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


Beautiful snowy day, and my dog loved it

15 days ago

I've hiked this route about 3-4 times and love it! My favorite spot to camp is at the biggest Cottonwood lake. Beautiful! Fairly easy getting into the Cottonwood Lakes basin. The trail is nice and very easy to follow. From the lakes to the top of Langley can be a challenge. Definitely prefer Old Army pass as is detailed on this map as the trail tops out in the bottom of the pass. But I've had to go around by Long lake and up New Army pass a couple of times due to snow conditions on Old Army pass. Going that way means you have to go up and over and down from a ridge, which means on your way back down from the peak, you have a substantial uphill once again. But when the Old Army pass trail is snowed over, it's better than nothing. The last bit to the top of Langley is a scramble through the scree and route finding through the boulders. Coming down the scree field can be fun, though. Some of my best backpacking memories are from this trail.

Did this hike years ago. It was great to bag another CA 14er, but not nearly as scenic as the others. Also, there was still a lot of snow on the upper mountain that had a thin top crust, making it to where every step punched through. Twice the effort with every step. Would have been a lot easier without the snow. But even then, I'd have to say this is my least favorite 14er. Great view from the top of course, but pretty barren all the way up. It was cool seeing the bristlecone pine trees as we drove there. Overall a decent outing, but not sure I'd do it again.

Left the portal at 4am with a flashlight,as the batteries were dying the sun was rising! Don’t know if this is some kind of close to record time but I was back down at the Portal by a quarter to 2.
I was in my forties and super fit(USCF rider)
In any case it was a spectacular hike...recommend it to anyone who loves majestic views.Just get yourself in some kind of shape....it will be much more enjoyable.

One of my favorite hikes: scenery, wild flowers (May), workout - highly recommend! 12 miles

we did this in ice and snow in 2k17. it was an awesome challenge and we completed it in one day from the Whitney trailhead. The switchbacks were closed due to snow so we had to climb the chute, that was the best part other than the summit. I'm doing it twice this year! This place is amazing, truly.

Like Mr Dave I did this hike when I was 19 or 20! We went up in 1 day stayed in lone pine as well what a wonderful place! You defiantly should bring a water purifier and I would suggest stopping at the first camp to acclimate. I may have to try the lottery to see where I stand at 44 years old- cheers to all!

2 months ago

Easy and fun. We had a 3 and 6 year old. There are some drop offs so you have to keep an eye on your kids, but they had a blast climbing in and out of all the lava flow holes! Great for a stop to stretch your legs and maybe have a picnic.

Beautiful hike, be prepared to cross snow fields early in the season before reaching the lower lake.

Started just off of 190 at meadow below Ponderosa. Went up towards Slate mountain 4.65 miles and back. light patchy snow. very nice!

3 months ago

Just did on 16th. Weather was great. Definitely need layers and would very much recommend gloves. Was unable to get to peak as last 1/2 mile was iced over. Told by other hikers that even those with ice spikes were having issues. A lot of ice in lower areas especially on way out. Well worth the effort

This trail is also known as the Shepherd Pass trail. It's a fantastic trail and in great condition. If your car can't make it up the rough dirt road to the hiker trailhead, consider parking at the the stock trailhead, a half mile before the hiker turnoff. Then hike up the stock trail to join the hiker trail.

Fantastic trail and in great condition. If your car can't take the rough dirt road to the hiker trailhead, consider parking at the stock trailhead, a half mile before the hiker turnoff. Then hike up the stock trail to join the hiker trail.

I am an old man now and have not done this in a long time, longer than I care to admit. Fees, permits, reservations were not required, you need to check into that these days.
Went up and down it numerous times in one day in my 20's I still could

3 months ago

The last 2.1 miles, from the fork between Alta Meadows and Alta Peak are completely snow-covered. I hiked it the Friday after Thanksgiving, and had to trail blaze using the GPS. It's possible some of it has thawed, but be prepared to hike over snow/ice/slush to reach the summit. Since the sun sets around 4:40pm, I would recommend bringing a headlamp and coming down from the summit around 2pm at the latest if you don't want to hike in the dark. The views from 2.8 miles onward are breathtaking.

I recommend doing Whitney it’s worth all the hard work. I hiked Whitney from the backside while hiking the JMT

Great trail to enter Kings canyon and the JMT. Very well maintained. The views at the pass are amazing. I’ve done a few over nighters and trips to Whitney from here.

What a beast! Yet this hike is also the most rewarding and my all time favorite hike to date. It is best to hike this one over multiple days of possible, preferably over three days so the 11 mike decent after a 5 mike ascent doesn’t kill you. Overall I cannot wait to get back to this mountain sometime next year.

Coming down is harder than going up.

4 months ago

The trail conditions are free of snow or ice. It's a strenuous hike and took us 8 hours out and back. Try to summit by noon since the days are shorter now.

4 months ago

Um waaaaay longer than 12.8 miles. Awesome views and very challenging. Like I'll be in pain for 3 days, kind of strenuous. The Hike is a lot longer than what it says. Our Apple Watch recorded the out and back hike to be about 19-20 miles round trip. Just be prepared and go early if you're planning a day hike Especially since the days are shorter now. Also there's only a couple of tiny streams but I suggest to bring plenty of water and a flashlight.

