“A popular, strenuous journey to the highest peak in the contiguous United States. A must-do.
— Miguel Vieira
Lake · Views · Wildflowers
This well-maintained route that leads to a rewarding summit with incredible scenery is well worth the effort of acquiring a permit.
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: fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/pas…
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.