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Mount Whitney Trail, Lone Pine

Categories: Hiking Trails, Nature & Parks, Outdoor Activities
Inspirock Rating:
4.9/5 based on 55 reviews on the web
The Mount Whitney Trail is a trail that climbs Mount Whitney. It starts at Whitney Portal, 13mi west of the town of Lone Pine, California. The hike is about 22mi round trip, with an elevation gain of over 6100ft. It is an extremely popular trail, and its access is restricted by quotas from May to October.HistoryThe original pack trail from Lone Pine to the summit of Mount Whitney was designed by local engineer Gustave Marsh. This original trail, opened on July 22, 1904, was the basis for most of today's Mount Whitney Trail.RouteThe Mount Whitney Trail starts at Whitney Portal. Almost anyone in good physical shape with a desire to succeed has a good chance of hiking to the summit. The trail does not head up the direct route to the summit by the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, as this is a very steep route used by mountaineers. Instead, it follows the gentler main branch of Lone Pine Creek to its source, and then climbs by 97 switchbacks to the Sierra crest about 2.5mi south of the summit. The trail then travels very close to the crest of the range until reaching the summit plateau. This longer "dogleg" route makes possible a standard hiking trail. During peak season the trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. When the mountain clears of snow and ice, usually in early to mid summer, it requires no mountaineering or winter gear. Beyond Trail Crest pass the trail loses a small amount of elevation that is gained on the return. In this final stretch of the trail, on the west side of Whitney's needle-like south ridge, some sections of the trail must be rebuilt after each winter. The views here of the interior High Sierra can be extraordinary, due in part to the precipitous exposure. The crowning views are had on the summit of Whitney, where the trail ends at the Smithsonian Institution Shelter.
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  • We did the 22 miles and 6100' elevation gain in one day---I do not recommend doing this as it was very hard. You need to be in very good shape. We hike a lot and trained with some long hikes to prepar...  read more »
  • We came to this trail after visiting Alabama Hills. It was very busy on a Sunday afternoon and we saw quite a few people that looked like they had spent the previous night in the wilderness. We only h...  read more »
  • Arrived around 2pm on a Saturday - the parking lot was full, the smell of the pines seemed like heaven - but without a permit to hike we were very limited in what we could do here. We will need to pla...  read more »
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