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black Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail

  4.9 ( 36 )

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20.5 mile 33.0 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 6,404' 1,952 m
Descent: -6,405' -1,952 m
High: 14,433' 4,399 m
Low: 8,367' 2,550 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)


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Trail shared by Miguel Vieira

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

Miguel Vieira

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…


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.


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.


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Mar 3, 2019
Jeremiah K
Nov 16, 2018
Kotey Kotei
needed micro spikes on switches backs. some snow and ice. 20.5mi
Oct 27, 2018
Jon Wade
Day 2 of 2 Outpost Camp mile 3.7, To Summit=6.7 miles up 11.4 miles down to Portal, arrived around 8:30 PM 18.1 miles total for the day 18.1mi
Oct 26, 2018
Jon Wade
Day 1 of 2 3.7 miles from Portal (Car) To Outpost Camp, overnight Arrive 6:30 to 7:00 PM, sun just setting Was dark by the time Setup was done. 3.7mi
Oct 18, 2018
Mandy Johnson
22mi — 13h 00m
Sep 26, 2018
Marc Daniel
Hiking alone on Thursday after drive from work last night.
Sep 25, 2018
Aaron Gustafson
Sep 22, 2018
Shin Cho
22mi — 19h 00m

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 36 votes


  4.9 from 36 votes
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Wag bags everywhere! Trail Camp until Summit is cluttered with bags of people's poo? I'll pick up an empty water bottle, but who tf is picking up your Sh!*?? Come on people. Park Rangers should put a barcode on the bags and start fining people. Somehow this problem must be addressed. Jun 16, 2018

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