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Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail

Difficult
 4.9 (48) 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 48 votes

#139

Overall
  4.9 from 48 votes
5 Star
90%
4 Star
10%
3 Star
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2 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#17

in California

#139

Overall
162 Views Last Month
12,661 Since Dec 31, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
9%
0%
77%
14%

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
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
Suns coming up!  Whitney Trail 6:30am
Sep 28, 2018 near Lone Pine, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 3 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jul 1, 2021
Don Sherman
May 20, 2021
Yuchen Jia
May 2, 2021
Sag Sub
Beautiful trail with beautiful views. started at 1 am and reached the submit at around 2:30 pm. snow covered in some portion of trail. Switch backs… 22mi
Aug 26, 2020
Jacob Winey
Jul 21, 2020
Kyle McMahon
22.7mi — 13h 14m
Jul 19, 2020
C.c. Lee
Jul 9, 2020
Riley Denis
great hike with amazing views started at 4:30am and got back to the cars at 6pm hike isn't overly difficult but lack of O2 at 14,000' takes its toll 21.2mi — 13h 30m
Nov 30, 2019
Rana Thummeti
22.5mi