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This is a very unique and rewarding hike! We started at 7am sharp from the parking area just above Manaker Flats campground. The trail was pretty quiet being on a Thursday. After 3 hours and 15 minutes, we reached the summit. On the way up, we took the service road to the top of the chair lift and followed Devils Backbone Trail to the summit. Our descent was via the Baldy Bowl Trail, which was very steep and included many areas of loose sand and gravel. The terrain and surroundings are very unique and I would definitely recommend this hike to any experienced hiker!
Ascent: 3 hours 15 minutes via Devils Backbone
Descent: 2 hours and 30 minutes

backpacking
17 hours ago

Completed the Cottonwood Loop yesterday (8-17-18). The Old Army Pass was a bit scary. Coming down New Army Pass was in much better condition. Breathtaking scenery! The weather was good. Did have some rain, which made the trip even more enjoyable. This trail is a must and will definitely expand our trip in to the Sequoia National Forest on our next trip!

Good trail for families. Nothing too steep but lots of rocks for kids, and adults, to climb on at the end. Gorgeous falls in Spring and Summer.

*As of August 10th, 2018 there was no water at the falls or next to the second Ojitos camp

Started at the coast in Limekiln State Park and followed the Twin Peak/Cone Peak Loop. Camped at the first Ojitos Camp which was definitely an adventure to get down. Poison oak everywhere, but never really that hard to get along the path without touching it. ~10-15 trees to climb over or under. Campground could fit up to 2-3 tents optimistically but a nice place to stay the night and no one around. Water disappears and reappears as you make your way to the falls along the creek bed (perhaps the coolest part of the hike), but falls were completely dry. It wasn’t too hard to get to the base of them (path off to the left), but we decided not to continue onwards.

Flies were prevalent anytime there was light in the sky, but after the sunset they disappeared almost immediately and they didn’t really bite, just wanted to climb up your nose. Mosquitos around only near twilight and early morning. Would definitely do again to check out the waterfall in the spring.

One of the most beautiful hikes/places Iv seen. It’s a must do, I recommend starting the hike no later than 6am. You’ll see sunrise and avoid any heat!

backpacking
2 days ago

Gorgeous!

The first couple of miles on this trail are fully exposed with little or no shade. Therefore, I suggest starting as early as possible to avoid the heat of the day. The lakes themselves are amazing - definitely worth the effort.

Nice little trail from Lodgepole. Just a trickle coming down the falls this time of year but still beautiful.

I had an amazing time backpacking this trail with my brother. Spent one night camping at Vicente Flats and a second night camping on Cone Peak. It’s not necessary to camp for 2 nights but it’s certainly worth it as the view of the Milky Way at night from the peak is breathtaking.

Lots of the trail is exposed to the sun and MUCH hotter than we expected from the weather report of Big Sur. This made it difficult for my dog, but not dangerous for her. Something to think about if you’re taking your furry friend.

Even in the middle of August there were water sources before Vicente and at. The creek bed in Vicente is dry but if you hike down it you will find water. Once you move beyond this point water becomes limited and there is absolutely none on the Cone Peak trail. I would suggest not hiking to the top unless you’re carrying at least a gallon per person and a little extra for your dog.

Overall this hike is incredible, Vicente Flats is breathtaking, and the views from Cone Peak are worth it. I would definitely do this hike again.

Started at 730am and finished the whole loop and were back to the car by 2:30pm. We took our time and had lunch at Black Lake. We went counter clockwise around the loop and saved the best for last but it was all so beautiful! Not an easy hike, especially in one day but totally worth it! Much warmer temps in the beginning and is cooler around the lakes. Lots of water and stunning views! Cant wait to go back and hike in and camp!

backpacking
4 days ago

Just finished this trail as an overnight backpacking trip. Would rather recommend doing this in the spring or fall. Summer’s too hot and the trail’s mostly exposed. Bring lots of sunblock. Creeks we’re running and got to filter some water. Stayed at Vicente Flats for the night. This is definitely a butt-kicker with a pack. Could be done as a day hike but start early.

