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Start early in the morning (by 8am) to avoid crowds. We were there in mid-September and was not too crowded at that time, but was busy at the bottom when we were finishing up. Hard hike with a lot of vertical climb, but worth it for the views. Take the easier John Muir trail down for some added length and also for the views looking back at the falls you just climbed. Beautiful hike!

hiking
1 day ago

The best hike ever. Very hard. And I if you think San Gorgonio is hard then you shouldn't go to Mt Whitney. I had an early start at 2am end up on summit at 9am. Clear sky a little windy but doable. Sunrise was amazing.Train for this hike,plan it smart.Be ready. Good luck.

Was a ice & easy trail. Me, my husband, kids, & our dogs had a blast.

hiking
1 day ago

One of my favorite hikes. Unbeatable views.

Great trail. Went to Trail Camp. No summit due to high winds. This map appears to be wrong, though, as there is no identifiable trail to consultation lake where it shows one. Not sure how one would ever get to the lake from where this map shows

Absolutely my favorite day hike ever!!!! The stairs to Vernal Falls were intense. Although still a challenge the hike to Nevada Falls was a bit strenuous. The view at the top was breathtaking. We were also able to see some climbers on Half Dome. Heading down via the John Muir Trail was a great choice, peaceful. This is a must do hike!

Very fun, but crowded hike. Go early to ensure fewer crowds. Gets pretty uphill towards the end

Hiked on 7 Sep. Started at Trailhead at 3:05 AM. Finished at Trailhead 7:55 PM. Weather: Low of 45, high of 60, sunny and very little wind (perfect)

Training: I live in Kansas so training at altitude is a bit problematic. I hiked a bit at RMNP a few months before to get a feel for altitude. Other than that I would hike locally but nothing over 10 miles. I used the stair master (3x week) for up to an hour and squatted (2-3x week). I got a pretty bad head cold two weeks out and shut down my training to get fully healed as a headcold at altitude could suck. My group went fairly slowly and I felt fully conditioned. A bit of soreness in my calves the next day but none in my quads or hammies.

Prep: We arrived two days prior and camped at Horseshoe Meadows two nights before. There was plenty of sites available and it helped us get used to altitude. The night before we camped at the trailhead. Again plenty of space in the walk up campground. Parking was tight but as the afternoon wore on and people came off of the mountain there was plenty. The store has any last minute things you need.

Actual Hike: Our group of five hit the trail at 3:05 AM. We took the old trailhead (located at the really big boulder on the far side of the parking lot road past the store). My pack (including poles, water and food) weighed in at 17lbs. Things were easy and we hit trail camp a bit after sunup. We refilled on water here. At trail crest we took a snack break and reached the summit about 11:30. We stayed for an hour. Some of the group was gassed from the way up and we traveled pretty slowly back down arriving back at the trailhead a bit before 8 PM. That means we had to finish by headlamp which was a bit off putting. Overall the trail was very easy to follow, between trail crest and the summit there are some rocky pieces but nothing that you can call scrambling. For hydration I used a 100 oz bladder and actually finished it between trail head and trail camp.

Equipment: Shoes- Garmont approach shoes, they performed like champs and provided great
traction on the rocky sections. Pack- Granite gear Leopard 46. Lightweight and performed as advertised. It was bigger than I needed but since I had to fly in it was my bag on the plane. Clothes- Silky poly pro top as base layer. Due to the warmth/lack of wind it was my only layer almost the entire time. It wicked the sweat well and I felt dry and comfortable. For my bottom layer I wore Prana stretch Zion pants and they were great as always . All the other clothes stayed in the pack. For navigation I used a paper map (1:64k) and a Garmin foretrex 301. The Garmin is old and you can't download maps to it so it sucked for establishing time/distance to travel due to all the switchbacks. As a work around I tracked elevation as my metric which allowed me to compare my real time elevation with upcoming landmarks.

What I would do differently next time: 1) Think out a better water resupply plan/method. Our group (5 people) had one filter. We filled at trail camp both coming and going and to fill five camel backs, put them back in the pack etc. took 30 minutes each time. 2) Rig my camelback on a side pouch on my pack. I saw someone near the end of the hike with that and saw how I could reduce the five minute process of installing and removing the camelback from the inside of my pack to a 30 second process. 3) Not bring poles. This is YMMV, but I am not used to poles and feel I have greater balance and mobility without them on the rocky portions. I dabbled with them on the way down starting at the switchbacks but gave them away to someone we came across who had twisted their ankle. My knees and legs felt fine both on the trail and the next day. Probably if I watch a youtube on how to use them and practice my attitude towards them will change.

Overall a great experience.

