Explore Nor Cal - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Incredible hike. DO NOT TAKE OLD ARMY PASS! It is not mainted at all. Take new army pass and then follow the cairns to the summit

hiking
3 days ago

Very hard. My first high summit. I found it very steep and hard to breathe at the top and I am in good shape. The views are not great but worth doing. I liked the views about halfway up the hike better. Overall it took us about 12 hours and 22 miles. Worth doing for sure.

Side note:

Old army pass is safe. Our group mistaked old army pass for the break between the two mountains by the last lake when you reach 3 or 4 lakes in a few minutes. I absolutely do not recommend going up this. Take the real trail on old army pass and you will be safe. I was absolutely terrified. Rocks came sliding down and the sand was unstable on what may seem like a very steep trail but it is not a trail.

Well worth stopping! Very enjoyable and different than the big peaks everyone comes for.

enjoyed this climb a lot! An plan on doing it again soon for better time now that I know the trail. pretty well beaten path, and when I went there was a good bit of water on the trail, early August, but totally with it 12hr up an down ... I can get that into the single digits though ;)

a cool little hike to a pretty removed little lake. no one is ever there! which makes it all the more peaceful

This hike is amazing. Completed back in August, make sure to leave early, because thunderstorms, snow, etc are big issues. Hiked in a group of 6, and we had such a blast. 7.5 hours up, 5.5 hours down. Beautiful trail, and so many good photo moments. Sunrise, etc.

hiking
5 days ago

Completed as a day hike 10/31/2018. Took about 6 hours up and 4.5 hours down. (avid and fit hiker, filtering breaks only) As the previous review stated, there was no snow on NAP. There was patchy snow on OAP between the last lake and the top of the pass. I had spikes ready to go but didn't use them. While an easier hike overall, the last mile of this trail before the summit is harder than any one single mile of the Mount Whitney Trail. I'll type up a proper review soon.

Amazing... Simply AMAZING

Easy and beautiful

Beautiful hike to one of the most peaceful little lakes in the Sierras. Great view and definitely worth the climb. Plenty of water along the way, great day hike.

Started at 8am on a misty and dense Saturday. We found parking in the lot - keep in mind you have to pay $7-$10 for your permit. The trail started leveled ground, then midway it was incline and after it was steep. We ended at the exit, which led to a street and cars parked alongside. Decided to hangout at Stinson Beach for a while before hiking back.

Overall, this trail requires you to have stamina and endurance to keep going forward. Other than that, it was very scenic and I would do it again.

hiking
16 days ago

Short hike, but the elevation will definitely catch up to you on your way back to the railhead. Great for a quick stop and photo-op.

Dayhike: 10/27/2018

This was such a huge accomplishment. We had beautiful weather and I was able to hike in a long sleeve and long pants the entire time. I would recommend a brimmed hat and something to cover your mouth and nose for the occasional winds. Once we got to the summit, I put on my down jacket. Going down I was really glad I packed microspikes. It gave me piece of mind sailing down the icy patches, otherwise, it would have been slow moving on those parts due to safety concerns.

We started at 4:30am and summited at 2pm. Made it back to the car by 7pm. The last 1.9 miles to the summit was torturous with many thoughts on what I’m doing with my life, why am I doing this to myself and just turning back around. But once you get closer to the skyline and you see the top of the shelter/building, it’s all worth it! You made it to the top!

Final notes:
- I only drank 1.5 liters of the 3 liters packed.
- Walking poles really helped my knees and I’m not as sore as I was expecting after 2 days.
- Trail is very well defined and maintained.
- Better to have an early start so you’re not rushed on time. We had a few people not able to summit due to the late start time and it would have been dangerous for them to go down the icy areas without microspikes in the dark.
- Lastly have fun and be safe! It’s such an great experience!

hiking
16 days ago

I hiked it in a day on 10/27/2018, taking about 13 hours car to car - I hiked via New Army Pass and saw no snow on the trail - there did not appear to be snow on Old Army Pass either. The hike was long and difficult but the views were beautiful. Make sure to bring plenty of food, water, layers, and willpower.

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful nature scenes and some animals to be seen as well! Great to do with kids.

10/24/2018 -- Day Hike Summited 9:15 , departed 3am from Whitney Portal, Summit 9:15am, returned to portal 3:45pm.

WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
Base weather low 40s, no wind, bright full moon; Summit weather low 40s, sunny, no wind. Trail camp was coldest at dawn in low 30s, slight wind. Packed snow on the 97 switchbacks. A few patches of ice around trail crest. Yaktrax were used only on the descent starting at the snowy section of the 97 switchbacks.

GEAR
Pack was about 12lbs with 48 oz of water, about 2.5 lbs of food. Hiking poles & boots were used. I wore pants, long sleeve, base layer, wind breaker plus a buff and a sun hat. I brought a down jacket and full gloves for emergency--neither were used. Navigation was mostly using BackCountry Navigator app, also had paper map and compass (which helped when I missed a turn on the ascent)

WATER
Started with 48oz in 2 bike bottles. Refilled water upon descent at Trail Pond using a squeeze filter. In hindsight I should have also refilled during the ascent.

HIGHLIGHTS
The full moon made the hike up clear and majestic. Sunrise at Trail Camp was breathtaking. The ascent of the 97 switchbacks was pleasant due to the snow leveling the grade--it felt like walking up a treadmill. The ascent felt quick and painless, but the descent mentally dragged on -- mostly due to foot pain and sun exposure. Nothing unbearable, just less pleasant than the ascent. The sign at the bottom warning that "the summit is only half way" is right on.

