White Mountains - Grandview Campground
Eastern California


Grandview Campground is located in the White Mountains east of Bishop, California and is a spectacular location for amateur astronomy, hiking, photography and camping.
To the west across a deep chasm known as the Owens Valley lies the rugged and snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range seen in this image. Just slightly left of center
is one of the highest regions of the Sierra Nevada, the Palisades range. The Palisade's highest peak, a formidable mountain named North Palisade, is surrounded by small
glaciers and rises precipitously to a height of 14,242 feet above sea level. One of the main attractions near Grandview Campground is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
where the oldest living trees on Earth can be found. These ancient trees survive in the limestone soil of the White Mountains at an average elevation of about 10,000 feet,
so visiting them requires the stamina to tolerate high altitude and cold temperatures. Be prepared for quickly changing weather during any season.

Getting to the White Mountains is an adventure in itself, especially if you are pulling a trailer. Heading east from US 395 at the town of Big Pine, CA, a paved two-lane
road climbs steadily to Westgard Pass, en route traversing this narrow canyon. The road actually narrows to one-lane at this point as it passes through a deep
cleft in the rocks. A few miles beyond is the signed turnoff to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and Grandview Campground. Driving the Westgard Pass road
in both directions requires vigilance and a good set of brakes!

The turnoff to Grandview Campground is signed as shown above.
The campground is located about 8 miles beyond this turnoff and the
Bristlecone Pine Forest is about 10 miles. The UC Research Stations
noted on the sign is the Barcroft Station, an alpine research facility at
12,500 feet elevation that conducts studies in a number of scientific
fields, including astronomy, physics and physiology.

Following the sometimes steep paved road north from the Westgard
Pass Road, one arrives at the entrance to Grandview Campground.
This is the largest organized campground in the White Mountains with
25 primitive sites. There is no water or electrical hookups at this
location; the camping is strictly primitive. Fees are by donation
and the maximum stay is 14 days.
A typical campsite at Grandview Campground. Most of the sites have picnic tables and a nearby outhouse. The sites on the south side of the Campground seem to offer the best
accommodations for amateur astronomers, having a greater degree of openness and wider sky vistas. Choose your site carefully however, as you may find your neighbor is not
an astronomer and prefers to have a campfire in the evening.

Grandview Campground is a very dark sky site perfect for astrophotography. 

On moonless nights the Milky Way is ablaze, painting a celestial scene of grandeur across the heavens.  The green and red patches of sky down near the horizon in the
above image are neither clouds nor light pollution but an atmospheric phenomena known as airglow.  It’s caused by electrons, which stripped from their host
atoms of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen by the Sun’s UV radiation during the daylight hours, recombine at night to release energy as light of different colors
including green, red, yellow and blue.