HIGHWAY 395, it can be said with some confidence, is a road that's dotted with delights of a surprising and historic nature. Very historic in some cases, as in the boulders of the Alabama Hills and the Bristlecone Pines, which are some of the oldest living things on the planet. But finding something made by humans, that's still quite old -- a hundred years old, in fact -- isn't that difficult around the Eastern Sierra. Just a pinch down the fabled thoroughfare from Big Pine, and just a few pinches up from Independence, sits the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery, which will soon pass into its second century as one of the great and most noted landmarks of the area.
GOLDEN TROUT: It's a challenge to discuss the story of fish in California, and specifically the Sierra Nevada, without talking about Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery's crucial role in keeping the trout population vibrant and waterways stocked. The tower-pretty building, which looks as though it might have been transported directly from the Alps by way of an artisan tile studio, is open to visitors wanting to learn more about this fascinating slice of wildlife. But, per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the location is "not an active hatchery" due to "devastating mud slides in 2008."
ON THE 395: Want to discover a picturesque spot with an important piscine past? And enjoy the tree-dotted, water-pretty grounds during a picnic lunch? Both things are possible at the hatchery, which does maintain open hours for visitors looking for a stroll, some knowledge, or both. Grab some sandwiches on your way south at Erick Schat's Bakerÿ in Bishop, then make for the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery, where peaceful noshing, and knowing more about the area's fish-stocking story, await. Just be sure to check open hours, and days of the week, before calling upon the postcard-ready location.