Explore the most popular no dogs trails in John Muir Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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!

This was a very beautiful hike! I didn’t do the whole thing, because it was spontaneous. However, I will go back soon and do the entire thing. Lots of rocks and boulders on the trail, which is so fun! But be aware of that when planning for your hike. Trail shoes are fine.

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.

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.

Challenging but worth it, went further up to Mirror Lake though

Did this hike on October 6 2018. It snowed before, during, and after. We lucked out and got clear skys at the summit. Summited around 11:00am passed tons of people that turned around because it was too sketchy as it was icy and cold. I didn't have spikes or crampons so was super bummed as I didn't think I had a prayer to make it. The trail was icy and slippery but it wasn't like you were going to fall to your death if you slipped and fell. It was easy to spot the icy areas and I just used the trekking poles and took my time.

Love this hike, make sure you do your homework and are prepared for staying overnight if worst comes to worst with weather moving in too quick.

Mount Whitney Trail
03 OCT 2018, Wednesday

I hiked from Whitney Portal Trailhead to within three-quarters of a mile of the Summit and back--about 20 miles. I did not reach the Summit, unfortunately. Sound judgement led me to turn back and quickly descend, due to a sudden snow and lightning storm. Lots of wind and falling snow (corn snow?) made footing a challenge, especially between Keeler Needle and Trail Crest.

Started my hike at 3:30am under a clear sky. Lots of stars in the sky, those first three hours. Beautiful sunrise and fantastic views. It was sunny and pleasant when ascending the 97 switchbacks. That morning, the trail was clear of ice most of the way, with some ice present on the highest one-third of the switchbacks. I put yak traks on my boots and found them helpful, especially considering what was to come that afternoon.

Clouds started to build just before noon. By 12:30pm the sky darkened and snow began to fall, so I decided to turn back. By 12;45pm, snow and wind were intense as I descended from Keeler Needle to Trail Crest and then down the 97 switchbacks. Heavy snow continued to fall as I hiked through Trail Camp, through Outpost Camp and halfway to Lone Pine Lake. The wind howled and blew the snow sideways.

Lightning all around. While descending from Trail Crest and through the 97 switchbacks, clearly visible lighting bolts crossed the sky. I hiked through heavy snowfall, instantaneous thunder and much too close views of lightning veins for the hour it took to descend the switchbacks. I dove to the ground a couple of times, out of some kind of instinctive survival reaction. There's no place safe to take shelter from lightning anywhere between the base of the 97 switchbacks and the Summit. Keep in mind, the air is very thin above 13,000 feet and it will take you longer than you think to get from point A then to B and to C.

There were a few hikers ahead of me who were within a half mile or so of the Summit, just prior to the moment I decided to turn around and descend. I hope and pray they each made a safe return home.

Be prepared, if attempting Mt. Whitney during the month of October. I carried a very heavy day-pack containing extra water- and wind-proof clothing, two wool head coverings, extra food and water, an extra headlamp and batteries, etc... My body temperature remained warm, I was hydrated and had the energy to extract myself from a "not good" situation.

Even though I didn't reach the Summit, I'm good with it.

Oct 2, 2018, windy and snow storm above 3800m.
I lost my way off the trail before 99 switches simply following other two climbers ahead. It is extremely dangerous to climb short-cut of the switches, because the stone slope up to the top is too loosen to fall in a snowy day together with stones! It took me two extra hours to cut back to the switches safely using All Trail map, but fail to the summit before deadline for closed time.
I will come back to Mt Whitney because The Mountain is there!
Thanks a lot to my son and daughter in law, and my wife for their understanding and support.

backpacking
20 days ago

Completed 9/30/2018. Second attempt after a previous year failed day hike attempt . This year opted for overnight stay and camped at UBSL. Started the ascent to the summit @ 5:30am. Reached the summit @ 11:30am after taking a long break at iceberg lake. The chute took longer than anticipated navigating the loose rock, but was much easier going down. Only saw four other climbers going up the chute.

Great trail to a beautiful peak. Watch for the tree ;)

My. Whitney, CA
20 September 2018

Success!!!

Our group of 10 met up in Lone Pine, CA on September 18th. We came from Virginia, Texas, Pennslyvania, Kentucky, Tennessee & Arizona. Two were related, some were old friends, some were new friends, and some had never met. Barry from Orange County join our group last, at 2:00am on the 20th, and we were stronger for his company.

I had been invited at the last minute, to fill a vacancy. 53 years old, not a hiker, and certainly not in pristine shape, but the mind was willing. We’d find out if the body could keep up.

Obersvations: 1 - Spectacular scenery and views. 2 - I overestimated my ability, and underestimated the mountain. 3 - The lack of Oxygen is real. 4 - The 99 switchbacks are harsh. 5 - The last 1.9 miles is the longest ever walked. 6 - Coming down is every bit as difficult as going up. Finally, and most importantly 7 - I wouldn’t have made it without the help, support, advice and encouragement of friends, acquaintances and strangers alike.

We left the Portal as a group at 2:00am, drowsy, happy and excited. We summitted independently, as pairs and in small groups, to the cheers of those in our group who had reached before us, as well as people we had never met. I summitted at noon (last of my group) as the final pair with a true friend who waited an hour for me to start his final two miles with me. We were all back at the Portal by 7:55pm, again, with me in the last pair, and the rest of the group cheering on our group achievement. 23.4 miles, 18 hours, 78,000 steps. Almost 6,000 feet up... and then down. A very long day indeed.

