COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Trail Run Project Logo

Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail



20.5 mile 33.0 kilometer out and back
70% Runnable


Ascent: 6,404' 1,952 m
Descent: -6,405' -1,952 m
High: 14,433' 4,399 m
Low: 8,367' 2,550 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Miguel Vieira

A popular, strenuous journey to the highest peak in the contiguous United States. A must-do.

Miguel Vieira

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers

Wilderness permits are always required for this trail, and between May 1 and November 1, a quota permits only 60 overnight users and 100 day users per day:…


This well-maintained route that leads to a rewarding summit with incredible scenery is well worth the effort of acquiring a permit.

Need to Know

The Whitney Portal Store at the trailhead serves good pancakes and burgers.


At Whitney Portal, find the trailhead for the Mount Whitney Trail located below the Whitney Portal Store. Climb along the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek along several long switchbacks. Pass Lone Pine Lake at 2.8 miles.

At 3.5 miles you'll reach Bighorn Park, a scenic meadow with granite cliffs on both sides. A short while later is Outpost Camp at 3.8 miles.

Continue climbing through the increasingly rocky landscape to Trail Camp at 6.3 miles. Trail Camp is popular with Whitney climbers doing overnight trips.

Past Trail Camp are the infamous 99 switchbacks that climb the granite slope to Trail Crest, at 8.5 miles and 13,645 feet - the highest trail pass in the United States. You'll get your first views west of the mountains, and they are spectacular.

Make the short jaunt to the junction with the John Muir Trail. From there it's a relatively level - but high-elevation - 2 mile run to the summit along granite slabs. "Windows" through the granite spires on your right provide dramatic views toward Owens Valley.

Expect a round-trip day on the trail to take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours.

During peak season the trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. From early summer on, the mountain clears of snow and ice and reaching the summit via the trail requires no mountaineering or winter gear.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background


Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In


Sep 10, 2017
Jay Salazar
Sep 1, 2017
Chris Leonetti
Pretty cold, eh?
Aug 11, 2016
Robert Harder
Killer alt sickness above 12,000 but just pushed thru it. 24mi — 17h 00m

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 41 votes


  4.9 from 41 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


in California


192 Views Last Month
9,727 Since Dec 31, 2016



View west from Mount Whitney Trail
Sep 14, 2015 near Lone Pine, CA
Daybreak looking down on Trail Camp from the middle of the 99 switchbacks. Can you find the tents?
May 2, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA
09/11/2018 Trail Crest looking west towards Hitchcock Lakes and Sequoia.  Cloudless day and only a breeze.
Sep 28, 2018 near Lone Pine, CA
Suns coming up!  Whitney Trail 6:30am
Sep 28, 2018 near Lone Pine, CA
Just above Outpost Camp Jul 31, 2019
Mar 2, 2020 near Lone Pine, CA
Day breaks four hours from the start on the Mount Whitney Trail.
Jan 9, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running