OTHER TIPS
* Bring spare socks and rotate every 3 hours. Hang the sweaty ones on your pack to dry and disinfect while hiking. No blisters! Dry socks also improve morale.
* 3/4 of this hike is exposed. Sun protection is a must -- wide-brimmed or desert hat will help both with sunburn and improve morale.
* Buff helps you manage quick temp fluctuations -- cold ears, lips, nose etc
* Hiking with a red lamp will preserve your night vision and let you see farther at night
* 80g / hr is a good rough estimate for food quantity.

Also want to give a shout out to hikingguy.com -- his guide made the trek up really predictable -- every thing you need including trail features and turns are there.

https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/best-la-hikes/mt-whitney-hike/

Summited 10/22/2018
Most difficult and rewarding hike I’ve ever done! This was my 2nd try. Trail camp was very cold the first night and there was snow up half the 99 switchbacks. Camelback valves froze in the morning. Still not bad for late October. Altitude and grade are the hardest parts of this hike. Best to acclimate yourself as much as you can before hand and try it in 2 or 3 days like I did. Go slow and breath.

amazing to see the biggest tree in the world, super easy hike, can even take shuttle back to trailhead if you don't want to hike back, but very very crowded

Awesome little hike! First mile gets you broke in pretty well, after crossing the creek and getting into the wooded area, it’s fairly easy going. Take your time, remember your up over 9k ft elevation and still climbing! Did not make it up to Upper Monarch as I got a late start and I was running out of daylight. Logged just over 10 miles and the entire hike took me about 4.5 hours. Awesome views of the Mineral King Valley.

I have holes this 1.5 times and loved it. It is a little steep and there is some elevation gain but it's worth it. My first attempt wasn't successful because a thunderstorm rolled in just after sunrise coming from the East. We were just about to trail crest when it hit. The thunder and lighting were almost instantaneous and then it started to hail. It was scary and a great reminder of the power of nature.

Hiked: 10/20/18

It was great, at the top of the switch backs is when the altitude starts to set in. Just take it easy, it was freezing the majority of the trail, we started at 2:30 and I summited at 2.

It is a very enjoyable hike up, take your time! I descended in only 5 hours so it came out to about a 16 hour trip. My camel back valve froze so bring some warm water and thermals.

It was really icy, if you do not have micro-spikes then take the infamous switchbacks slow!! Have fun and goodluck!

The hike itself isn’t too crazy it’s the elevation gain. I did a day hike in 16 hours but I would suggest acclimation to make it more enjoyable

Easy walk down to “General Sherman”, but the climb back will tax the heart. High elevation, remember to breathe

We are visiting CA from CO and we landed on this trail. It was an easy trot and worth the views. There were about 20 others on the trail to go along with 3-4 black bears. DO NOT use the directions link for this trail. We spent about an hour on the wrong trail haha. Follow the directions from some of the previous comments. Enjoy!!

Complete 10-19-18. Most challenging and rewarding hike I’ve ever done.

We started at 430am, summited 11 hours later at 330pm, sat up there for 30 min, headed back down at 4pm & got back to the car at 1030pm so it was an awesome 18 hour day on trail.

It was definitely hard to breath once we got to about 10k ft. Luckily neither of us got altitude sickness or vertigo. We were glad we had micro spikes for the descent. Wear as many pairs of gloves you can fit and the warmest ones you can find. Only thing I wish I’d brought was a buff or any other kind of face covering.

Brought 3 liters of water & a filtration system. Only drank 2 liters, never checked to see if my sawyer squeeze froze but I heard other people’s systems did. Mostly brought proteins to eat, wish I’d brought more carbs.

Check out www.whitneyzone.com before you go!

Completed in one day on the 19th. We started at 3am. There were no online reservations available for camping at Whitney Portal but we drove up anyways to see. There were plenty of walk in sites available as well as one-night only camping next to the overnight parking which was perfect. Make sure you bring tags for anything you leave in the bear boxes.

Hiking in the dark on the trail was incredibly easy and fun. You look up and see a line of headlights but can’t see anything else. It’s nice to not be able to see the elevation you have to climb up and made it go by quicker but at the same time I know we were missing the beautiful scenery.

Once we hit trail camp, it got COLD. Like the other posts, our camelback straws froze and so did our filtration system so we were very appreciate of the people that lent us their help. We kept one straw in our jackets to keep it warm and switched straws out when the other froze. We used micro spikes on the way up and down when there was snow. It made us feel comfortable and it I didn’t have them, we would have turned around. In fact, we passed multiple people who turned around because they didn’t have micro spikes but we all may be just a novice group of hikers.

The last 2 miles were the hardest. It took us 3 hours due to putting on and taking off microspikes and scrambling up parts of the trail.

Overall, a great hike! Completely doable, you just need to be prepared for the worst and want it enough.

great trail second time this week

Completed same day on October 17th. Started at 0315 Took 11.5 hours. Great conditions - no winds the entire time. Incredibly cold in early morning while dark - camelbak froze many times. Required lots of layers. Once the sun same out a t-shirt was fine. Snow / ice at top of switchbacks and to summit. We wore microspikes down but wasn’t needed on way up. Could have been done entirely without spikes. Long day but rewarding.

26 days ago

Beautiful meadow

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