An extremely difficult trail, Mount Whitney Trail is a hike that’s part of every hiker’s bucket list. The hike is located near Lone Pine, California, and is suitable for only experienced hikers. It’s a loop trail with a total distance of 36.1km and an elevation gain of 2,091m.
The mountain stands at 14,504 feet and is one of those few mountains that you can hike even if you don’t have much mountaineering skills. But, you still need to be an experienced hiker as there is a lot of work to do; otherwise, it could be a very bad experience.
The trail is well-maintained and throughout the hike, you are rewarded with some great scenery. To hike the trail, you need a wilderness permit. You can get a permit for day use or overnight. If you want to hike for one day, take the day-use permit, but if you want multi-night trips, take the overnight permit. There is also a limited quota, so you need to act early. We know, its a little effort, but the hike worth this effort.
Before you apply for the permit, you need to decide which route you want to take. There are several routes and each route has a specific permit. The best route in our view, especially for the first-timers is the Mount Whitney Trail from Whitney Portal.
You can find the trailhead at the Whitney Portal, just below the Whitney Portal Store. Begin the hike and move along the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. You will pass the lake at 2.6 miles. You will get to Bighorn Park at 3.4 miles; it’s a beautiful meadow with cliffs on both sides. At 3.7 miles, you will arrive at the Outpost Camp.
The landscape there is rocky and you have to climb through it to reach the Trail Camp at 6.2 miles. It’s a popular spot among hikers doing overnight trips. After the Trail Camp, there are 98 switchbacks that you have to climb to reach the Trail Crest. This part is exposed and you have to be careful there. The path is rocky and steep, but you can follow it easily. At 8.4 miles, you will reach the Trail Crest, which is also the highest trail pass in the country. From there you can see the amazing peaks in the Sequoia National Park.
You don’t have to climb much in the last part, but it might be a bit uncomfortable due to the high altitude. Just 2 miles from the junction and you will get to the top of Mount Whitney.