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Mount Whitney

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Mt. Whitney Ranger Station
Across from McDonald's on I-395
P.O. Box 8
Lone Pine, CA 93545
11 miles west of Lone Pine
14,494 feet feet


At 14,494 feet, Mount Whitney is the highest pinnacle in the lower 48 states and one of the most popular peaks to climb. Cresting the High Sierras in the Sierra Nevada range, Mount Whitney is one of the most noticeable landmarks of Sequoia National Park and the southern terminus for the almost 212-mile John Muir Trail that connects the park with Yosemite. Just 76 miles to the west is the lowest point in the United States, Death Valley.

Thousands of visitors hike Mount Whitney each year. The most popular route to the summit begins at the Whitney Portal near the town of Lone Pine. During the high season of July and August, expect crowds tromping along the trail. The Inyo National Forest has a set daily limit of 60 backpackers and 100 hikers during the high season between May and November, so make sure to get a permit ahead of time. Other trails, like the High Sierra Trail, are less well-trod, but require a much longer trek, about 10 days as compared to the 1 day it takes from the Whitney Portal.

Rock climbers and mountaineers can also take a crack at some of Mount Whitney's most climable routes. The Mountaineers Route is a classic, class 3 while even the most difficult stretches of the East Face are only a 5.4. Expect 2 to 3 days to climb Mount Whitney. Through spring and even into early summer, climbers should bring ice axes and crampons. Just as with hiking, the peak climbing season is July and August. Permits are required, so plan ahead because it can be difficult to receive the necessary permit during the high season.

Tour Companies

Peak season is July and August, but permits are required from May through November.
Basic Directions
From Lone Pine, head north on S. Main St./US--395 towards Whitney Portal Road. Turn left at Whitney Portal Road. Turn left again at Campground Rd.
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