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Mount Whitney Trail

HARD 1404 reviews
#1 of 120 trails in

Mount Whitney Trail is a 22.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, ice climbing, and backpacking and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 22.5 miles Elevation Gain: 6,656 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

This is a long and strenuous 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 significant prior training for the long day. From May-Oct., the trail is permit-only (apply to the lottery by Feb. 15) and requests far exceed available permits. Alternatively, try the daily lottery at the Lone Pine ranger station for last minute openings. 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 (spend time acclimating before heading to the trail and be sure to eat / drink consistently throughout the day), 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 one for the books! Note: In Spring and into early Summer, expect snow and ice on the trail which can make for more technical conditions often requiring microspikes and potentially crampons and ice axes (with knowledge of how to use them.)

8 days ago

amazing hike, tough at altitude

backpacking
10 days ago

Did a 2 day, backpacked to outpost and hit the summit next day and back down to the trailhead. It was awesome but very tough. 99 switchbacks weren't too bad, but once I started the trek from trail crest to the peak it got real! The altitude hits you pretty hard, so take your time and bring enough food/water. Great experience.

hiking
12 days ago

Absolutely incredible experience, the mountain conditions allowed us to summit. Hike from Trail Camp under the stars to summit at night was surreal and beautiful. Anyone who’s looking for conditions and/info regarding this hike I’d encourage to join the Mt. Whitney Facebook group.

hiking
13 days ago

I am planning to climb Whitney during Thanksgiving week. Any suggestions and tips? Anybody else going to attempt it then? I would really like to break it up into 2 days. Is overnight camping at Trail Camp remotely a good idea during November?

hiking
15 days ago

If someone could update me on current trail conditions it owuld be much appreciated! Thanks!

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful 360 degree views. The trail from the start is well maintained and well graded. The trail can be difficult to follow in the dark at miles 3-5 if starting in the dark. There is plenty of water for refilling if necessary. The 99 switchbacks are manageable. At trail crest, the views are breathtaking as you get your first glimpse into sequoia national park. The backside of the needles are rocky, and the windows are intimidating, especially in high winds conditions, but doable. The approach to the hut and summit can be tricky to follow, but follow the most worn trails and it’s pretty easy. The weather on 10/27/19 was very cold and very windy, snow on descent. Good luck everyone.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
washed out
15 days ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
snow
16 days ago

Hiked on 10/28/19. Left at 4 am. There was fresh snow on the route from the night before. A light powder about 3 miles in that melted later in the day. There was more snow and ice on the 97 switchbacks. I used microspikes on the way down just to be safe. Some snow and ice along the trail behind the peaks by guitar lake; I used microspikes going to the summit at this part. You could do the trail without spikes if you wanted. The last lake had a thick layer of ice that required me to use a rock to smash a hole through the ice to filter water. Temps were 0-20 degrees F with 5-20 mph winds. I had two bottom layers and four on top, two pairs of gloves with hand warmers, and a hat and an ear band. My first Whitney summit and my second 14er. The road to the trailhead was clear of ice. The trail was very clean; the only trash I saw was one wag bag closer to the summit.

hiking
16 days ago

I did this trail as I completed the John Muir Trail in 2012. The final climb is amazing and rugged, as are the 360 degree views at the top. I enjoyed this mountain so much that I named my dog after it! :)

hiking
17 days ago

High winds, cold but overall a great hike! The view was worth the trek.

hiking
18 days ago

Amazing hike (day hike)! First time up, summited, and loved it! The 99 switchbacks (96 or however many, I stopped counting after 5) were really not that bad in my opinion. The cables were icy but easy to maneuver around. I popped in some music and that made it way better. I know many are against listening to music while hiking but not me, it helped me power through those things like a champ. Trail crest was incredible. The drop offs are intimidating for sure but the exposure overall on the backside (west side) was not as bad as I had anticipated. Be prepared to descend a bit and then come back up a bit for those last 2 miles. The last quarter mile was emotional for me, especially once the hut was in clear view, amazing! Going down was not bad on the switchback, I got behind some quick movers so I just followed their pace and we got down in less than 5 hours. I highly recommend. Even though I was jealous of the campers, the day hike was extremely rewarding and so worth the hustle and grind. A bit sore the next couple days, but I'm three days post and I miss my Mama Whitney so much. Thank you for a safe passage and safe return : )

hiking
18 days ago

I have 8 day hike permits available for October 30th. Any takers?

hiking
19 days ago

10-25-19 Awesome hike! Very challenging physically. You need to prepare for this one and know what you are doing, when to move on, when to turn around. There is a lot of exposure throughout, and you have to be sure-footed the entire way. This requires training, nutrition, and shake-down hikes. If you have not hiked a 12 hour day, do not attempt this. It is a mental game, and a physical one. You have to eat - eat - eat, and know what foods work for you on trail, and hydrate. Total time for our group was 18 hours. Trail conditions: Cold hike in the early hours (20s) ascending to trail camp. Some patchy ice that is easily avoidable at some stream crossings, most are free of ice. One section on 99 switchbacks with cables seems to have permanent ice. Also, one small section of snow to traverse just before summit at 14k feet. Not enough to require microspikes, so did not bring them. Worst parts of trail are the 2 miles before trail camp as the footing is very rocky and uneven (trim your toenails), and the last 2 miles from trail crest to summit. It is actually 2 miles (measured GPS), but the worst part of the trail for 3 reasons - you are tired, high altitude, and worst footing / scramble for parts. It is almost all exposed, so don't plan on doing it unless you have it mentally. Last pitch of 0.4 on summit ridge is fine though, the traverse is what is rough. We arrived two nights before (tuesday pm) and camped at Whitney portal, did small 6 mile acclimatization hike Wednesday up Meysan lakes trail which helped. Also did Gorgonio the Saturday before. I am a big guy so I burned 12K calories on the hike (15.5 hrs moving time), so plan to eat and eat and eat and hydrate. I would also highly recommend spending at least 2 nights at 8K if you live at sea level, 14508 is really intense even with some acclimatization. Started at 2am, made trail camp by sunrise, finished 830pm. 3 of 4 of us summitted, one had to turn around and go down with a friend at trail camp. Best of luck!

