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A beautiful area that is easy to navigate. Bugs are minimal at this time and the smoke from the fires was not in the valley the two nights we were there. Although we did have smoke haze on the 395 getting there. Afternoon thunderstorms gave us a variety of weather but nothing too major. Love coming here!

This trail is intense! Basically uphill the entire time, and at a pretty decent pitch. There is a creek crossing about 1.5 miles in- bring your water shoes. The water is about thigh deep, but definitely crossable this time of year. Smaller dogs should be carried or guided across with a leash and harness as they could be swept away. My 60 lb dog made it across with no issues... Once you get passed the switchbacks you come to Willow Lake, a nice lunch spot but that's about it. Lake Brainerd is a medium sized lake with beautiful water and surroundings and nice camping spots. Well worth the hike!

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
1 day 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.

great hike and excellent fishing. snow in the spring and multple water falls.

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

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!!

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!

Start at South Lake to Long Lake to get aclimated. Very scenic hike with spectacular views of lakes at every turn. Trail is well defined all the way to Bishop Pass. Need to be prepared and have pleanty of water/snacks to fuel up for the last mile of switchbacks up. Strongly recommend water filtration system to refill water on the way down.

Decent amount of parking. Was warm but not too hot. Trails aren't marked too well but is easy to follow. A few spots to fill up on water on the way up. Lots of amazing views all around.

One of the best day trail hikes in eastern Sierra

Beautiful hike! The trail is nice in that it has some switch backs that are spread throughout some meandering paths. Lots of water with at least one waterfall and stunning views of Sabrina.

Definitely need to stay hydrated - even though much of the hike is in the trees it is draining. Blue Lake is over 10,000 feet, so be careful if you are not ready for the altitude.

TLDR: Incredible hike. Train hard. Pay attention to the weather!

Summited Whitney as a day hike on my first attempt. I had been following the weather very closely and chose to hit the trail at 3:30am in order to summit before the thunderstorms began firing off. The climb up took about 6:15 moving time. I got to spend about 30 minutes at the summit and standing on top that mountain it was an incredible feeling. The storms started building and I ended up making back to Trail Crest before the first crack of thunder. It poured (and hailed) all the way back to Lone Pine Lake. I mention all this because I watched ALOT of Whitney attempts get ruined due to the weather. TRAIN HARD so you can summit quickly and watch the weather closely...

Some things to consider. Water is very plentiful all the way to Trail Crest. It is unlikely you will need to carry a ton of water so long as you have your filter. This will allow you to drop several pounds from your pack.

Though the trail looks technical in pictures and video, its actually pretty tame all the way to the ridgeline. There is a tiny bit of scrambling here and there past Trail Crest.

When the trail narrows, its still plenty wide. Don't let those Go Pro lenses on YouTube fool you.

If you are a SoCal hiker, then I highly recommend a few local hikes to use for training. San Gorgonio via Momyer or Vivian Creek, San Jacinto via Deer Creek or Skyline Trail and Baldy via Bear Canyon combine with Three T's Trail. These trails will help build your legs and bolster your cardiovascular endurance. When these trails become somewhat easy, you're ready for a Whitney attempt. Why would I recommend a few trails more difficult in terms of gain and why wait until they're easy? It just goes back to training hard so can have a successful summit. Why waste the time, effort and money for the permit, plus the money to get there and spend the night only to neglect the body that's going to get you there? Safe travels!

If you're attempting a Whitney summit, this would be a good way to get up to 10k ft a day or two prior. Very scenic and not technical at all. It's also a good way to check out the first few miles of Mount Whitney Trail since you'll probably be night hiking this for your attempt if its summer time. Lone Pine Lake at the top is very picturesque.

If you're not a avid and fit hiker and/or are not accustomed to hiking to 10000ft, you may find this hike difficult just due to grade and elevation. That said, this trail would be a nice way to get your feet wet. I'd say give it a shot. If you don't feel right for whatever reason, just turn back.

I also tried this trail July 15. Gorgeous first part. No one on it. But then after 1.75 miles, you come to the raging South Fork of the creek. You can’t cross, so don’t even try.

Very nice hike! This is our 2nd time and it was just as pretty as the first. There is a lot of smoke in the area due to the Lions fire but there was none on this hike, which was a real plus. The first mile is some work and the switchbacks leading to the top of the pass are challenging but doable. Go on this one, you won’t be disappointed!

hiking
11 days ago

Amazing. AMAZING. Moderately tough hike but not overly difficult. Adjusting to the elevation is probably what makes it hard. Started hike a little after 7am and reached the first and second Lakes around 9:15. The first and second lake are right next to each other. We decided to head back after that and only took us one hour to get down to the trailhead. Pretty quick hike but on the way up we had a steady pace. I recommend starting early (needless to say). It makes going up through the switchbacks way easier when the sun isn’t beating down on you. Weather was perfect. Great visibility for us, however, on the way down smoke from the Ferguson fire was blowing through. 100% recommend this hike :)))) absolutely breathtaking.

Jaw dropping trail. One of the bests I have ever done, but I would start the loop counter clockwise, as to know, from the black lake first, this way the scenery is going to keep been better and better every time as my favourite lakes where the 1st and 2nd lakes.