Beautiful, very challenging hike. Thankful for my good, supportive hiking shoes with tread. Also found a walking stick to be extremely helpful both with the steep ascent and descent. Glad it’s a ‘short’ hike or I might not have made it all the way up! Glorious views, worth it if you’ve got it in you! Trail disappears about 2/3 of the way up and increases in underfoot instability. Unlike a review above, I found the cairns, rock stacks, very helpful to follow. I feel very accomplished after this hike that took me about 4.5 hours to complete, not including the exploration and break at the peak.

Now my 2nd favorite hike in the nation. Sorry, it will be hard to beat the continental divide trail in northern Glacier NP. Due to the drought there were no falls flowing in the valley that we say. Vernal, Illouette and Nevada are flowing however. So let's get to the list.

Total of 7.4 miles in 5.5 hours. Tough trail is you are not in shape due to the elevation change in the short distance

1. Arrive early. We arrived at 7am at the public parking lot and it was already over 3/4 full.
2. The public parking is almost 1/2 mile to the trailhead
3. There is free shuttle service from all visitor centers so if the parking is full, just back up to another parking area, grab a shuttle and be dropped off at the trail head
4. the first mile is all asphalt and steep 10% +/- grade. Once you past the first bridge crossing the trail becomes more dirt and rock. However, the trail at one time was asphalt all the way up to Nevada Falls, That residual asphalt is smooth and slippery from sand so be sure your hiking shoes have good soles
5. Stairs to Vernal Falls. Who made those things/ The last 1/2 mile is practically all stairs and most are 12-18" high.
6.Vernal Falls is flowing. The pool above the falls is absolutely gorgeous but you cannot swim in it or slid a slick rock slide into it.
7. From Vernal to Nevada is mostly a rock path that has been laid down. I would not call it stairs but does have steps. Much easier
8. Nevada Falls is flowing as well.
9. You can swim the pool at the top of Nevada Falls.
10. We came down the John Muir Trail which involves nothing more than crossing the bridge above the falls and following the signs to the valley floor. It added about 1/2 mile but the trail was much easier, in the SHADE. but spots of old asphalt were slippery from sand
11. 2 separate bear encounters on the John Muir at less than 10 yards each. They were on the side of the trail eating acorns and could care less we were just yards from them.
12. Despite being the 2nd week of Sept, it was very busy coming down. People waited until late morning and it was a solid ant line of people coming up. However, most were visitors from other countries.

Enjoy

hiking
7 days ago

Great trail, wonderful views, but it is not a Loop Trail. There is a small loop at the very top of the trail but that doesn’t make it a loop trail. We got a really good workout on this trail.

*very nice hike.
*beautiful scenery, and great fun finding all five lakes.
*at the first lake a mama bear and her cub went for a swim.
*plenty of dog water too.

Everyone has said it all but an awesome hike, awesome place to camp and incredibly beautiful scenery everywhere along the way!

gorgeous hike. majority of the time it feels like you are climbing the stairs to Mordor. nice views of Nevada falls after Vernon falls on the way up. The view of half dome is great on the way down the John Muir trail. you can see liberty cap, half dome, and Nevada falls at the same time. walking 1 mile past nevada falls to towards half dome is relatively flat and has a nice view of half dome, backside of liberty cap, and follows the river and is a good way to add some distance/time to the hike.

in September the hike started at 47 degrees at 8am and it was 96 when we left the valley floor at 1:30. highly recommend doing it early as the trail was less populated in the fall on a Friday.

Wonderful hike, but it’s a beast for sure. Train train train.
Do NOT trust your phone GPS to mark your point by point goals. My GPS read 10 miles while we were still on the switchbacks, which is inaccurate. This app recorded my whole hike as being 26 miles total instead of the generally accepted 22. This does get frustrating.
Overall a once in a lifetime hike for sure.

Fantastic hike! We started early in the morning, around 7:30am when the trail did not have too many people on it. The trail is fairly well maintained throughout and signage being fairly good. The two sets of stairs to the top of Vernal and Nevada falls can be difficult if you are not used to going up that number of stairs. Outside of the stairs the trail is not too steep. There are plenty of opportunities to take a break and enjoy the number of stunning reviews across the area. A word of warning, starting the hike later in the morning will leave you with the crowds, making it hard to navigate the stairs.

Be sure to take plenty of water with you (2-3L per person) and snacks. The hike is long (took us nearly 5 hours to complete with breaks).

The hike is also longer than 6.4 miles. The National park site has this hike (Mist trail/ John Muir trail) rated closer to 8 miles. My fitbit also tracked it at 8 miles as well. Long but absolutely stunning and worth every step.

hiked on September 2nd in one day. we started at 4.30 am, headed the top at 11.15 am, stayed 1h on the top and then finished it at 5.30 pm. It took us 13h with the stop and we were going pretty fast!
You feel the elevation! We didn't acclimated as we had a one day permit but we took some hybropruphen! however, we went through headache and nausea! This hike requires not only a good physical training but also a strong mind control!

Long hard walk uphill for hours in beautiful landscape w beautiful souls. Criticized for high traffic but for me that’s how I made it out. Thx Kim and mike.

Well worth the time.

The mist trail is one of my favorite trails ever! This trail is best when it is not too crowded (avoid weekends or holidays) as it becomes a lot like a theme park and you can't really enjoy the beauty of the hike when you are hiking in a single file line of hundreds of tourists and screaming children.

This trail is definitely tough as you climb stairs straight up Vernal Falls and climb the switchbacks up to Nevada Falls. It is totally worth it! The views are spectacular! If you go during or immediately after a heavy rainy season, bring waterproof gear because you will get drenched.

If you go during the warmer months when the John Muir Trail is open, take the JMT back down to get beautiful panoramic views of Half Dome and Nevada Falls. This section of the JMT is shady and the switchbacks can get a little slick with loose gravel and dirt. I recommend good hiking shoes and trekking poles.

This trail also has restrooms galore! There are restrooms with flushing toilets at the trailhead and at the Vernal Falls Footbridge. There are vault toilets at the top of Vernal Falls and at the top of Nevada Falls. You never really need to worry about needing to go.

Definitely bring lots of water. Our group brought about 3 liters each and had to filter and refill water at the top of Nevada Falls. There is a drinking water filling station at the base of Vernal Falls at the Footbridge (about 1 mile in from the trail head) and there are no other opportunities to fill up after that unless you bring your own filtration system.

walking
14 days ago

Really easy pretty hike with heart arch and the mobius arch and Alabama hills in the background.

What a mountain! What a hike!
Did the 1 day up and back from Whitney Portal, 15 hours round trip. 8.5 up, at an easy pace. 30min at the summit. 6 hours down at a quicker pace.

-Overview and Info (If you’re interested)-

2 days before- camped at Horseshoe Meadow (at over 10k elevation) to acclimate. The next morning we did a warm up hike which ended up being way more than I intended, over 7 miles total.
Afternoon/night before- Camped at portal at the walk-up, 1 night campground. Ate big chili and pasta dinner at about 6pm and was in bed by 7:30. Didn’t sleep much.
Got up at 2am and broke camp, hiking packs were already to go. Ended up starting at the same time as a couple other groups so there was a couple dozen of us on the trail at the same time, which was kinda fun. Got to Trail Camp just after sunrise and that was a sorta magical sight to see- the community of backpackers up there just arising and having coffee/breakfast next to the lake (where we stopped to filter some water), under the peaks of Mt Muir and Whitney...Beautiful! Then it’s the “99 switchbacks”. Getting to the top was very rewarding in that it’s a massive incline/ elevation gain and workout, but also getting to trail crest at the top where you finally get to the views west into the Sierras was amazing! Knowing there’s less than 2 miles to the summit and how much you’ve already endured, you press on. The journey becomes even more challenging from here, the trail gets very rocky, the fatigue and effects of altitude started to kick in. By about 14k feet, I got pretty light headed, feeling like I was somewhere between fainting and dreaming at moments- (which was actually a kinda cool natural high). Again, a slow and easy pace with as many stops as needed, worked. Getting to the summit was a triumph!
But as it’s said, once you hit the summit, you’re only halfway there! You still have to make it all the way back down. I was concerned about what energy I had left to make it another 11 miles, but going down is easier (although there are a few places where you have incline on the trail back- which sucked). By the time we got back to Trail camp I had drank over 4 liters of water, emptying my “bladder”. We filtered a little more water there, enough to keep moving, knowing there were a few more sources to refill along the way back. Getting to see all the spots that we passed in the dark on the way up was a treat. It’s beautiful up there! The scenic beauty was one of the most inspiring parts of the whole hike, which kept me motivated to keep going.

Overall I carried and consumed quite a bit: about 6 bars (cliff bars, macro bars, etc), a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some almonds and banana chips, 1 apple, 1 orange and 1 banana, plus some sodium/electrolyte/energy gels and some similar powders I added to my water bottle occasionally. Also I popped a Ibuprofen at about 13.5k ft. (and another at the bottom end). I had a 4 liter water bag and a 16oz bottle, which I drank from on the trail. I think I consumed a little more water (and calories) then average for the hike, but I got almost no sleep the 2 nights before and needed to give my body every thing I could to keep pumping. And it worked!

Training helps of course, physically and mentally.
Keep a positive, productive attitude, take one step at a time. You’ll get there.