This hike is definitely intense. Hiked up on baldy trail and back down on devils backbone. Going up is tough is 4000 ft of just straight elevation imagine stair master x10. When you hit the green cabin (there is a little outhouse) you’re about halfway. It’s gets harder after this. The summit is really cool. Great view. Down devils backbone is VERY narrow be extra careful but it’s totally doable. I think this is the best way down opposed to baldy trail its not as intense. Long but not as intense. Plus there is the Mt baldy lodge where you can relax possibly take the ski lift back down if you wish.

Tips: bring at least 2 liters of water. Must wear hiking shoes. Trekking poles are very helpful.

5 stars for the beautiful scenery along the trial, minus 1 star for the disappointing falls itself in summer. Easy trial along the flowing river, enjoyable with kids and pets.

It was a great trip! I did see a bear and a rattlesnake. I do recommend stopping my Bearpaw Meadows to buy a brownie for $5.

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!

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!

backpacking
6 days ago

My attempt at this trail ended with me returning before the lakes. Started late around 2pm and returned to the trail head by 8:30pm for a total of 1900+ feet elevation gain. My fault for not having altitude training before hand.

The trail is well defined and has spectacular views, this trail makes for a very nice swim location and starting point for the Palisades Peak.

Didn’t notice any smoke today. Seems to be one of the few places unaffected by the fires.

Hiked this yesterday. Very low traffic, which was nice. Hazy at the top, got some weather for a few minutes. You can see smoke, but didn't interfere with the hike. It was a great day in the 70's, cooler at the top.

The trail itself is quite beautiful and easy with a steady uphill out and steady downhill on the back. There is one area that has a rocky outcropping that can be difficult. We started early on a Saturday. Unfortunately, there was a group that had 70 or so people in it, so it was way too crowded with trash left all over the place. I’d do this trail again, but during off season.

hiking
7 days ago

Solid hike- 105F+ in the summer months, although throughout the canyons there’s plenty of shade. Lots of wildlife there too, observe the hills around you as you pass through the canyons. Views are stunning from above. A must!

Get up early and have this trail to yourself! We started our week with this gem. Hit the parking lot at 0700 and practically had the place to ourselves! Later in the day the place is like an ant hill! The Sherman Tree is absolutely glorious. They all are. The sequoias are a national treasure. It’s amazing to think about an organism that has been alive as long as they have. The trails in the area are bountiful and you can make a day of it just in the Giant Grove!

hiking
8 days ago

We liked it. We only completed a portion of it. Weather was warm. But the construction en route delayed us and we didn’t want to stay stuck in the mountain overnight.
It took us about 2 hours to hike up about 6km
(I was carrying a 45lbs bag and had 3 teenagers with us, so we made many stops.)
Route down was easier took almost 80 min

We each consumed 2-4 litres of water. Although there is a local spot at around 3km mark with drinkable water.

We will try to head out to mineral king area tomorrow to see if any of the trails there look good.

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

Can anyone comment on the smoke at the top? I did Bighorn on Wednesday and the conditions weren't the best.

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!!

Hiked this with my parents and kids. An easy day hike that gives you great valley views and meanders along a beautiful stream. Trail ends at a waterfall- there is a great rock to jump from into a deep pool. The river has many places to wade in and cool off, where he water makes natural slides over the granite bed

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!

fishing
11 days ago

The reviews aren't wrong. This hike is definitely worth it, but man, it is straight uphill. Make sure to bring a lot of water. My buddy and I brought a gallon + two pints between the two of us and nearly ran out by the time we got to the lake. Not an easy hike.

We also got pretty damn close to two black bears on our way back which was a bit scary. All in all certainly worth it though. Gorgeous lake.

A note on fishing: as the hike is pretty strenuous I thought the fishing would be good (thought the difficulty would deter others). It wasn't terrible fishing but it also wasn't better than mediocre. Fish were pretty small and we only got a few bites in four hours on the water. The lake is also super hard to get around which confines you to only a couple fishing spots on one end of the lake.

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