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Benton, California

Benton is a small town near the Nevada border, about 50 miles east of Mammoth, 32 miles north of Bishop and 200 miles south of Reno on the east side of the Sierra. (see link to map at bottom of this page.) It is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, with Boundary Peak and Montgomery peak at the north end of the White Mountains directly to the east shown in the picture. Skiing at Mammoth is one hour away to the west; fishing in the Owens River is only 3/4 hours away. 4wdriving, hiking and geologizing in the White Mountains is at my doorstep. Saline Valley is a 4-hour drive. This is an ideal location.

porch group I love this land and had my eye out for some property there. Finally, in June, 2002, I purchased a 10 acre piece of property. Benton Corners, at the intersection of route 6 and 120 (Yosemite Highway)y is a mile away, with café, store and post office.  This is the gathering and gossip place.  Benton Hot Springs is 6 miles down Route 120, with a b and b, hot springs and campground. 

In 2003-04, I contracted a septic system and a well, and worked with local friends to dig trenches, undergrounding all utilities 400 feet to the house. The house was delivered March 28, 2004 and was livable within a month.

I have been spending extended periods of time out here, and have seen many seasonal changes.  In the summer it is hot during the day,  it is a short drive to 7000 feet where it is always cool.  Forest service and BLM have maps of roads, and  the Benton Range USGS map is a good topo.

house & snow

General driving directions:  the scenic route(s) include any pass open leading to 395 on the east side of the sierra.  Tioga pass is the most direct route in summer through Yosemite. prefer 88 through Carson pass, then through Gardnerville, Nevada to 395.  This has several high passes and is a nice route if you have the time. South of Lee vining, turn left on 120 to Benton.  If that is closed (nov-april)  go south of Mammoth to left on Benton crossing road, just south of the airport. 

The low-stress route is on 80 over Donner summit, then to Fernley and Fallon Nevada, and down 95 through Hawthorn to Mina, then cut west to Highway 6 and south to Benton.  This is an easier drive.  And there are supermarkets in Fernley and Fallon and Hawthorn.  Watch speed in small towns, especially Schurz.

Either way is an 8-9 hour drive, but totally worth the experience.  Cheep hotels in Reno: the Golden Phoenix; on 395  Topaz Lake Lodge.