Awesome hike! Must do if you’re looking for a hard, 4-6 hour trail. Do the loop. Stairs from hell, then a nice stroll down the Muir Trail. Bring plenty of water. At least 2 liters.

Did this trail on 09/03/2018. The weather was warm enough to wear you were able to wear a tank top and shorts without a jacket. The hike itself had a long part of incline at the beginning then a “stairway”. The views were amazing.

Completed 8/31 and it was a highlight of my hiking adventures. Stayed at Trail Camp, got the headache but nothing worse than that. It was easier than I had expected and read about. I am 47, smoker and about 20 pounds over weight and I flew up the switchbacks. I actually thought the first 6 miles to Trail Camp was harder than the 4.5 to summit. My biggest suggestion for the switchbacks and summit part, is leave before light, put your headlamp on, and some earphones and it seems block out how far it is to the top. Also no matter what the weather is at Trail Camp it is colder and more windy. I used a total of 2 liters of water up and down from Trail Camp to Summit and back to Trail Camp. I read reviews of people carrying 5 liters, so I did only to empty it on the way down. Also I ate about 500 calories before I started and only had about a 200 calorie snack on the way down. The thing that helped me the most was a 5 hour energy drink before starting and another at the summit. I cannot wait to do this again and beat my personal best time. Also, Trail Camp had about 5 other tents set up Thursday the 30th of August, was not busy at all. The summit had more people, most of which came from the West side. Good Luck to all and enjoy!

Best done in late spring and early summer when river is fullest. Proper footwear and water is a must. The best views of Nevada Falls are just a short distance up the trail from Vernal Falls - worth the extra hiking

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike. It was cold at the top and I was happy to have gloves, running tights, and a down puffer jacket to put on at the summit. Training definitely made a difference by doing longer hikes to peaks around where I live. This should be a bucket list hike for any serious hiker.

Beautiful day, no clouds, no wind... s o l a c e . . .

Epic adventure! 15 hours. Started at Whitney Portal trailhead at 4:30a, finished at 7:36p. We are in very good cardiovascular shape, I’m a runner and hiker, my husband is a cyclist and hiker and sometime runner. I am also moderately afraid of heights. My first hike ever was Mt. Baldy (10,068 elevation) and I had huge shortness of breath but summited, that was 10 years ago! I started running and as an added benefit, Mt. Baldy was easy the second time (2 years ago and 8 years older at that time). I am 53 and my husband is 48 to give you an idea of age. All that being said, we saw a few hikers taking 1 inch steps around Trail Camp (12,000 ft), pretty sure they didn’t make it to the summit. On the flip side, the day before we hiked Whitney we spoke to a young man who RAN to the summit; he started at 4:00a and finished at 11:00a.
Here’s what we did for this hike; camped 2 nights at Whitney Portal campground before the hike. Drove up to do a short hike the day before the hike at Cottonwood Lake area at just over 10,000 ft. Ate a good dinner but not real heavy, took 500mg Naprosyn each. Went to bed at 8:00p, up at 3:00a, coffee, food, 500mg Naprosyn again etc., had to jockey our small motorhome up to the trailhead area to avoid running the generator in a sleepy campground and not add one extra mile to the hike :) We hit the trail at 4:30a.
Take it at a comfortable pace because pacers win the day! We used exactly 3L of water each, ate 2 sandwiches each, Clif bar each, some trail mix, squeeze fruit, 1 GU, 3 gels, and shared an oatmeal/fruit squeeze. There are water sources on the way but it is sunny and exposed most of the way so bring UV radiation protection. The weather was awesome this day (Aug 27, 2018), no wind at the time we summited, no clouds, no thunderstorms. But remember you’re only half done when you summit! Another bonus was there were no mosquitoes, I was shocked. I brought a first aid kit, complete with sutures, ACE wrap, Naprosyn, bandages, etc. I gave out some Naprosyn to a guy who was suffering with AMS on the way up but didn’t see him again.
My advice is to listen to wilderness experts and hydrate, take NSAIDs, and pay attention to your body. Headache, nausea, dizziness, uncoordinated movements, extremity swelling are all signs of AMS. At the FIRST sign of headache, stop and see if you recover, if not, DESCEND. It’s not worth your life to get to the top.

hiking
23 days ago

I like this hike as it is dog friendly. Traffic can range from light to heavy so if you’re a solitary hiker, it’s safe (use your own discretion). I easily found 3 of the 5 lakes but had trouble finding the other two. Sunscreen, a hat, and water are a must. I forgot my water bottle at the house and went ahead and did the full hike and was fine, but I don’t recommend it. I would have explored further had I packed it. My dog had a great time swimming in the big lake. Good for hikers of all levels.

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