Explore Hiking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hiking Map
VIEW FULL MAP

A great hike, definitely on the challenging side. Great work out, lake is refreshing and High Camp is awesome

Beautiful hike, lots of wildlife along the way.

new county policy you must have a reservation to park booked in advance. also they charge for the reservations. they pay park rangers to stand out and collect the money.

My wife and I made the climb on July 16th. For most of the hike, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

We began our journey at 2:15am after eating a solid breakfast. It was warm at Portal, about 70 degrees so I ditched my top base layer quickly. We made it to the camp in about 4 hours.

The dreaded 99 switchbacks were tough, but taking frequent breaks and taking deep, slow breaths helped us acclimate. I feel taking our time here is what helped us avoid altitude sickness later on.

We felt amazing when we reached trail crest... That was until we began the last 2 miles until summit. It was brutal. But, at last, around 11:20am we made it to the summit! It was amazing up there, not a cloud in the sky.

We stayed about 15 minutes and then headed back down. This is one of the few hikes I have ever taken where going down is almost as hard as going up. We slowly made our way down. All was good until the last 4 miles... Lightning, thunder, rain, and hail all came out to wish us well at the end of our journey. We made it back at 7pm, wet, tired, and elated.

Remember to eat every hour or so, drink water frequently, and pace yourself. Also, we wore trail runners, which we wouldn't recommend... You feel every rock and pebble by the second half of the hike.

Good luck!

Beautiful hike. The first third of it feels deceivingly easy because of the waterfalls. The next third is a grueling dry climb - be sure to have plenty of water. You are rewarded with reaching Shirley lake - be ready to swim, you will be tempted. The last third is steady uphill with easier terrain - mostly dirt road. Great hike for strong dogs. (If your dog is an English Bulldog- this hike is not a good idea for your four-legged friend!).

Excellently maintained trail considering the traffic and geographic conditions. As long as you are reasonably fit, you should be able to make it to the summit that has very rewarding views of the vast Sierra landscape.

We completed the hike with an overnight stop at Trail Crest. We camped the night before at the Whitney Portal Campground, which is a very convenient spot as long as you make reservations well in advance ($24/night for our campsite). We started from Whitney Portal at 8 am, but would recommend starting earlier as the trail up to Outpost Camp can be pretty hot in the summer. The trail is a series of switchbacks even before you get to the infamous 97 switchbacks, but on the whole, the grade of the switchbacks is generally gentle. Outpost Camp is in a pretty meadow with easy access to water and a beautiful waterfall, but unfortunately, it is just 3 miles in. If you choose to overnight here, the tradeoff is a much longer hike (~19 miles) the next day and poorer acclimatization.

We hiked up to Trail Camp for our overnight stay, which is about 6-6.5 miles in, and at 12k ft elevation. There is easy access to water, but the pond is sort of scummy, so make sure you have good filtration plus iodine tablets. The benefits of sleeping at trail camp are obvious, but on the flip side, it is pretty crowded and a pretty boring spot.

We started hiking out to the summit at 4 am the next morning, but again, I would highly recommend leaving earlier (3 am?). It helps to get through the mind-numbing 97 switchbacks before sunrise, and an early start will help avoid a lot of traffic. Most of the trail is one person wide, so you will need to constantly stop to let others pass if you start late. Carry more water than you think you need because there is no water beyond Trail Camp. We carried 9 liters between two people and finished the entire supply on the 10 miles out and back from Trail Camp to the Summit. Also, make sure you have ibuprofen. I developed mild symptoms of AMS despite acclimatizing for 2 nights, and the ibuprofen helped immensely!

Amazing experience. Trail conditions were very good and the weather cooperated too.

Summited solo yesterday. Wanted to write this so that everyone can succeed in summiting this thing if they want to! Couple things I noticed. Nutrition is crucial to you having a good day. It doesn’t have to be extremely hard if you have a planned nutrition schedule. This is spoken from experience of doing Ultras and Ironman distances, you need to eat every 30 minutes and consistently sip on liquids, no matter what you feel like.

