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Mount Whitney Trail, Lone Pine

4.8
#26 of 45 in Parks in California Desert
Hiking Trail Nature / Park
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 had an excellent dinner there. This restaurant offer different choice of burger and it is delicious! I had the buffalo one but you have also ostrich or elk. Service was really good and friendly too...  more »
  • I have recently become really addicted to peak bagging and extreme hikes... I came here over Memorial Day weekend and hiked to the switchbacks on a solo. This was my stopping point as conditions would...  more »
  • Oh so much to say!!!!! So far this is at the top of my list of lifetime experiences (other than marriage and my kiddos of coarse). If you can obtain an overnight do try! We won dates in Oct in the lot...  more »