This was an amazing hike. The drive to get there is a 4x4 road that will rattle you for 16 miles. Once at the trailhead the hike itself is not very technical, but still very challenging. The altitude will sneak up on you, so be careful and hydrate up. Highly recommended to those who are looking to bag their first 14er.

I climbed Langley by way of a loop backpacking trip.

Only saw one other car at the trailhead. Great day hike up to the pass and kings canyon boundary. This trail is really well maintained and the switchbacks are well graded.

on Monarch Lakes Trail

4 months ago

This was a very beautiful trail with lots of views, water, waterfalls and wild flowers everywhere!! It was difficult and took us about 6 hrs to complete. We did not see another human after the trail split off from the monarch trail. I would do this again maybe ad a backpacking trip.

4 months ago

Did it as a day hike. Much better done if you go up New Army pass and come back down Old Army Pass. As of late Oct, there was no snow along the trail. The trail is mostly well defined and easy to follow. The last 0.5miles is off-trail and involves some class 3 scrambling.

Wednesday 10/18
I drove up from LA and arrived in Whitney Portal at about 7:00 PM. Goal was to stay in the Portal for two nights before summit attempt on Friday.

Thursday 10/19
Woke up early and drove back into Lone Pine to pick up my permits and do one last weather check. As a note, I had cell service (AT&T) about 3 minutes outside of Whitney Portal, just not directly in Whitney Portal or on the mountain. Permit pick up was easy, the staff walked me through the papers, had me sign in a few spots acknowledging that I wouldn't litter, have a fire, etc. then they gave me my permit and wag bag.

Drove back up to the Portal, got my backpack ready for the next day, and decided to take a short hike up to the trail head to help my body acclimate. Ended up hiking through the first few switchbacks of the trail, basically to the first water crossing then turned back and headed back to camp.

Weather was supposed to be very windy on Thursday night and Friday morning, final NOAA report had 70-80mph gusts with sustained winds in the 30+ mph. I decided to pack up my hammock and sleep in my car that night to avoid falling debris and to hopefully get a better night sleep. Day ended with a Mountain House dinner of Chicken and Dumplings and was in bed by 6:00 PM.

Friday 10/20 (Summit)
Woke up at about 2:00 AM to get all my clothes on, breakfast made, and drive up to the parking lot with the goal of starting at 3:00 AM. Ended up starting about 3:15 AM. Weighed my pack at the trail head scale it was 27lbs including 4L of water.

Weather report was just about spot on with the sustained winds. Those kept up the entire morning and didn't fade out until around lunch time when more normal summit winds continued.

Water sources along the trail were very active. If someone was trying to go light on water, they'd have an easy time filtering water essentially all the way up until Trail Camp. I don't necessarily trust the Trail Camp pond water, but if you walk off trail a hair above the pond, water seemed to still be flowing alright.

The hike up to the switch backs was pretty easy, nothing crazy, just plodding along. Even on the switchbacks it wasn't difficult once I found a sustainable pace. Towards the top the winds were getting strong enough that some of the gusts would have blown me off the side of the switch backs had I not had a trekking pole planted downwind. The trail was in great condition though and the one icy spot near the cables was trivial to bypass. It was more cool to see than anything.

I started the switchbacks with about 2.5 liters of water. 1.5 in a camelback and 1 in a Nalgene. From the start of the switchbacks I had to nurse the camelback because the hose kept freezing and continued to do so more frequently as I approached the summit. Eventually about a mile from the summit, I forgot about it for 5 minutes and it was frozen solid. If a camelback is your only source of water to the summit, watch this carefully, otherwise you may lose your water source.

From Trail Crest on I slowly made my way to the summit, altitude becoming a large factor taxing my effort. The main gusty winds had simmered down a little bit at this point but coming around the bend at Trail Crest and through each of the windows, I had to watch my step because the winds were so strong.

Summited in 9.5 hours (approx 12:45 PM), very slow, probably could have done it in 7-8 hours had I not stopped so many times along the way. Summit weather was clear, cold, and beautiful. Stayed on the top for about 30-45 minutes to enjoy the view and eat.

I desummited much quicker but still got back after dark with a total time of 16.5 hours. I feel comfortable that I could have done it in closer to 13-14 but for sticking with other groups on the way up and down.

Attempt: First
Time: 16.5 Hours
Trail Conditions: Clear and Clean
Water Consumption: 4L
Weather: Clear, Cold, and Windy

Key Learnings
- The two nights in Whitney Portal helped LOADS with acclimation. If you have the time, I highly recommend it.

- I was able to finish the hike with 4L of water but still brought my water filter with me.

- I took ibuprofen all day to manage not only the small aches and pains but also to help with altitude sickness. Not sure how much of a role it played with altitude sickness prevention but I didn't have any issues all the way up. However, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it made the descent much more comfortable with regards to the aches and pains.

- Heavier/fattier foods should be eaten earlier in the morning when at lower altitudes. Your body has a difficult time processing those foods at altitude. Switch to simple sugars like fruits and snickers as you approach the summit. It's amazing what a little bit of food in your stomach will do for how you feel.

Hope this helps anyone looking to head up there!

Load More