Amazing hike, not much people and gorgeous scenery. One of the bests I made!!

hiking
13 days ago

Went on this hike this past weekend with a few friends and my dog, and the views were just breath taking. I must say this hike was a bit challenging at the beginning and the end, but it is totally worth it. You pass by quite a few lakes and creeks, which could be great for some fishing. We even got to see some deer on our hike up there as well as some beautiful trees and flowers. In total with all the turn-offs we did to see the lakes we hiked 10.6 miles. Make sure if you do go on this hike to start as early as possible and pack lots of water and food!

hiking
14 days ago

Great day hike. We walked to the trailhead while camping in Coldwater Creek Campground. Partially shaded for the first half of the hike. The switchbacks over the pass to get to Duck Lake is hard, but definitely worth it for the views of Pika and Duck lakes. Although those switchbacks are tough, I would highly recommend this day hike. Bring some snacks/food and be sure to have enough water.

on Tyee Lakes Trail

backpacking
14 days ago

Tough hike with heavy packs due to steep elevation climb (2k gain in under 3 miles), seems to be much more enjoyable when just day hiking. took us 5.5 hrs to get to the 3rd lake due to our pack loads. once arrived we found the perfect camp site close to a good moving stream that connects all the lakes. good fishing, brown and rainbow trout. dog friendly area, not much foot traffic, limited camp sites which in turn means not too many people should you be looking for a place of solitude. mosquitos were not bad at all as long as you bring a good bug spray (we used deet free bug repellent and had no problems). second day we ventured to the 4th lake and went swimming and fishing.....was too tired to try lake number 5. this is a must backpacking trip with lots of scenery and wildlife.

on Tyee Lakes Trail

14 days ago

Tough hike with heavy packs but seems to be much more enjoyable as a day hike. Took us 5.5 hours to get to the 3rd lake due to our loads. Once arrived we found the perfect camp site close to a good moving stream which provided our water source for the duration of our stay. Good fishing, rainbow and brown trout. Dog friendly area and lots of day hikers with dogs. Mosquitos weren’t as bad as I was led to believe. Bring a good bug Spray and you’ll be fine.

A beautiful hike that rewards you with solitude at Kearsarge lake. Whatever you do, don’t stop at the pass. Keep going until you reach the lake. It’s definitely worth it!

Great challenging hike, finished today! Very hot and lots of mosquitoes.....however beautiful hike with a creek accessible much of the way for water after purifying of course. We started at rainbow falls and swam for a few hours before beginning our trek. The switchbacks are steep and challenging yet short lived.

Myself and 2 buddies did this hike all for the first time. We left the trailhead at 3:45am. Each of us carried two liters of water to Trail Camp, where we filtered water and carried 3 liters up to the summit as this is the final place for reliable water. We made the summit at 11am with beautiful blue skies and a few big, white puffy clouds. After 45 minutes at the summit for lunch and pics, we headed down with overcast skies and drizzles. Afternoon thunderstorms are no joke up there - moved in way fast. We took our sweet time coming down and made it down in just under 6 hours. Absolutely epic hike! Highly recommend layering up, carrying trekking poles, and wearing lots of sunscreen.

Trip Report 7/28- 1st timer
Such an epic hike. Slept in the car the night before. (6pm -12:15am) Started at 12:45am - hiked up to Trail Camp in the dark and watched the sunrise as we were filtering our water. The hardest part for me was Trail Crest both up and down, each step on rocks is brutal. We reached the summit at 10:45am. I experienced minimal altitude sickness thank goodness! I started taking chlorophyll pills 2 days before and took chlorophyll and ibuprofen during the hike. I had a very very minor headache but I also related that to the heat.

Pack for a long day. Carry your 10 essential. Drink water often even if it’s just a sip every 15 mins. Nibble on food throughout the hike. Pack out your poop. Check the weather, as the weeks and day before we hiked there was thunderstorms and hail. The day before thunderstorms began at 4pm. 7/28 was the perfect day, clear all day. Only downside was very hazy I heard it was due to the fires nearby. The way down is brutal, it seemed never ending but I just pushed through the foot pain to get back to the trailhead. We finished at 6:30pm.

I did it!!! Much respect to everyone completing this hike.

An amazing but grueling hike! Completed 7.28. Started at about 1 am, lucked out with a full moon, and was able to hike in the moonlight for part of the night. Reached trail camp just in time to enjoy watching the sunrise. Then onward to summit. Parts of the trail were wet so had to watch your footing. No ice or snow on the trail but could see large patches off to the sides. Had amazing views at the peak, though could see some of the haze presumably from the Yosemite fires. Plenty of places to fill up on water, making me wish I hadn’t brought quite so much to weigh down my pack. Saw several Marmots, a deer, and a pika during the hike. Total time was about 18.5 hrs. This was a great experience!

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful hike in mid July. Quite heavily trafficked but did not detract from the beautiful nature. Worth hiking down to water level of Duck Lake and taking a dip if you don’t mind the cold mountain water! A great moderate hike. Will do it again.

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