Sunday, September 29, 2013

Buttermilk Country



Located just 7 miles west of Bishop, CA off Hwy 168, Buttermilk Road got its name from a dairy that produced buttermilk in the 1800s. The area used to be known for its tungsten mines, but is now famous for bouldering. The dirt road is very wide but was one of the worst washboard roads we’ve driven on. There are a few legal spots to disperse camp, but much of the land is owned by the LA Dept of Water and Power and is posted no camping. Doubt we could drive the Lazy Daze slow enough to keep it from falling apart, anyway, but we did see a couple RVs several miles down the road. Of course one was a rental. We always get a kick out of the places we see rental RVs. They must have to sell the used ones for next to nothing!

On a weekday there was hardly anyone around, so we parked near a trail going up to the rocks. 


Saw a couple climbers. The rock is so rough and porous and full of foot and handholds that it’s surprisingly easy to climb up


The landscape is dotted with huge boulders and piles of rock.


Finger rock?


A beached whale?


Lots of interesting shapes and sizes.


Jim and Debbie got high, but it was a bit too much for me. Got halfway up and decided I may never get back down so I did my own exploring and took some photos.




Jim took this from his highest point.


The big wildlife sighting, other than a jack rabbit.


We could see this dirt road going up to more rocks, so Jim decided he wanted to try and drive up it.


It looked so good from a distance, but was steep and full of huge rocks and ruts. I got out to walk and scope it out ahead, but he decided to try it anyway. Didn’t get too far, though, and finally backed up to a level area and parked. The rocks were even better looking up close.



Once again Jim set his sights on the highest point, but only made it about half way. We had been out there almost three hours, ran out of water, and were getting tired. He decided we must come back another day.


Bouldering is great fun, although our tamer version of it is really more like rock scrambling.  And if you just like looking at fantastic scenery, it is definitely worth taking a drive along Buttermilk Road.


  1. What a fairyland place!!!! Just a lovely find.
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. Wow - beautiful! All the times I've been there I never heard of this. We are just up the hill and headed to Horton Creek in a couple days. Hope you'll still be there.

  3. I love those rocks. The different shapes are awesome.

    We have never tried bouldering. Sounds like a ton of fun.

  4. Are you sure you are not on the moon? The picture from the top of the rocks looks like something the landrover took on the moon.

  5. Those rocks are really something. I'm glad you took a picture of someone standing by one to get an idea of just how big they are.

  6. Gorgeous shots today, looks like a place I'd wander around until I was exhausted and dehydrated too!

  7. What a cool site! I love giant rocks :-)

  8. I love it! What a wonderful area! So many unique shapes. I can understand why you ran out of water and ended up spending so much time. I can hardly wait to get there. I love climbing around on the rocks. I think we do scrambling, also. I'll have to research bouldering. Something new to try!

    You three are really tiny in the photos. Those are amazingly huge boulders. Yes, I think that is a finger. Love the whale!

  9. WOW!! Gorgeous. I love the rocks and boulders around Bishop. Is this off the road going up to Lake Sabrina and the Bishop Creek area? We have driven that road many times but have never explored the Buttermilk area. The Fit does not like unpaved roads...I gotta get a Jeep...