Jeff, Cindy, Nicki, Amber, Katie, Amay, Joe, Jenn, Summer, Barry & Scott. 11 started, 11 summitted and 11 finished.

We had no injuries, and only minor setbacks. We are all tremendously thankful for that.

As one of my ‘new’ friends just pointed out, a week ago we were on top of that granite rock. Today we’re all spread out across this great country. I count this as one of the greatest personal accomplishments of my life (children, marriage notwithstanding). Not necessarily summitting, but being a part of an amazing group of people who came together to reach new heights, and left richer for the experience and the friendships gained.

Carpe Diem

Absolutely beautiful! Perfect for a day hike, completed within 10hours (12 hours if my chit-chat time at the summit is added). Started at 01:25am and made it up all the switchbacks by 06:08am, saw one of the most beautiful sunrises!!!
Food wise, I carb-loaded the day before (around 2-3pm). I ate a banana and a little of trail mix up the summit and ate a meal after completing the hike. Carb loading the day before and going in a fasted state was probably my best decision, I had a ton of energy and did not feel nauseous. I only needed about 1.5L of water total (but I did hike most of the trail during night).
ALSO, thank you whoever takes care of the trail, during full moon (as it was last night) I did not even need to use the headlamp to find my way up.

My son and I drove out from LA to Lone Pine Friday morning, retrieved passes after 2pm (many were available) and checked into a hotel.

Sat 3am the journey commenced and approx 7 hrs later we hit the summit shortly after 10am. High winds and cold temps up top made clothing options crucial. Glad as well that w had altitude meds (diamox) so as to avoid AMS. (No acclimation)

The descent was fun and enjoyable since anything below the 99 switchbacks was dark on the way up. We watered up at Trail Head camp, cooked a nice “campers stew” about halfway down just past Outpost Camp, then cruised the final 6 mi. We were in the car by 5pm so all in all including stops a 14 hr journey.

The ride home was a breeze. The journey nothing less than epic. We both vow to return - Whitney is a beast but beautiful !

The views are nothing to brag about. This hike was more mentally demanding than it is physically. The sad part is that I didn't even get to enjoy getting to the top because my first thought was that I have at least another 6 hours to retrace every step in order to get off this mountain. If you are doing this as a dayhike, make sure to set a schedule to get enough carbs. We set a schedule to eat energy chews or gels every hour, which we were doing well with until we reached Trail Crest. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen but we couldn't get ourselves to eat after that. On the way back down, I crashed hard at around Trail Crest. Finally forced myself to eat some energy chews and within 10 minutes I was feeling a lot more energetic. We had Clif Bloks with caffeine and Honey Badger Gingsting gels which were both lifesavers.

hard ...but amazing

First summited on my 60th birthday, as a dayhike. 22 hours, exhausted but no blisters or other injuries. Made it my annual thing. 2 nights at the portal campground, short hikes to Lone Pine Lake helps keep the altitude sickness at bay. Always an enjoyable trek, hope one day to score an overnight pass. Bucket list item. Beware the marmots!

Experience of a lifetime, thanks to all the people who encourage me to do this, Angel, Dan, Don and my wife. By far the hardest hike I’ve ever done
But we reached the summit, and I’m blessed beyond words

I finally summited this beautiful beast of a peak 9/22. Breathtakingly clear, beautiful weather. Got lucky on an unclaimed permit and ran through the gamut. Well worth the second attempt. From Outpost camp to summit and back - 16 miles, 13 hours. Hiked out the next day.

Go prepared though. If I can impart anything it is this: hope for the best but plan to cover your backside in case things go sideways. She’s popular but she is not safe. I watched someone get airlifted off the summit when he was caught up there with exhaustion and hypothermia. Take extra clothing, a water filter, extra food and electrolytes even if you’re day-hiking.

Wow what a beast. Beautiful. Raw. Unforgiving. Warrior creators. Memory of a lifetime.

Group of 7 of us hiked on Sep 15, 2018. Started on the trail at about 1:15am and spent about 21+ hours. It is a challenging hike, both up and down. But it is well marked and you will have your destination (hut at the summit) in sight for a majority of the hike. We encountered strong wind gusts all the way up which made it a bit more challenging. Break the hike into five sections and should be less taxing mentally, section 1: trail head to lone pine lake, section 2: lone pine lake to outpost camp, section 3: outpost camp to trail camp, section 4: trail camp to trail crest and section 5: trail crest to the summit. Section 4 with the 99 switchbacks and Section 5 with the windows were the most challenging parts of the hike. Hiking in the dark with headlamps was no issue.

All in all, an awesome hike and highly recommend it. Happy trails!

My wife and I won an overnight lottery. We camped at Trail Camp and reached the peak on September 21, 2018. Could not have asked for a better weather day. So stunningly beautiful! Definitely train for this hike.

I did this hike on September 19th 2018. started at 4:35 am and reached the peak at noon. It's an extremely beautiful hike with lots of streams down lower and several lakes! this is one you must train for and try your luck with the lottery!

hiking
1 month 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.

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

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.

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

Great spot to camp if splitting a Mount Whitney hike into more than a day. Beautiful lake and not as crowded as Trail Camp (but not as close to the MW summit of course.) Flat ground is a bit of a commodity close to the lake but we got there first and got a great flat spot with enough space for two tents.

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.

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