White Mountain Peak Trail

HARD 50 reviews

White Mountain Peak Trail is a 11.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bishop, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.1 miles
2,657 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


mountain biking

rock climbing

trail running


wild flowers


From US Highway 395 in Big Pine, take Highway 168 north east. Drive approximately 15 miles and take a left on White Mountain Road. Drive north another 22 miles, passing the Ancient Brislecone Pine Forest until the road ends at a locked gate.

3 days ago

Very nice trail . Not as challenging but very good for acclinatizing and conditioning if you intend to hike other 14ers . The multi colored mountain and the 360 views are awesome. The bristlecone pine trees ... the oldest living thing in the world is found on the way up

10 days ago

The hike shown here is actually from Barcroft Station, not the locked gate where you will likely have to start. From the locked gate, it is actually seven miles each way for a total of 14 miles. If you wish to do the shorter hike from Barcroft Station, you must wait for one of the ‘Open Gate Days’. There are usually two open gate days each summer - one in July and one around Labor Day Weekend. And on these days, you can drive all the way to Barcroft for the shorter hike shown here. Check the Barcroft Station website (www.wmrs.edu) for the dates of these open gate days if you are interested.

Regardless, as you likely know, White Mountain Peak is the third highest peak and easiest 14er in California. Altitude aside, the trail itself is actually VERY easy. Much of it is quite level. And the relatively modest amount climbing that you DO do is fairly gentle. Furthermore, the Jeep Trail that you hike on is relatively easy terrain-wise. No outlandishly rough rocky trails or foot high stone steps here! The only challenge for some is going to be the fact that almost ALL of the trail is above 12000ft. This makes White Mountain Peak PERFECT for acclimation if you plan to climb other high stuff.

It seems like reviews of the scenic beauty of the area tend to be mixed. And that’s to be expected of an area like the White Mountains. Many people don’t like the area and/or consider it boring due to its lack of classic hiking features like deep forests, lakes, streams, and waterfalls. But others (like myself) LOVE this area for what it DOES offer. Lower down (while still driving), you have the Bristlecone Pines - the oldest trees known. Their wind-twisted forms simply add to the exotic appearance of the area. The stark, rather barren terrain and multicolored rocky peaks gives the area an otherworldly look. And when you combine this with the deep blue high altitude skies and sunshine that is brighter than ANYTHING you will see at sea level, this area just SCREAMS ‘La La Land’. Oh, and let’s not forget the SPECTACULAR views of the Eastern Sierra and surrounding countryside. These views only get better the higher you go.

If you come to the White Mountains, bring PLENTY of water. Unless you come early in the season and can melt snow, there is NONE in the area. Also, at these kinds of altitudes, it is generally always chilly. So bring a jacket any time of the year. You may not need it at times due to the strong sun, which can make it feel FAR warmer than it really is here. Speaking of the sun, also bring sunscreen. The sun up here at 12000+ft is BRUTAL compared to sea level, and will COOK unprotected skin in short order. Long sleeves and a hat or bandana can also help protect you from the sun.

14 days ago

As others have mentioned, the road to the trailhead is very rough, and getting a flat all the way up there would suck (plus it would cost a fortune). It took me about an hour and a half to get to the trailhead where I slept overnight. Sleeping overnight at elevation is essential to get acclimated. The trail from the closed gate is actually 14 miles, not 11.1. I got a bit of altitude sickness a bit at about the research station so I chilled at the station for about 20 minutes and then for another half hour at the observatory just a little ways further. I was fine after that with regard to altitude (that was after spending most of the last 4 days between 7k-12k elevation in Death Valley and Kings Canyon). The best way to prevent/combat altitude sickness is lots of water and snacking. There should be enough of your urine on that mountain for an entire weeks worth of German dungeon porn.

It was quite cold even late July, so I recommend hat and gloves for sure. Part of the trail was snowy and I got pretty bad sunburn on my face and lips from the reflection. I'm generally speaking in good shape - 29yo man, 155ln reasonably fit, and it took me 11 hours. 6am to about 5pm. I'm a slow hiker though, and take lots of breaks. Part of that is necessity but part of that is because everyone is running around like a goddamn chicken with their head cut off in the city, and then they come out here to nature where they keep running around like a goddamn chicken with its head cut off just the same, except this time in nature. You trying to make it back in time for a haircut appointment or something? Slow down, chill, and enjoy - you got nowhere to be.

This did a number on my knee and calves, coming back down. I could barely walk after I got the car and took a break. It may be the easiest 14er, but that doesn't mean it's easy!

1 month ago

Nice hike, if your in decent shape you can do it under 8 hours. The road driving up was more difficult than the hike. It was 100 degrees in big pine, but up top it was probably in the high 40s to low 50s. I would recommend wearing a jacket and try to get off the peak before noon. On the way up no wind, on the way back strong wind gusts. I started at 5:50am finished at 1:20pm.

2 months ago

my first 14er, and damn it feels so good, we slept in trail head just before the gate too acclimatize in12er, started the hike at 6:30, got to the top around 11:30, we took our time and steady and low phase since you gotta catch your breath in that elevation, its not hard if you phase yourself , not technical. if you have good endurance maybe this should be your first 14er peak to test your body's elevation reaction. its dry and no place to take shelter away from sun, so have good sun protection even when its cold, when the sun is out its gonna burn. We head back at 12 and got to the car at 4:30.
im not a pro so this numbers should be accurate for anyone that can walk for 10hourse. the last 20miles drive to get to the trailhead is brutal, its not paved and so many sharp stones, bumpy dirt road, if you are not with a 4*4 all weather tires make sure you have spares . Good luck :)

2 months ago

There is no such thing as an "easy" 14er. They are all difficult and have their own charm. Is this the least technical? Yes. Is this the shortest distance hike? Yes (14 miles round trip). Is it easy? No. Unlike other 14ers that start you off at lower elevation and you hike upward, the White Mountain hike starts off at 12,000 and ends at 14,000, the ENTIRE hike is at alpine elevation. Also, unlike other 14er's, White Mountain is EastEast Sierra, you can see Nevada from the top, you get views of two states and ancient can see the full expanse of the Sierra line. Incredible hike on so many levels. Start early, prepare for windy conditions, wear sunscreen, and name as many Marmots as you can.

scenic driving
2 months ago

May 26. Was hoping to camp overnight at the trailhead and then attempt the climb. Drove the scenic dirt road for about 10 miles before turning around. Hikers we passed had gotten through on road in their vehicle but said the peak is completely covered in snow and couldn't get past 13,500. The scenic drive alone was worth it.

5 months ago

Did this hike years ago. It was great to bag another CA 14er, but not nearly as scenic as the others. Also, there was still a lot of snow on the upper mountain that had a thin top crust, making it to where every step punched through. Twice the effort with every step. Would have been a lot easier without the snow. But even then, I'd have to say this is my least favorite 14er. Great view from the top of course, but pretty barren all the way up. It was cool seeing the bristlecone pine trees as we drove there. Overall a decent outing, but not sure I'd do it again.

9 months ago

This was an amazing hike. The drive to get there is a 4x4 road that will rattle you for 16 miles. Once at the trailhead the hike itself is not very technical, but still very challenging. The altitude will sneak up on you, so be careful and hydrate up. Highly recommended to those who are looking to bag their first 14er.

10 months ago

The 11.3 mile route shown here starts from the UC Barcroft Station research center. You will need to park further down at the gate (1.85 miles from the station). Awesome views of the Eastern Sierra.

11 months ago

8/25/17. The trail from the gate is 14 miles round trip, with hiking above the treeline making for an exposed hike to the summit. Easy to follow, and great to summit a 14er. We came back down in the evening and saw a herd of about 30 big horned sheep. Took us about an hour to drive the 18 miles of dirt road each way, but wasn't too bad.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Generally considered the easiest California 14er to summit as it's pretty much a dirt/rock road to the top. Hiking in the open all above tree line and in a pretty dry mountain range so it's quite barren. Really nice views of the High Sierra from the trail and the summit. Lots of dirt road to get to the trailhead though.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Very quite trail. I didn't see anything but marmots on the trail. That 19 miles chunk of unmaintained road is horrible, take a high clearance vehicle. My little VW is going to rattle for life after that drive. Btw no cell service in that area. My stats, total distance from car parking lot and back, 24 km, 1000 m elevation gain, it took me five hour and 30 mins to complete.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

This hike is closer to 15 miles, its about 7.5 miles to the summit. Awesome hike in preparation for Mount Whitney!

