361; -118.395
Country United States
State California
County Inyo
 - Total 1.8 sq mi (4.5 km2)
 - Land 1.8 sq mi (4.5 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation [1] 4,147 ft (1,264 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 3,575
 Density 1,986.1/sq mi (794.4/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 93514-93515
Area code(s) 760
FIPS code 06-06798
GNIS feature ID 0277475
Downtown Bishop looking south along US 395

Bishop (formerly, Bishop Creek)[2] is a city in Inyo County, California, USA. Though Bishop is the largest (and only) city in Inyo County, the county seat is in Independence. It is located near the northern end of the Owens Valley,[2] at an elevation of 4147 feet (1264 m).[1] The population was 3,575 at the 2000 census. The town was named after Bishop Creek, flowing out of the Sierra Nevada: the creek was named after Samuel Addison Bishop, a settler in the Owens Valley.

Jill Kinmont(Boothe) grew up in Bishop, California, skiing and racing at Mammoth Mountain. In early 1955, she was the reigning national champion in the slalom, and a top prospect for a medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics, a year away. While competing in the downhill at the Snow Cup in Alta, Utah, on 30 January, 1955, [1] she suffered a near-fatal accident which resulted in paralysis from the neck down. It ironically occurred the same week that Kinmont, weeks shy of her 19th birthday, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine dated 31 January 1955. Kinmont was the subject of two movies: The Other Side of the Mountain in 1975, and The Other Side of the Mountain Part II in 1978. Both films starred Marilyn Hassett as Kinmont.

She was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1967.

Bishop is known as the "Mule Capital of the World" and a week long festival called Bishop Mule Days has been held since 1969 on the week of Memorial Day, celebrating the contributions of pack mules to the area. The festival attracts many tourists, primarily from the Southern California area.

Bishop is well known in the rock climbing community. Near the city are numerous climbing spots that attract visitors from around the world. There are over 2,000 bouldering problems in Bishop. There are two main types of rock: volcanic tuff and granite.

Bishop was the home of Galen Rowell, and his wife Barbara, before their death at the Eastern Sierra Regional Airport. Stuntman and NASCAR driver Stanton Barrett also calls Bishop home. Matt Williams, former Major League Baseball 3rd baseman and slugger, was born in Bishop. Horace M. Albright the second director of the National Park Service was born in Bishop in 1890.

The actor Robert Bray, who portrayed forest ranger Corey Stuart in CBS's Lassie from 1964-1968 and Simon Kane in ABC's Stagecoach West from 1960-1961, retired to Bishop, where he died in 1983 at the age of sixty-five. Former child actor Richard Eyer, who played Bray's son in Stagecoach West, is a teacher in Bishop. Tod Griffin, a television actor from 1953-1961, resided in Bishop at the time of his death in 2002.

The town is the nearest incorporated city to Deep Springs College.



The Bishop Creek post office operated from 1870 to 1889 and from 1935 to 1938.[2] The first Bishop post office opened in 1889.[2]

Public safety

Bishop maintains its own police force (the only one in all of Inyo County), but also has a substation of the Inyo County Sheriff's Department on the outskirts of the City. The California Highway Patrol also has a "resident post" office in town. Ambulance services are provided by Symons Ambulance.

Geography and climate

Bishop lies at the northern end of the Owens Valley.

It is on U.S. Route 395, the main north-south artery through the Owens Valley, connecting the Inland Empire to Reno, Nevada. US 395 also connects Bishop to Los Angeles via State Route 14 through Palmdale. Bishop is also the western terminus of U.S. Route 6. The Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony control land just west of the town. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) controls much of the upstream and surrounding area.

Bishop is immediately to the east of the Sierra Nevada, and west of the White Mountains. Numerous peaks are within a short distance of Bishop, including Mount Humphreys (13,986'), to the west, White Mountain Peak (14,242') in the northeast, and pyramidal Mount Tom (13,658') northwest of town. Basin Mountain (13,187') is viewed to the west from Bishop as it rises above the Buttermilks.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.5 km²), all of it land.

Bishop, as well as the rest of the Owens Valley, has an arid climate with only 5.02 inches of precipitation normally falling in a single year. The wettest year was 1969 with 17.09 inches of precipitation and the dryest year was 1989 with only 1.81 inches. Measurable precipitation occurs on an average of 29 days annually. The most precipitation in one month was 8.93 inches in January 1969, which included 4.00 inches on January 4, the most rainfall recorded in 24 hours in Bishop. Snowfall averages 8.4 inches per year. The snowiest year was 1969 with 57.1 inches. The most snow in one month was 23.2 inches in January 1969.

There an average of 96.7 days annually with highs of 90°F (32°C) or higher and an average of 142.1 days annually with lows of 32°F (0°C) or lower. The record high temperature of 110°F was on July 10, 2002. The record low temperature of -8°F was on December 27, 1988. Despite summer daytime temperatures usually exceeding 90°F, very low humidity results in nighttime temperatures in the fifties.[3]

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 77 81 87 93 102 109 110 107 112 97 84 78
Norm High °F 53.6 58.4 64.3 72.1 81.2 91.5 97.9 95.8 87.6 76 62.4 54.3
Norm Low °F 22.4 26.4 31 36 43.7 50.7 55.7 53.7 46.9 37.1 27.1 21.6
Rec Low °F -7 -2 9 15 25 29 34 37 26 16 5 -8
Precip (in) 0.88 0.97 0.62 0.24 0.26 0.21 0.17 0.13 0.28 0.2 0.44 0.62
Source: [1]

Average yearly precipitation is 5.02".


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 3,575 people, 1,684 households, and 831 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,042.5 people per square mile (788.8/km²). There were 1,867 housing units at an average density of 1,066.7/sq mi (411.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.62% White, 0.20% Black or African American, 2.04% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 6.49% from other races, and 5.37% from two or more races. 17.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,684 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.5% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.6% were non-families. 44.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,338, and the median income for a family was $34,423. Males had a median income of $23,433 versus $24,545 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,660. About 14.0% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.0% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Bishop is located in the 18th Senate District, represented by Republican Roy Ashburn, and in the 18th Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Maze. Federally, Bishop is located in California's 25th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7[5] and is represented by Republican Buck McKeon.



AM radio

FM radio


  • KSRW-LP channel 33

Notable locations

  • Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ
  • White Mountain Ranger Station
  • Inyo National Forest Supervisors Ofiice
  • Northern Inyo Hospital Medical Library
  • Bishop City Hall
  • Bishop Fire Department
  • Bishop Visitors Center
  • Wilson's East Side Sports
  • The Rubber Room
  • Paiute Indian Reservation
  • Laws Rail Museum


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Bishop, California
  2. ^ a b c d Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 1148. ISBN 9781884995149. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 

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