The Owens Valley is a seventy–file mile long valley in eastern California. The valley formed by the Owens River starts just north of the city of Bishop and extends in a largely south to southeast diretion through the cities of Big Pine, Independence, and Lone Pine before ending at Owens Lake, which is now dry.
The valley has tremendous significance for southern California residents. About ten miles of Big Pine, most of the remaining water from the Owens River is diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which is a source for one–third of the city of Los Angeles' drinking water. The dispute over water rights, which is known as the California Water Wars, continues to be an area of contention. Historical events in Owens Valley inspired aspects of the movie Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson. During the early 1940s, Japanese Americans were imprisoned in the interment camp Manzanar, near Independence. The camp is the best preserved of the internment camp sites and has been designated a national historic site.
Due to its relative proximity to movie studios in southern California and its beautiful terrain, the valley has been the setting for hundreds of movies and television shows, including several recent hit movies. In Disturbia, starring Shia LaBeouf, there is a scene with Shia LaBeouf's character and his father fly fishing in what is actually just outside of Bishop on the Owens River. In the movie Iron Man, a location near Lone Pine, with its dry rugged terrain and towering mountains, substitutes for Afghanistan.
Bishop is located within two hours of some of America's finest National Parks including Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Death Valley. The area has much to explore and is perfect for the outdoor adventurist or for someone looking for a slower paced lifestyle. In fact, it was named to National Geographic Adventurer's magazine in 2007, as one of the United States' "Top 50 Adventure Towns".
Below is an image of Owens Lake and the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, courtesy of NASA: