Bridgeport offers something for every outdoor enthusiast and for those just looking for a place to unwind. It's location in the Eastern Sierras, between Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes, gives it a perch to sip in nature off the beaten path. From hiking the peaks of the Sawtooth Ridge or the Pacific Crest Trail, to relaxing lakeside with a cup of coffee, from soaking in natural hot springs with some of the most jaw-dropping mountain views to wetting a line for trout ... Bridgeport is a spot well worth its special, if quiet, reputation.
Bridgeport is 275 miles east of San Francisco. Take I-80 E toward Bay Bridge/Oakland and continue onto I-580 W/I-80 E for about 80 miles. Keep left at the fork to continue on I-80BL E/US-50 E/Capital City Fwy and follow signs for Interstate 80 Business/Sacramento/South Lake Tahoe. Five miles later continue on US-50 E/El Dorado Fwy. This part of the drive will take you through a gorgeous stretch of El Dorado National Forest.
Find a scenic overlook here if you need to stop and stretch your legs. Near the eastern edge of the forest, you’ll turn right onto CA-89 S and 11 miles later, left onto CA-88 E/CA-89 S. There are a few turns in quick succession coming up. You’ll enter Nevada and continue on NV-88 N for a few miles before making a right onto NV-756 E/Centerville Ln. Continue straight on Dresslerville Rd for just under 1.5 miles and then continue onto Riverview Dr before making a right onto US-395 S/US-395 N. That's your run all the way down past Topaz Lake and to Bridgeport.
The Virginia Creek Settlement is nestled in the natural beauty of the eastern slopes of the High Sierra within easy driving distance to Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake, Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes. Rustic rooms and onsite dining make this a convenient and cozy home away from home.
Ruby Inn in Bridgeport is a quaint motel with B&B-level charm. It's got your simple and expected pleasures covered -- in-room microwave, fridge and coffee maker -- and free Wi-Fi. And the location is only two miles from Bridgeport Reservoir, 20 miles from Bodie Historic State Park, and 38 miles from the Yosemite National Park East Entrance.
Walker River Lodge is basic comfort within reach of all things Easter Sierra. It also offers select suites with full kitchen and log cabin home-away-from home furnishings. There is a seasonal outdoor pool, a hot tub, and free Wi-Fi. Twin Lakes is 15 miles away and the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park is within 45 miles.
Rhino's Bar and Grill is a casual joint to carve up a steak, slather a baked potato with butter and cream and shoot a game or two of 8-ball with a beer in your hand. Of course, you can tackle their big salad or go for the huge burger and basket of fries, if you prefer. You get the point ... all-American fare with a low-key vibe.
High Sierra Bakery is the spot to get that sweet-tooth carb-rush before tackling the trails and lakes that surround Bridgeport. Stack up the donuts and get a sandwich or salad for lunch on the go. They have also can plug you into the joe and espresso that wakes you up before you go-go.
The Virginia Creek Settlement Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it's probably worth checking out all three, if you've got a few days in town. This is casual Italian and American fare with a laid-back atmosphere filled with Old West history. The staff is friendly and the vibe relaxed.
The ghost town once named Bodie was named Bodie State Historic Park more than 50 years ago. It's a town preserved in "arrested decay," a mind-blowing trip through town. Walk the streets and peek in the windows. Admission to the park is $8 for adults and $5 for children 17 years and younger. There are free walk-and-talk history tours, and a stamp mill tour ($6).
The Travertine Hot Springs in Bridgeport are an area favorite. If you love a hot soak, this is a must-do. The views can't be beat. You can drive to the first pools and, with a short hike, reach deeper into thermal bliss with the jagged Sawtooth Ridge stretched in front of you. Find the springs off Jack Sawyer Rd., east of town.
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve near Lee Vining lays out the outdoor life in spades. Rent kayaks or take canoe tours in summer. Join naturalist-led walk-and-talk sessions, like the one-hour walking tour of the world-famous South Tufa grove, in which you will learn about Mono Lake's million-year old ecosystem. Of course, you can venture on your own hike, too, or wet a line and breath easy while the sun sets in pink.
If a slow cruise is your style or you just want a break from the heat of summer, there are few drives that rival this one. Tioga Road cuts and curls through breath-taking Yosemite National Park. Get out and hike or rope up to climb some of the most storied rock walls in the sport. Or just capture photos from your window and as you pass through, jaw-dropped and in love. There is no wrong in a place that feels so right.
If riding trail on horseback is your thrill or just a first-time/one-time "let's do this!" Leavitt Meadows Pack Station will get you there. They offer one-hour ($35 per person), two-hour ($60) and half-day ($75) rides. Of course, if you want to go all-in for an overnight pack ride, they've got you covered for that, too. It's your adventure. Saddle up!