Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail

HARD 176 reviews
#1 of 94 trails in

Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail is a 18.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

18.1 miles 6978 feet Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

ice climbing

nature trips

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

walking

cross country skiing

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

This the big daddy, an 18 mile out-and-back trek that summits Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The trail averages 550' of elevation gain per mile and features two designated campsites along the way, the generally uncrowded Outpost Camp (10,360'), which is situated in a nicely sheltered meadow beside some running streams, and the much more popular Trail Camp (12,039'), an exposed, rocky field at the base of the infamous "97 switchbacks." At 6 miles from the trailhead and the highest possible place to camp, Trail Camp is considered the best site to acclimate to the altitude for overnight hikers. It is also popular to hike Mt. Whitney out-and-back in one day, but given the rigor and the length of the trail, a very early start from about 2-4am is recommended, as well as some prior training. From May-Oct., the trail is permit-only (apply by Feb. 15), and it is common to be denied a permit the first year one applies. Dogs are actually allowed on this trail up to Trail Crest (13,777'), but they may not be your best friend after the 97 switchbacks! Hiking poles are strongly recommended, as are multiple layers with at least one being wind- and waterproof, and definitely be prepared to purify or filter water along the way. The hike is strenuous, long, and the effects of the altitude can become intense, but the rewards are a panoramic, jaw-dropping view that stretches as far as the eye can see, as well as the joy of having achieved a true hiking milestone. As far as trails go in the lower 48, this is the ultimate natural high. Note: Dogs on leash are only allowed until the top of the 97 switchbacks, 2.5 mi from the summit.

hiking
3 days ago

Our permit is for June 21st, Text 6267120941 if you want to hike up together.

hiking
4 days ago

My permit for Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail is for June 19th, 2017. Text me 989-980-1775 if you want to hike this together.. Matt

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

This was our second attempt at summiting Mt. Whitney. The first was in July 2012, and we turned around at 2nd camp.
This time, we started on Oct 2, 2016. Weather was much, much colder and with high winds. We camped at Outpost Camp (10,000 ft.) The hike to 2nd camp seemed much longer than I had remembered. By the time we got to the last 3 miles of trail before the Summit, winds were so cold and so strong, I had to wear a neoprene face mask. I almost gave up a mile below summit, but my wife pushed me forward; I'm so glad she did!
Temperatures were supposed to drop to 18° that night. On the way back down, the water in my Nalgene bottles was beginning to freeze. There was a sheet of ice under the lid which I had to break through with the handle of my hiking pole in order to drink.
This was a long and grueling hike, yet very rewarding. I would not recommend it to the faint of heart at this time of year.

3 months ago

4 months ago

I'm planning to do this magnificent tour to Mt. Whitney this summer with my friend... But we failed to get permit for this, and this site says this... "For day hikes you can self register at the trailhead sign in station." Anyone please let me know if we can hike for just one day, can we still just do "self register" at the station?

4 months ago

4 months ago

Hard but fulfilling

5 months ago

amazing views from the top climbed to the top when I hiked the PCT July 2016

hiking
5 months ago

What a beautiful hike! I did this one on October 6th. The rangers warned of high wind and snow, but it was actually low wind and 60 degrees/sunny when I got to the top! So pretty. Views on views on views.

I did the single day hike and it was very obtainable. If you are in good shape, you will be able to day hike it no problem. I started at about 8am, hit summit around noon, and was down just after 3.

~7 hours total. I'm pretty fast, but not a racer.

Again, so pretty. Definitely do this one! I bet everyone who complained about it being super hard wasn't prepared - I saw a lot of that on the trail.

Check out my photos of the trip on Instagram: ahaler1

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Loved every minute of our 1 day hike. Toughest at 12,000 plus. Up there for a long time - 10 miles out of the 22. Must be prepared. Best part was starting at 3:30 am. So surreal.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike! Like others have said, train up if you plan on making this a day hike and start very early. Amazing views throughout!

hiking
5 months ago

An Amazing Adventure and Challenge! - Mt Whitney was just "off my radar" for a long time, as I traveled the world, produced my art and did other adventures. When I discovered the tallest mountain in the U.S. was less than 4 hours drive from me, it quickly became on obsession.

There it was... just sitting there, being all tall... just asking to be climbed!

- We passed on getting more acclimated to the altitude and opted for a mellow first night camping at Lake Dias. Next morning hiked only 3.5 miles up to Outpost Camp. Again passing on more acclimation... but mostly passing on more cold. Up at 4 am to hike the remaining 7.5 miles to the summit, where we hung out awhile then hiked all the way back down to the trail head.

My usual curiosity kicked in and I wanted to know if "99 Switchbacks" was just a colorful, term to describe a hell'a lot of switchbacks?...

So, I counted. I may have lost track a bit but when they ended, I was at exactly 99! I'm sure the Park Service knows the count, as they maintain them. We did 18.5 miles in a day! Averaging one mile an hour on the way up.

For everyone preparing for the first time... all the basic advice you read is the real deal. GET ACCLIMATED, GET IN SHAPE. Know the Weather, Permits, Pack Light, Stay Warm and Prepare in general. Diamox can help a bit for Acclimation but is not a substitute for Endurance Training.

5 months ago

I did the day hike and it's quite the accomplishment to go in one day. Not a relaxing hike at all it's very physical and mentally challenging. I am glad I did this once but will probably never do this hike again.

hiking
6 months ago

backpacking
6 months ago

backpacking
6 months ago

My brother and I hiked to the summit of Mount Whitney in September 2016 as a two-day backpacking trip. The description here is slightly off. The actual distance is 22 miles round-trip from Whitney Portal. I'll try to break up my description of the trail into sections:

Section 1 (Trailhead-to-John-Muir-Wilderness): There is a small general store at the trailhead, but since it is the only option in the area, the prices are outrageous. Plan ahead, and avoid purchasing anything at the general store. The first mile of the trail is a gradual incline. When you reach a sign stating that you're now entering the John Muir Wilderness, you've completed the first mile.

Section 2 (John-Muir-Wilderness-to-Mirror-Lake): After the first mile of gradual incline, you'll hit your first set of switchbacks. These switchbacks will continue for nearly three miles, to a meadow just outside Outpost Camp. Another short set of switchbacks will pick up right after Outpost Camp and will take you to Mirror Lake, about a third of a mile away. Mirror Lake is roughly halfway to the other two campsites, Consultation Lake and Trail Camp, so it's a good place to stop and rest before pushing on.

Section 3 (Mirror-Lake-to-Trail-Camp): After Mirror Lake is another set of switchbacks, these ones ascending a series of ridges overlooking Mirror Lake, Lone Pine Lake, and the meadow outside Outpost Camp. Once the switchbacks end, you'll see a large lake on your left. This is Consultation Lake. Trail Camp is just another quarter-mile ahead.

If you want quiet and serenity, find a place to camp at Consultation Lake and avoid Trail Camp. Trail Camp is busy, and people will be coming and going at all hours of day and night.

Section 4 (Trail-Camp-to-Summit): From Trail Camp, it's four miles to the summit. The first two miles are up a series of 99 switchbacks, so get some rest, drink some water, have something to eat, and get ready. Once you crest the saddle at the top of the switchbacks, you'll be rewarded with an awesome view of the east side of Sequoia National Park and King's Canyon National Park. You'll drop down a bit in elevation, swing around the west side of the summit, and then ascend from the west. I actually thought the last two miles were tougher than the switchbacks, but that might have been on account of the elevation and sun exposure.

Once you hit the summit - CONGRATULATIONS! You're standing at the highest point in the contiguous 48 states.