The majority of people I passed weren’t doing anything until they were tired, and then they’d stop and drink and eat. The rule is, if you’re hungry or thirsty, it’s already too late.

My schedule:
Banana before hitting the trail, and an entire bottle of water
-Every 30 minutes, two cliff shot blocks(the packs have a total of 6)
-Every 90 minutes, skip the shot blocks and have a GU w/caffeine.
-always having a water source available to sip consistently.
-some trail mix right before I hit the switchbacks, still maintaining the gu/blocks schedule.
-trail mix at the summit.
-trail mix after the switchbacks on return.
-on descent, maintain nutrition schedule.

Total for the day, I believe I had 6 packs of cliff shot blocks, and 6 GUs, and about a bag of trail mix, around 2k calories, and most importantly, all easily digestible. A pb&j or turkey sandwich is not! I might have missed a cliff or gu, counted the wrappers when I finished.

WATER
I took 2L up with me, and an empty bottle to hold another L because I didn’t want to carry the unnecessary weight. There are MANY places to fill up, so you will not run out of water with this method. That being said, I would make sure to fill up all 3L before you start the switchbacks because there will be no water after that point, and it’s 8 difficult miles from that point up and back. I chose iodine tablets which made the water process easy and the bag lighter; just remember to plop in two tablets into your L of water and put it back in your bag. It needs about 35 minutes to work. I believe I drank 7 liters on the day, but I should have probably had another.

TRAINING
I’m training for tri’s at the moment, but I believe HIIT cardio workouts(spinning, plyo, etc) will get you a long way. Also, doing some distance running/walking, but I hadn’t done over 16 miles with 3k elevation gain before Whitney, and I felt fine.

ALTITUDE
I think it’s important to get up in the area two nights early. I chose to camp at Horseshoe Meadow(highly recommend!!) the first night because it’s over 10k elevation and I live in Santa Monica, which is at 1:) It’s a great and quiet area with some great hikes to get warmed up like Cottonwood Pass which gets you up over 11k. The second night I camped at Whitney Portal which allowed me to roll out of my tent, pack it up, and get started on the hike. NOTE: bears are very real in his campground. They are not the people eating bears, but they are the bag stealing bears, which almost happened to me right before my hike. Be careful where you leave your food at ALL times. But I felt no AMS symptoms ascending, and had a minimal headache on the descent, but I think it was slight dehydration.

THE HIKE:
I started at 2:45am, and did the trail alone. Others are on the trail too, so you might go for periods of time by yourself, but for the most part you’ll see lights ahead or behind you. I wanted to get to the switchbacks by sunrise. I didn’t really stop much, other than to replace a GU/Block supply for a convenient pocket on the pack. I stopped at the stream just down from the second campsite just before the switchbacks to fill up the water. The switchbacks at dawn were amazing; I think it’s risky to do them in total darkness. I went at a pretty good clip and summited around 8:20 or so and took a 40 minute nap on the summit. Unless you’re trail running, the descent will take longer than 4 hours, and 4 hours is VERY fast. I wasn’t trying to break any speed records and wanted to enjoy the day, but I was also using this as a training workout for other events I’m doing, meaning I kept my HR at a firm 130-140 all of the way up. I think I got down around 1:15pm, so I had about 10 hours of moving time with the nap at the top. I also had plenty in the tank because I followed my nutrition plan very carefully, so if a situation had arrived on the mountain, I would have had the energy to handle It. I recommend getting an early start so you can knock off the 7 miles before the switchbacks in the dark; you’ll see them during the descent anyway!

POST HIKE:
Treat yourself to a Whitney Portal Store burger and a beer. You’ve definitely earned it after 22 miles hiked and over a mile of elevation gain. It’s definitely a bucket list hike, and a 14k peak that is accessible to almost anyone with the right plan. Good luck, and remember, drink your water!!

