Inyo National Forest

Hiking - Mt. Whitney

THE 11 MILE MT. WHITNEY TRAIL leads to the highest peak in the"lower 48". It is the most frequently climbed peak in the Sierra Nevada, if not in the U.S. Note: A portion of this trail has been designated as a National Recreation Trail. For a more detailed description of the Whitney Trail ascent, see "Whitney or Won't We?".

TRAILHEAD LOCATION: WHITNEY PORTAL can be reached by driving 13 miles west of Lone Pine on Whitney Portal Road. Whitney Portal Road intersects Highway 395 at the traffic signal in downtown Lone Pine. The road is usually open from May to early November. In winter the last 6 miles of the road are not plowed.


HIGHEST ELEVATION: 14,496 ft. (summit)

TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Strenuous, especially to those not acclimated to high altitude. Altitude sickness can be a problem.

SEASON: Normally, the trail is free of snow from mid July to early October. Ice patches frequently remain on the switchbacks above Trail Camp all summer long.

WEATHER: Summer days may be quite warm at lower elevations but temperatures at the summit are usually cool. Night temperatures often drop to freezing or below even in summer. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. Snowstorms can occur at anytime; weather is unpredictable.

EQUIPMENT: Raingear, good boots, and warm clothes are essential. Sunglasses, a sunscreen (factor 15 or more), a hat or visor and mosquito repellent are advisable. Ice axe and crampons are usually needed in spring and early summer.

WATER: Water is available near the trail as far as Trail Camp. Carry water to the summit as there is no dependable source of water after Trail Camp. Giardiasis is a serious problem so boll or filter all drinking water.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the Mt. Whitney Ranger District, P.O. Box 8, Lone Pine, CA 935451(619) 876-6200.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 4 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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