Friday, June 23, 2017

When is the best month to hike there when it's not too hot? I'm from NC

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Accurate reviews here. A note if you're not overnighting. The dirt road in is 16 miles. While well maintained, it is of the rough, sharp rock variety. I was in a Versa and it took me 1.5 hours @ 10 MPH. Larger trucks should fare better. punctured tires suck hard in the middle of nowhere!
The hike is calculated at 11.1, but I believe it's closer to 14. 8.5 hour hike for me...and I'm in decent shape. 5.5 up, .5 chill at summit, 2.5 down. Final ascent is a killer at such high altitude. But I will say it's wholly worth the effort. Spectacular 360 views! Bring LOTS of water. 6 lt per person recommended. And bring hiking poles for sure if you have 'em. Final ascent is all talus !

Lots of luck....and if you're well-supplied don't turn back unless altitude sickness sets in.

Friday, July 15, 2016

First fourteener!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Great Hike, my first 14er!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Spectacular views and a great place to sign in at the top

Thursday, October 08, 2015

We camped overnight at the gate and pushed our bikes up the first two miles to the research station. Stronger riders could have ridden the whole way. From the research station we hiked to the peak. The land is barren but beautiful. The altitude makes the hike harder than it looks.

This is a good training hike for Mt. Whitney. It is also just a great hike period.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A great hike.

Monday, March 31, 2014

This is definitely a great trek for acclimatizing for Whitney. Although the trailhead starts at 12,000 feet, and the trail is extremely well paved, the series of switchbacks is tough. There is a small stone structure at the summit of the third highest Fourteener (14, 246 ft) in California.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wow...no reviews yet? This is the third highest peak in Continental U.S, and probably one of the easiest to summit. it is only about 250 feet lower than Mount Whitney, which is ranked #1. With Whitney so close...it is easy to understand how this place can be overlooked.

The drive up to the trail-head is somewhat unremarkable. It is a long, but well maintained dirt road, that should be passable by most vehicles. Trees along the trail are sparse, and don't seem that interesting, until you realize that these bristle cone pine trees are the oldest living single organisms, some of which are roughly 5000 years old! You will quickly abandon the trees, as you continue to ascend above the tree-line.

At the trail-head, there is parking, and a bathroom structure. NOTE: There is NO running water at the trail-head. There is also a couple of fire rings, and open camping is available. This is a good place to camp at 12,000 feet, especially if you are considering a trip to Whitney, or a higher mountain.

The trail itself is actually a Jeep trail. it is 7 miles to the peak. There is a high altitude research station at about 2.5 miles into the hike The people manning the station were very gracious with their time, and were happy to give us an introduction into the work they were doing. They even offered to top off our water, but I wouldn't count on that assistance always being available. The elevation gain is quite modest, and there are a couple of saddle areas that drop elevation a bit before continuing to climb. The trail has some incredible views, and has a unique...somewhat alien quality. Even above the treeline (and in mid-July), wild flowers abound...and hundreds of marmots could be seen playing in the fields and the piles of boulders that almost appeared to be ancient monuments of long forgotten cultures.

Although the trail is on the "dry side" of the mountain...be prepared for rain or snow. It rained on us overnight, and the rain barely cleared in time for us to hike.

At the time of my hike, the summit was veiled in clouds. The goal of my hike was to acclimate for my climb up Whitney the following day. My hiking partner was also starting to suffer from altitude sickness. As such, i did not attempt to summit the mountain, and turned around about 5 miles into the hike. On the way back, as i went down the saddle and started back to the research station, I started feeling the effects of altitude sickness. Interestingly enough...Neither my climbing partner or I experienced the symptoms when we submitted Whitney a few days later.

I would be interested in returning for another turn on this mountain, either in preparation for another high altitude adventure, or with the goal of summiting this mountain. It also seems to be open to mountain biking a couple of times a year, which might be a very different but interesting challenge.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Did this as the driving route to hike White Mountain. Interesting trip past the ancient Bristlecone Pines.

1 day ago

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8 days ago

recorded White Mountain Peak Trail

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