The Owens Valley and Inyo and Mono Counties
The Owens Valley
The Owens Valley is the arid valley of the Owens River in southeastern California in the United States. The valley is approximately 75 miles (120.7 km) long, trending north-south, and is bounded by the Inyo Mountain Range on the east, on the southeast by the Coso Range, on the south by Rose Valley, on the west by the Sierra Nevada, and on the north by Chalfant Valley. The mountains on either side (including Mount Whitney in the Sierra Range) reach above 14,000 feet (4,267.2 m) in elevation, while the floor of the Owens Valley is at 4,000 feet (1,219.2 m), making the valley one of the deepest in the United States. The bed of Owens Lake, now a dry alkali flat, sits on the southern end of the valley. The valley provides water to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the source of one-third of the water for Los Angeles, and is infamous as the scene of one of the fiercest and longest running episodes of the California Water Wars.
The Owens Valley stretches from Haiwee Reservoir in the south to the Sherwin Summit in the north (just north of the town of Bishop). Other towns in the Owens Valley include Big Pine, Independence and Lone Pine. The major road in the valley is U.S. Route 395.
Inyo County is a county on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in the eastern-central part of California. Inyo County includes the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Mountains, and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States, is on Inyo County's western border (with Tulare County). The Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest place in North America, is in eastern Inyo County. The two points are not visible from each other, but both can be observed from the Panamint Range on the west side of Death Valley, above the Panamint Valley. The county seat is located in the town of Independence.
Mono County is a county located in the east-central portion of the California as well. It is located to the east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. The only incorporated town in the county is Mammoth Lakes, which is located at the foot of Mammoth Mountain. Other locations, such as June Lake and Bridgeport, are also famous as skiing and fishing resorts. Located in the middle of the county is Mono Lake a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. The lake is located in a wild natural setting, with pinnacles of tufa arising out of the salty and alkaline lake. Also located in Mono County is the historic mining camp of Bodie the official state gold rush ghost town, which is now a California State Historic Park. The county seat is located in the town of Bridgeport.