Explore the most popular rock climbing trails near Bishop with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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!

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.

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike and great time. Enjoyed the lake. It’s bloody difficult—uphill all the way. The rock trail was a bit difficult to follow due to some weather effects, but there’s plenty of fun ways up. I personally enjoyed scaling up the larger rocks.

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.

My first Sierra backpacking trip with a Boy Scout group. The hike is quite strenuous, and the elevation makes it more so. The views are amazing, and the fishing is quite good (I didn't fish, but most of the other hikers did).

There is plenty of water, but make sure you bring a way to purify it.

Also, bring a mosquito net, as they are EVERYWHERE. Worst of all, they did not seem to get the memo that you should not bite someone who wears bug repellent. If anything, it seemed to attract them even more!

What a great day hike, with tons of spectacular views the entire way. We thought this hike started moderate and towards the switchback end was definitely hard. We had our 9 year old and she lasted about 70% of the way, then went back to Lake Sabrina.

Definitely not for kids who are not used to altitude and moderate/hard hiking. Make sure you take lots of water and start early. That sun on the first half was intense!

Absolutely beautiful! Blue lake is crystal clear and surrounded by amazing peaks. Puppy dog had fun chasing squirrels too!

backpacking
1 month ago

Awesome hike! I took my time in this and spent two nights with my dog 6/15-6/17. The first day really kicked my butt (I blame the altitude). But after getting rest, I really got to enjoy the scenery, waterfalls, (unfrozen) lakes - although I’d note that night time still reached freezing temps. I’d definitely recommend his time of year to go.

hiking
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 :)

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.

Trail was in good condition with one or two sections still covered by a few feet of snow as you climb toward the plateau. Nothing impassible, although, it was a bit hard to follow at times. We camped on the southern end of the lake.

There were quite a few other hikers passing through over the course of the afternoon, including one couple who decided to setup their tent 20 yards from us. Thank you for that. For a more secluded experience push past Blue Lake to anyone of the other countless lakes tucked away in the John Muir Wilderness. The trails beyond will open up in the coming month or so.

This was a fun afternoon hike. It was closer to 6 miles from the Marina parking lot. Lots of water and some small snow crossing.

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.

Hit Piute Pass trail 5/5 - 5/6, with the trail being mostly covered in snow still. Lock Leven and Piute lake being frozen over was surreal. Picture perfect views from the pass of a winter wonderland. Stayed the night for an amazing sunrise. Definitely will coming back, after the spring melt.

camped at blue lake last night it got 1-2 feet of snow overnight so be prepared. with prior accumulation there were some waist deep sections and snow shoes would help

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.

Hiked this trail 4 days ago - absolutely beautiful! Blue lake is frozen over, the area made a gorgeous campsite. There is a lot of snow up at that elevation, and several patches of ice on the trail leading up.

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.

this is one of my favorite day hikes it's just absolutely gorgeous there and such a rewarding hike

The trail starts off at a slight incline and then you'll pass through a section of aspen trees mixed with boulders which makes the landscape look absolutely beautiful! I hiked this trail in the beginning of October and the golden aspens mixed with the gray boulders was breathtaking. You'll pass by 2 waterfalls and then the switchbacks to get over the ridge. Let me tell you, after all those switchbacks, the views of blue lake blew my mind! Absolutely worth it. My intention was to do this as a day hike, but really, I should have spent a few nights here. Well, there's always a next time.

hiking
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.

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.

Beautiful!

hiking
11 months ago

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.

Best short hike I've done in a long time! The scenery is amazing

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.

hiking
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!

backpacking
Monday, July 24, 2017

Did this over 7/19-7/21 and couldn't ask for better conditions. Wildflowers were exploding, Pass itself was challenging with snow bridges and multiple water crossings but no specialized equipment or skills beyond awareness needed. Brook, Golden and Rainbows were biting on every cast from Muriel, Summit, Upper and Lower Golden Trout Lakes. Would revise difficulty level to hard due to length and elevation gains but will do this trip again in a heartbeat.

hiking
Saturday, July 22, 2017

The water crossings were manageable, and the mosquitoes were out in force in the lower portions as well as some of the upper forested portions where patches of snow were present. Found a nice place for a picnic on a granite ledge overlooking Sabrina. The views are incredible. The one mistake we made was doing this hike the same day we drove up from OC... the altitude and our road fatigue definitely made it more challenging, but not in a good way. Overall a great trail and the sight of Blue Lake was a nice reward. Will do it again

Load More