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Buttermilk Country

Friday, April 28, 2023

Other Names

Inyo National Forest, Mcgee Creek, Birch Creek, Buttermilks

Last Known StatusOpen

This part of the Inyo National Forest offers a popular 4x4 road and some ATV and dirt bike loops. The terrain starts out as typical high desert but as you venture further towards the mountains the vegetation becomes more abundant and changes to various pine and cottonwood trees.

The ATV trails can be found about a half mile from the entrance of Buttermilk Road and Hwy 168. The trails form designated loops but can also be used to head north toward Tungsten Hills, which has additional trails and hill climbs to explore. This area is also home to some unique boulders that are used by rock climbers from all over the world.

If you stay on Buttermilk Road and head west about seven miles (street legal vehicles only), you will eventually tie into more forest service roads that wind through shallow creek crossings and grassy meadows.

This area also comes with a local legend. Back in 1870 there used to be a dairy farm off Buttermilk Road. The tale goes that the road from the dairy was so rough that that fresh milk could be churned into buttermilk by the time you reached Bishop.

Trail Map... Nearby ATV Trails...


Permit RequiredYesCA OHMVR stickers required
Dates OpenYear-RoundCA OHMVR red sticker vehicles permitted year round
Other ATV Stickers AcceptedYesResidents of any state not listed must purchase a Nonresident OHV Use Permit. (AR, AZ, CA, CT, DE, IA, ID, IN, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY)
Spark ArrestorYesA spark arresting exhaust silencer or end cap is required for all vehicles.
Noise LimitYes (96 dB)CA OHMVR noise limits apply (1985/older limit 101 dB, 1986/newer limit 96 dB)
Whip FlagsNot Required
Maximum Vehicle WidthNo Restriction
Allow Dirt Bikes, Trail Bikes and Motorcycles Motorcycles & Dirt BikesPermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
Allow All Terrain Vehicles / Quads / Four Wheelers ATVsPermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
Allow Utility Terrain Vehicles, Side by Sides (SXS), RZR UTV & SXSPermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
Allow 4x4 Jeeps, SUVs and 4 x 4 Trucks with License Plates SUVs & Jeeps (registered)Permitted
Dune Buggy & Sand Rail
4x4 (unregistered)
PermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
2 Stroke EnginesNo RestrictionCA OHMVR restrictions apply
MX Helmet RequiredYeshelmets required by state law
Camping / Overnight RV Parking CampingSome Areas(camp in developed sites only)
Campfire Restrictions CampfiresSome Areas(permitted in developed campsites only)
Night RidingUnknown
Trail BlazingProhibitedkeep on designated trails
Rule Enforcement


AreaMotorized Trails
LandNational Forest




Our RatingRatingGood
Recommended StayFull Day
Comments(Scroll Down For Rider Reviews & Comments)


Nearest CityBishop, CA
AddressButtermilk Road, Bishop, CA 93514
Go Back To California List
Trail MapGo To Trail Map
From: Bishop, CA
1) Take Hwy 168 West about 7 miles
2) Turn right onto Buttermilk Road, continue about .5 miles
3) Staging area is on the right (north).


Contact InfoInyo National Forest - Forest Supervisor's Office
351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514
(760) 873-2400



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Approx Size10,000 acres (16 sq mi)
Miles Of Trail25
Climate TypeForest
Elevation5600 to 5800 ft.
Trail MaintenanceMarked, Not Rated, Lightly Maintained
Loose DirtThis trail has some loose dirt.Some
Hard PackThe trail has mostly hard pack terrain.Mostly
SandThis trail has some sandy areas.Some
MudThe trail has little mud after it rains.Little
DustThe trail has some dust on typical days.Some
RocksThis trail has some rocks.Some
TreesThe trail has some trees.Some
Steep HillsThis trail has few steep hills.Few
Water CrossingsThe trail has some water crossings.Some
Small JumpsThis trail has some small jumps.Some
Large JumpsThis trail has no large jumps.None
BermsThe trail has many berms.Many
Sand/Gravel PitsThis national forest has no sand or gravel pits.None
Single TrackThis national forest has few single track trails.Few
RoadsThis national forest has some roads.Some
ShadeThis national forest has some shaded areas.Some
HazardsThis trail has few hazards.Few(hazards assumed marked but use caution)
Easy Terrain NoviceThis trail has some beginner terrain.Some
Moderate Terrain AmateurThis trail has mostly intermediate level terrain.Mostly
Difficult Terrain ExpertThis trail has little expert terrain.Little


Gasoline Gasoline5-20 Miles (NE)Bishop Paiute Gas Station (760) 872-1224
Diesel Diesel5-20 Miles (NE)Bishop Paiute Gas Station (760) 872-1224
Potable Water Water1-5 Miles (N)Browns Millpond Campground (760) 873-8522
RV Hookups RV Hookup1-5 Miles (N)Browns Millpond Campground (760) 873-8522
RV Dump Station RV Disposal1-5 Miles (N)Browns Millpond Campground (760) 873-8522
Primitive Camping Campground1-5 Miles (NW)Horton Creek Campground (760) 872-5000
Convenience Store Conv Store5-20 Miles (NE)Bishop Paiute Gas Station (760) 872-1224
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