The north-south Inyo Mountains comprise a high and vast desert range, and the isolated and pristine Wilderness that bears their name encompasses a large portion of this sheerly rugged terrain. The area reaches a high point on Keynot Peak, at about 11,000 feet, and separates the Owens Valley on the west from the Saline Valley on the east. Most of the eastern border is shared with Death Valley National Park. Year-round streams, some cascading over waterfalls, can be found in eight canyons on the rough east side. These steep-walled canyons offer challenges to rock climbers. In addition to Keynot Peak, the prominent summits of New York Butte and Mount Inyo provide tough, nontechnical hikes with splendid views as rewards. Creosote, shadscale scrub, and sagebrush proliferate at lower elevations. You'll find a lush riparian habitat in the moist canyons, and pinion-juniper woodlands on some of the slopes. Bristlecone and limber pine grow in the higher reaches. Inyo Mountains Wilderness lies partly on BLM land and partly within Inyo National Forest. A rich mining legacy has left a smattering of ruins to explore, and the towers that supported a men-and-salt-bearing tram from the Saline Valley salt mines to Owens Lake can still be seen on Cerro Gordo Peak. There are 103 miles of unmaintained trails, often difficult to follow, a holdover from historic use. Most of these trails are not shown on maps. From Reward, the old Lonesome Miner Trail (40 miles) will take you south through the highest country to Hunter Canyon. The chance for a solitude-rich Wilderness experience of a high order awaits the adventurous.

Excellent hike. Amazing views of the Sierra and Owens valley. Not an easy hike but well worth it. Not much snow at 10,000 for January. Lake was frozen solid. Ice appeared to be a couple feet thick.

This is not for the weak!! I got slight elevation sickness (headache and mild nausea). Not recommended if you have asthma or any condition. Overall STUNNING views. Amazing. The trail is extremely well maintained!

What an amazing experience. We loved every step and it awesome to reach out the beautiful lake.

A quick hike on a steep, but extremely well maintained trail. Hiked this over Thanksgiving with snow on the higher portions of the trail. Still didn’t need micro spikes though. I recommend walking to the far side of the lake to get a full view of Thor and Whitney. Benefit of going during the winter is the frozen lake provides great access to the other side *Attempt at your own risk*.

The hike is all uphill with plenty of switchbacks . It definitely takes time to complete but the view and lake are beautiful ! Snow was more common the higher in elevation we went . By the lake in certain areas it was almost knee deep . Slippery ice as well!

i hiked on November 21st and there were quite snow after second creek and i was happy that i had spike to make the hike easier.. in afternoon, there’s not much sunlight so you might want to hit it before midday. i didn’t find this hike “hard”. technical and trail is well tracked. just steady incline. i hike a lot, and took me 2.5hrs for return including short break.

Great views the entire way.
For someone who lives at sea level and doesn't do a ton of hiking, I found the elevation gain challenging.

I loved everything about this hike. It was a nice steep climb to a gorgeous lake. The views on the way were spectacular and you get to hear the sounds of the falls as you make the climb. Every switchback offers a beautiful view. This was a perfect way to end the weekend after we had completed Big Pine Lakes the day before. Try to get to the lake when the sun is up high, you'll have great reflections off of the lake.

Beautiful hike to the lake. Lots of small streams, at least in October. Make sure you allow enough time, or it will be a dark hike back. Headlamps or flashlights are a must.

hiking
5 months ago

A high altitude body of water that sits on a shelf above Whitney Portal. Its waters, mirror-like in appearance, stretchs out to the horizon like a natural infinity pool—reflecting the surrounding evergreens, massive boulders, and towering cliffs with perfect symmetry. At an elevation of 10,050 feet.

Awesome hike, the scenery is amazing!

Awesome terrain. Great views throughout. Challenging water crossings including a log walk across the marsh.
A must do !!
PS the lake at the end is a wonderful natural infinity pool overlooking the mountains.

Awesome terrain. Great views throughout. Challenging water crossings including a log walk across the marsh.
A must do !!

off road driving
6 months ago

Today was the second time I did this trail, and my first time leading the way. We took the side trip to see the mine. I paused the record function on the app so there's a gap in my track. I remembered to restart it as we started the drive on Cerro Gordo .
The environment changes as you move from desert to mountain to rolling hills, wooded valley, ending with a shelf section that is sure to make you a little uncomfortable.Good times , overall it's a great experience

Slushy snow , slippery at about 3/4 miles to the lake. 2 rivers running strong so be prepared to get wet, the log bridge is in the water about half way - so again be prepared to get feet wet. At the lake - snow and ice too. Trekking poles would have probably made it easier and safer. Some people had crampons to make Handling the slush better. Other than that it's a fairly easy hike - but we're OK with going slow and stopping when needed. Especially with 2 dogs - we made room for other hikers and other dogs on the hike. Enjoyable hike, at the lake it's partly frozen so we were careful not to let the dogs too close to the frozen lake.

snow and ice today. gorgeous place and worth the trek. trekking poles came in handy

The hike to Lone Pine Lake is about as far as you can hike out of Whitney Portal without a permit for the Whitney Zone. The hike is mostly sunbathed and hot. It climbs relentlessly in the heat. However, the endpoint of Lone Pine Lake is absolutely beautiful. The lake is relatively small and the granite faces above it are towering.

This is the bottom portion of the Whitney Portal Trail and as far as you can hike without a permit. Although forested, this section is mostly exposed to the sun and a good trail. The views of the Inyo Mountains, Owens Valley and the Alabama Hills open up as you gradually switchback up the trail. The only water crossing is just before you come to the John Muir Wilderness sign and the barely noticeable junction for the Mountaineering Route. At about 2.5 miles is the junction to Lone Pine Lake, a place to fish for golden trout, and some folks camp here if taking two days to Trail Camp - said to be better than Outpost Camp. We hiked on a beautiful day and was around 80 degrees at the bottom, but the lake was nice and breezy with some snow patches. Beautiful views. Take water and sunscreen. My goal is to do the rest of this hike to the top some day.

Still a lot of snow near the top at this time of year, but this is absolutely beautiful. Favorite hike I've ever done

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