Awesome bucket list hike with my friends Ben and Zach. Our hike was July 22/23rd 2018. We had done a lot of research and wanted a high chance of success so we slept at the Whitney Portal to acclimate then backpacked up to trail camp and spent an exciting afternoon with heavy hail, lightning, freezing rain, etc. It was definitely extreme weather and we were well prepared so we were able to wait it out and enjoy a gorgeous evening. The views were amazing and the trail is in great shape (better than the local 6 pack of trails in Southern California!). The weather pattern on the mountain had been lightning and hail starting around 1pm each day so we left trail camp around 3am and hit the 99 switchbacks. As many folks have noted, they actually were not that difficult. The sunrise was spectacular as we approached trail crest. The last lag on the backside of the mountain was the most treacherous as it was very icy and made for a slow trek to the summit. We enjoyed the view, had a snack, hydrated and after signing the log we were on trail back down. Our goal was to break camp and get down to the tree line before the lightning and hail started. We were partially successful as we made it about a mile down from trail camp before the lightning and hail started. It was a pretty miserable hiking in the hail, rain, sleet, lightning, with heavy packs on (yes we carried way too much!). Overall a huge success- no one got sick or injured and we all made the summit. It was a bucket list hike that we have wanted to do for a few years so we were all very pleased with the accomplishment!

Great walking and climbing combo at the end you can get back to the city in a Tram where they have a pool and restaurant.

Great trail! Beautiful creeks and a lake to cool off in, and if you make it to the top of squaw you can use the pool and have lunch! Hike back down or take the gondola for free!

11 days ago

Well maintained trail. Continual uphill but manageable. Use restroom at trailhead and carry water. Hundreds of thousands butterflies, awesome Visited early on a Monday and crowds were thin. I’d have to recommend Trekking poles. Even under smoky conditions views were good.

hiking
12 days ago

I stay at Squaw Valley a lot and this is one of my favorite hikes. it’s definitely tricky to follow in the beginning I’ve done this so many times, as well as going off on all the alternate trails, that I have a good sense of it now but it took a while. Key is to always veer to the right when you get to the first sign that says granite chief trail keep following to the right there’s several other trails that intersect that are not real trails just stick to the right and you’ll find it. all trails map helps a lot. once you get in a little over a mile some people have put yellowish orange paint in certain places to mark where the trail goes over the rocks as well as some cains. but again when in doubt follow towards the right and you’ll pick up the trail.
I encourage you to go beyond Granite chief onto the PCT it’s just incredibly beautiful with amazing views. I always take this left over to High camp so I can take the tram down. note if you do this it can be very tricky/scary to get to high camp there’s two options you can climb up the hill straight after you pass tervis cup trail then take the road down to high camp, adds some extra time. or you can veer to the left to take the very very small not well traveled trail but it will require a little bit of rock climbing and scrambling down. not for the faint of heart and actually potential for injury. but I’ve made it OK each time I’ve done it.
once you are at High camp there is a pool there’s also a restaurant there’s lots of outdoor seating and the tram runs down every 15 minutes it’s free if you hike up and tram down.

13 days ago

Perfect for the hot summer months.

TLDR: Incredible hike. Train hard. Pay attention to the weather!

Summited Whitney as a day hike on my first attempt. I had been following the weather very closely and chose to hit the trail at 3:30am in order to summit before the thunderstorms began firing off. The climb up took about 6:15 moving time. I got to spend about 30 minutes at the summit and standing on top that mountain it was an incredible feeling. The storms started building and I ended up making back to Trail Crest before the first crack of thunder. It poured (and hailed) all the way back to Lone Pine Lake. I mention all this because I watched ALOT of Whitney attempts get ruined due to the weather. TRAIN HARD so you can summit quickly and watch the weather closely...

Some things to consider. Water is very plentiful all the way to Trail Crest. It is unlikely you will need to carry a ton of water so long as you have your filter. This will allow you to drop several pounds from your pack.

Though the trail looks technical in pictures and video, its actually pretty tame all the way to the ridgeline. There is a tiny bit of scrambling here and there past Trail Crest.

When the trail narrows, its still plenty wide. Don't let those Go Pro lenses on YouTube fool you.

