Mount Whitney Trail, Lone Pine

4.9
#23 of 45 in Parks in California Desert
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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72 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 6, 2017
    Perfect place with preserved nature, clean water rivers to drink and refresh, wild animals as bears, marmotes and chipmunks, dears and mosquitoes at night. Perfect for camping (authorization required ...  more »
  • July 31, 2017
    Hiking Mt. Whitney is an awesome experience. The summit is at 14,505 feet - the highest point in the continental U.S. This is a great achievement with the proper prior planning. To go to the summit, a...  more »
  • July 31, 2017
    The Mt. Whitney Trail is definitely an all day (or all night/day) endeavor if you want to make it to the summit. Do some training beforehand and get your permits well in advance. The rangers will chec...  more »

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