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Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail

Difficult
 4.9 (53) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A popular, strenuous journey to the highest peak in the contiguous United States. A must-do.


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Map Key

20.5

Miles

33.0

KM

Out and Back

14,433' 4,399 m

High

8,367' 2,550 m

Low

6,404' 1,952 m

Up

6,405' 1,952 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers

Wilderness permits are always required for this trail, and between May 1 and November 1, a quota permits only 60 overnight users and 100 day users per day: fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/pas…

Overview

This well-maintained route that leads to a rewarding summit with incredible scenery is well worth the effort of acquiring a permit.

Need to Know

The Whitney Portal Store at the trailhead serves good pancakes and burgers.

Description

At Whitney Portal, find the trailhead for the Mount Whitney Trail located below the Whitney Portal Store. Climb along the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek along several long switchbacks. Pass Lone Pine Lake at 2.8 miles.

At 3.5 miles you'll reach Bighorn Park, a scenic meadow with granite cliffs on both sides. A short while later is Outpost Camp at 3.8 miles.

Continue climbing through the increasingly rocky landscape to Trail Camp at 6.3 miles. Trail Camp is popular with Whitney climbers doing overnight trips.

Past Trail Camp are the infamous 99 switchbacks that climb the granite slope to Trail Crest, at 8.5 miles and 13,645 feet - the highest trail pass in the United States. You'll get your first views west of the mountains, and they are spectacular.

Make the short jaunt to the junction with the John Muir Trail. From there it's a relatively level - but high-elevation - 2 mile hike to the summit along granite slabs. "Windows" through the granite spires on your right provide dramatic views toward Owens Valley.

Expect a round-trip day on the trail to take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours.

During peak season the trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. From early summer on, the mountain clears of snow and ice and reaching the summit via the trail requires no mountaineering or winter gear.

Contacts

Shared By:

Miguel Vieira

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 53 votes

#141

Overall
  4.9 from 53 votes
5 Star
91%
4 Star
9%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#16

in California

#141

Overall
110 Views Last Month
14,253 Since Dec 31, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
9%
4%
74%
13%

Photos

View west from Mount Whitney Trail
Sep 14, 2015 near Lone Pine, CA
It's a long, rough trail to the summit of Mount Whitney.
Jun 27, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA
Suns coming up!  Whitney Trail 6:30am
Sep 28, 2018 near Lone Pine, CA
Enjoying the Moment: Hikers at Mt Whitney Trail, Highest Peak in Continental USA with permission from Elena Omelchenko
Apr 19, 2016 near Lone Pine, CA
Daybreak looking down on Trail Camp from the middle of the 99 switchbacks. Can you find the tents?
May 2, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA
09/11/2018 Trail Crest looking west towards Hitchcock Lakes and Sequoia.  Cloudless day and only a breeze.
Sep 28, 2018 near Lone Pine, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 29 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 29, 2022
Linda Reeves
Jul 5, 2022
Tiequn Qiu
Jun 30, 2022
Richard Acs
Failed at high trail camp: will be back — 10h 00m
May 30, 2022
Brian Baker
Just a couple spots of snow on the switchbacks. Otherwise, all clear.
Aug 30, 2021
Carl Hartenstein
What an epic day on so many levels. It took way longer than anticipated, but I made it. 22.2mi — 19h 14m
Aug 26, 2021
Chris Torres
Wow. That was a beast! Glad I wasn't alone.
Jul 4, 2021
venkatasaiteja manam
Jul 1, 2021
Don Sherman