If you are a SoCal hiker, then I highly recommend a few local hikes to use for training. San Gorgonio via Momyer or Vivian Creek, San Jacinto via Deer Creek or Skyline Trail and Baldy via Bear Canyon combine with Three T's Trail. These trails will help build your legs and bolster your cardiovascular endurance. When these trails become somewhat easy, you're ready for a Whitney attempt. Why would I recommend a few trails more difficult in terms of gain and why wait until they're easy? It just goes back to training hard so can have a successful summit. Why waste the time, effort and money for the permit, plus the money to get there and spend the night only to neglect the body that's going to get you there? Safe travels!

Good tuff hike. Mix of single track , bouldering and scrambling. Then you wand up at High Camp for a dip in the pool, and tram ride back down. Better bring it.

HARD! steep and a lot of just sheer buldering. But it isawesome to work your way up the forest line.
Saw a lot of people not prepared for the length and the incline: bring water and electrolights because you will need them!

Loved every minute of this hike. Nice variety of scenery... Well marked rocks help guide your way up!!! Perfect weather for a little plunge in Shirley Lake and a free tram ride down from high camp.

Myself and 2 buddies did this hike all for the first time. We left the trailhead at 3:45am. Each of us carried two liters of water to Trail Camp, where we filtered water and carried 3 liters up to the summit as this is the final place for reliable water. We made the summit at 11am with beautiful blue skies and a few big, white puffy clouds. After 45 minutes at the summit for lunch and pics, we headed down with overcast skies and drizzles. Afternoon thunderstorms are no joke up there - moved in way fast. We took our sweet time coming down and made it down in just under 6 hours. Absolutely epic hike! Highly recommend layering up, carrying trekking poles, and wearing lots of sunscreen.

Trip Report 7/28- 1st timer
Such an epic hike. Slept in the car the night before. (6pm -12:15am) Started at 12:45am - hiked up to Trail Camp in the dark and watched the sunrise as we were filtering our water. The hardest part for me was Trail Crest both up and down, each step on rocks is brutal. We reached the summit at 10:45am. I experienced minimal altitude sickness thank goodness! I started taking chlorophyll pills 2 days before and took chlorophyll and ibuprofen during the hike. I had a very very minor headache but I also related that to the heat.

Pack for a long day. Carry your 10 essential. Drink water often even if it’s just a sip every 15 mins. Nibble on food throughout the hike. Pack out your poop. Check the weather, as the weeks and day before we hiked there was thunderstorms and hail. The day before thunderstorms began at 4pm. 7/28 was the perfect day, clear all day. Only downside was very hazy I heard it was due to the fires nearby. The way down is brutal, it seemed never ending but I just pushed through the foot pain to get back to the trailhead. We finished at 6:30pm.

I did it!!! Much respect to everyone completing this hike.

hiking
19 days ago

Another perfect hike, this 5 mile stair climber goes up about 2000 feet via a well-maintained trail of switchbacks and through snow and glacier fields. The top is at the weather station and solar panels and is a fairly easy climb if you are careful about where you step. The crushed rock and sand can be slick on smooth rocks. We had a perfect day and were surrounded with thousands of migrating tortoiseshell butterflies. Trail was very busy the week of July 4th, with some folks skiing on the snow fields. If you visit Lassen, don't miss this hike! And take your shoes off in Lake Helen afterwards.

An amazing but grueling hike! Completed 7.28. Started at about 1 am, lucked out with a full moon, and was able to hike in the moonlight for part of the night. Reached trail camp just in time to enjoy watching the sunrise. Then onward to summit. Parts of the trail were wet so had to watch your footing. No ice or snow on the trail but could see large patches off to the sides. Had amazing views at the peak, though could see some of the haze presumably from the Yosemite fires. Plenty of places to fill up on water, making me wish I hadn’t brought quite so much to weigh down my pack. Saw several Marmots, a deer, and a pika during the hike. Total time was about 18.5 hrs. This was a great experience!

Came in late July 2018. I should have checked the Lassen NPS webcams for air quality/visibility because it was very smokey from the Carr fire and the views were non existent. The air quality site showed "good" conditions.

The road in was bumpy in the middle portion, but nothing my 2WD crossover couldn't handle. My fellow hikers had a Nissan Altima and they did fine. My GPS tried to make me take some sketchy forest roads. I just stayed on the paved road until it ended and veered right.