hiking
21 days ago

We have a group of 5 with 3 overnight permits for 10/23 and would appreciate anyone with extra permits contacting me to buy 2 extra overnight permits off of them. Thanks -Eric (818) 642 5730

hiking
21 days ago

I love Mt Whitney. she is beautiful and I want to go back again. In October, My hiking group & I camp 2 nights @ out posted. The weather was cold in mornings and in evenings, but was nice during the day. My experience at Mt Whitney was breathing taking. The 99 switchback wasn't as difficult I thought it would be. Maybe because all hard training I did before Whitney. I thought Trial Crest was a bit challenging and felt long. Finally, I conquered Mt Whitney. Hiking back to Out Posted took us long time, but we all made it back safely. I had any altitude sickness. I drank a lot of water/ electrolytes and ate plenty of snacks & took ibuprofen which was a big help.

hiking
27 days ago

10/13/19 me and my friend left the portal at 3:41 am, it is very cold in the morning so bring gloves and a headlamp obviously. Time flies going up it’s not that difficult until you hit the trail crest. You think you are close to the top, you aren’t. From there you traverse the back side of Whitney to the summit. The sign says it’s 1.9 miles to the top, it’s not. It’s around 3 miles. And you are above 4K Meters in elevation making a steady up climb. It’s where dreams go to die, and where people turn around. If you are feeling good- Go for the Summit. If not, turn around the mountain will always be there. AMS is no joke. Once I hit the summit I realized I had so much more to climb down. Bring Tylenol or Advil for the walk down unless you love pain. Beautiful hike, did lots of training but still was shocked at how long and brutal this mountain is. Water is abundant bring filters if you plan on filtering otherwise 3L was just the right amount of water. Coconut water tasted great up there also-

hiking
28 days ago

Completed round trip within 11 hours and 30 minutes on 10/12/2019. We started at 5:30 am from the Whitney Portal trail head and reached the summit by 12 noon. Stayed on the top for 1 hour and 45 minutes for lunch and pictures. Headed down at 1:45pm, and back to the trail head at 6:30 pm. I ran down the trail after past the 99 twists. It was good to challenge yourself. Probably will do it again.

hiking
29 days ago

We are hiking tomorrow 10/15 and need 2 trail passes for Mt Whitney either day or overnight. Anybody have 2 extra permits for tomorrow Tues 10/15? Arriving at Lone Pine today 10/14 at 12:30pm. George 916-420-6388 Thanks

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Did a 3 day backpacking trip with 2 nights at trail camp. Great scenery all the way up to the Whitney summit with no snow or ice on the trail except about 10 ft through a small snow field near the top. Didn’t use my micro spikes. They should call this the trail of hundreds of switch backs because it starts with switch backs from the start with the exception of a couple of hundred yards of flat trail along trail side meadow and camp post area and a gentle uphill to the summit the last 1.9 miles! Expect temps in the mid to low 20s if camping at trail camp. Many day hikers on the trail with a few not so smart ones half way up in the afternoon with no headlamps! Day hiking takes 14-16 hours and at this time of the year it gets dark from 7 pm until 6 am.

hiking
1 month ago

I completed this on October 13. I did the overnight and I'm glad I did as I don't think my body will have handled it well in one go (plus sleeping under a full moon is unavailable!)... This been said, its totally doable in one day. You just need to be in great condition and expect a hard extrenous day. A great challenge that I will happy to try in the future. Also! IMPORTANT this map has a short cut through consultation lake back to the trail - I camped there and it was amazing, so I decided to take the short cut when I packed by back on my way down... if you are not experience with climbing/scrambling DONT DO IT. it's all rocky and hard to follow. but if you are up for the challenge it's pretty cool.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

I finished it. Happy I did but 22 miles in a single day is not easy on the body. Drank 5L of water. Very windy and cold at the top today.

hiking
1 month ago

sumitted oct 7th in perfect weather conditions. departed 3.30AM, summited 10.30 and back at 4pm. brought 3 litrs of water, filtered 1lt on my way up at trail camp and 1 more ltr on my way down. drank nearly everything. Had a bit of headache climbing, took 1 pill to calm it down, otherwise no other altitude symptoms. I spent 1 hour at Whitney Portal the day before to explore the beginning of the trail, but did no other acclimatation and took no medic. I’m a confirmed trail runner and ran several ultras but this hike is mentally hard, especially the final part from trail crest to summit that seems endless . I wore trail shoes, merinos socks, standard jogging leggin, 3 layer system on upper body , thin hat and gloves, trail cap. it felt quite brutally colder passing outpost camp, this is where I put my 3rd layer and gloves. I also used a pair of over-gloves I sometimes use for skiing, I put them on at trail camp where it was a bit windy and removed them later on. I had brought several other gear in case of cold but didn’t use them. the summit temperature was perfect and I spent an hour there . gorgeous hike .no technical difficulties but very long .. You of course have to be fit and determined.

hiking
1 month ago

Had a great time, trail camp got cold at night time. Summit the next day and back to Portal, Great experience! 9/21 and 9/22

hiking
1 month ago

Probably the hardest thing I've ever done. The 99 switchbacks are brutal. The hike back was just as hard as up because I was so exhausted. Definitely go a few days early to acclimate. And my best advice is to get an overnight permit and camp on trail. I did the one day hike and it took me 16 hours. But it was worth it.

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