Sierra crest from Grouse MountainThe Tungsten Hills west of Bishop are full of boulder pile outcrops. The area is popular with rock climbers and the scenery is accentuated with the spectacular backdrop of the High Sierra. In the southwest part of this "Buttermilk Country" is a small peak that rises high above the others called Grouse Mountain. It is basically a granitic desert peak of sagebrush, sandy terrain and rock formations. This is a short half day hike. The upper part of the mountain has a plateau of trees and stone towers that provide an interesting setting from which to view the great eastern scarp peaks. The summit is a class 2-3 boulder hop with 360 views of the central Owens Valley area, the White Mountains and a front row seat to the Piute Crags, Mt. Emerson, Mt. Humphreys, Basin Mountain and Mt. Tom.
Afternoon shadows fall on Buttermilk Country, north from Grouse Mtn..From Hwy. 395 in Bishop go west on Hwy. 168 (W. Line St.) 7.3 miles and turn right on Buttermilk Road. (unpaved, passable to all cars but be prepared for washboard). Go on Buttermilk Road as it gradually rises up though the hills. At 5 miles go left on an offshoot 2 track road (Grouse Mtn. is obvious to the south). Go .3 miles and park at the base of the peak (7,100'). It is necessary to drop down and back up 100 ft. to cross McGee Creek before the climb of the north slope. Choose this crossing carefully to avoid nasty bushwacking but crossing the creek should not be difficult. Climb the north slope to the saddle and go east with easy route finding to the scramble to the main peak.
Sierra crest between South Lake and Lake Sabrina from Grouse Mtn..This is National Forest with no significant restrictions.
White Mountains from Grouse Mtn. north slopeLocated in Inyo National Forest the Tungsten Hills have numerous criss-cross 2 track roads and pullouts for independent camping with no facilities. There are established campsites along Hwy. 168 as it gets deeper into the mountains on the way to Lake Sabrina and South Lake areas.