We paid our $25 fee at the iron Ranger across the road from the ranger station. There's a pit toilet behind he ranger station.

The trail itself was nice. I think its a 1300 foot climb up to the fire look out. I should have brought my hiking poles. Totally spaced on that item. Bring plenty of water and head protection. We visited Dave at the fire look out and he was very nice. He explained how he spots fires. Shortly after we arrived, more guests arrived, making the lookout very crowded.

We did the loop which was about 6 miles for us. The trail down the west side is pretty rocky. Those poles would have been handy and saved my legs. We stopped by the lake and cooled off our feet. Other than the crowded look out, we didn't encounter many hikers.

We'll have to come back when the views are better.

this trail was incredible! we were astonished at how many different terrains and environments we encountered on our hike. if you want to walk through meadows, alpine forests, rainforests, deserts, boulder fields, and mountain ridges all in the span of 4 hours, then this is the trail for you.

we hiked up granite chief trail, then hooked up with the pacific crest and walked down to high camp to take the tram down. it was definitely a long hike, especially with the elevation gain, but not overly technical or difficult. if you're okay with a steady uphill and you've got sturdy shoes, it's a really satisfying hike. i would recommend starting out early--we started around 10 and it was already pretty hot (until we got up to the PCT).

a lot of other reviewers mention that the trail is difficult to follow, and in some places i agree--there are a few stretches of boulders where the trail mostly disappears. when in doubt, keep going up the mountain (you'll find the trail again before you get lost) or check the alltrails map. there's great service all the way up and the app's trail is accurate. i would argue that the easiest place to get lost is at the very beginning--if you don't know what to look for, it's very easy to end up on the shirley canyon trail.

overall, this hike was amazing. it had great views and scenery all the way up. if you have enough food and water, you can hike the ridge all the way around the ski basin--the PCT links to a trail that will take you farther up. it's also nice having high camp there to refill water/get food/take the tram (for free!). if i were to recommend one tahoe hike to a visitor, this would be it!

Hiked 7/25. Party of 3 all who live at sea level. Left at 0300. Reached summit at 1130 with a couple of folks having nausea. Lots of water on the trail. Bring a filtration system. Poles are a must have for trip up and down. Do not even attempt this if you aren’t prepared for a very long day (14+ hours).

Left at 2:30 AM. Didn’t feel very good when I left. Got to trail crest at 11:30. My water filter plugged and had only consumed 1/2 liter of water. Wasn’t feeling good at all and decided the best thing was to turn back. I felt that I had failed. I talked to hikers that were going up for a second or third time. I asked why would anyone want to tackle this monster more than once, they answered “just wait”. I’m 77 years old and am probably going to find the climb more difficult as time passes, I want to finish the last 2 miles the next time!

1 day Summit on 7/24/18. 1st time in mountain. Party of 3 . Left trail head at 2:30 am after sleeping at best western lone pine. Trail camp in 3 hrs after many water crossings. Feet stayed dry with waterproof hiking shoes and trekking poles. Ice and snow above trail crest made trail slippery. Reached summit at 8:45 am and spent 45 minutes enjoying awesome views. Started back down at 9:30am and reached portal at 2:30 pm for 12 hour round trip. Trekking poles and waterproof shoes are a must. Water sources plentiful even up to trail crest so no need to carry extra water. Views rivaled those on the high Teton peaks.

Great hike! Up up and up! Perfect blue skies and tons of butterflies. Then took a refreshing dip in Lake Helen after to sooth the muscles. If you’re in a Lassen, it’s a must-do!

Amazing adventure ! Spectacular views ! We hiked on the 24th very icy after Trail Crest and there was enough running water on the trail and in crossing high streams that it rivaled any water park ! Dry feet were not an option !

Was an epic experience. Thunder and lightning storms gather around the summit usually at noon in the summer time. Started the trail at around 2:30am and reached the summit at about 12:40pm. Got caught in a hail storm, but made it safely down. Total time 18.5 hrs. Would definitely do it again.

Load More