The North Fork Lone Pine Creek Trail is in the John Muir Wilderness. The trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. It provides access to Mt. Whitney's Mountaineers Route, East Face and East Buttress, as well as to Mt. Russell's Fish Hook Arête and East Ridge . The trail ends at Iceberg Lake, at an elevation of about 12,600 feet.
Wilderness permits are required for day trips in the Mt. Whitney Zone and for overnight trips in the John Muir Wilderness and/or Sequoia National Park.
May 1 through October 31, use is limited by daily entry quotas:
Obtain permits at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center, located 1 mile south of Lone Pine, CA, at the junction of Highway 395 and State Route 136. During quota season, permits are available during business hours. Outside of quota season, after business hous, permits may be self-issued at the kiosk along the highway outside the visitor center.
Permits for the quota season may be reserved in advance. Reservations cost $15/person + $6/group.
Overnight permits may be reserved up to six months in advance at recreation.gov.
Day use permits for the Mt. Whitney Zone may be reserved during an on-line "lottery". Apply for the lottery between February 1 and March 15 at recreation.gov. After the lottery, beginning on May 1, remaining day use permits may be reserved on a first come first served basis at recreation.gov .
At a Glance
Parking is available at the trailhead. Please minimize the number of vehicles that your group uses.
There is a high level of bear activity at the trailhead. Remove all food and trash from vehicles and place in bear-proof lockers and trash receptacles.
Dispose of waste properly.
At Mt. Whitney, the only acceptable way to dispose of human waste is to pack it out. There are simply too many visitors in the area to use other common waste disposal methods. Human waste pack-out kits are distributed with wilderness permits. In 2012, Mt. Whitney visitors pack out about 3.5 tons of human waste.
Store food and trash in bear-proof containers.
From Memorial Day weekend through October 31, all food, food related trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers OR counter balanced from a tree, at least 15 feet above the ground and 10 feet horizontally from the trunk. Counter balancing is difficult, and there are no suitable trees above Lower Boy Scout Lake. More...
Safety Is Your Responsibility!
Before visiting, develop a plan for dealing with emergencies. Travel with your group at all times. Report emergencies to Inyo County Sheriff at (760)878-0383. It may take up to several days for help to arrive.
Searches and Rescues are managed by Inyo County Sheriff and Inyo County SAR, a non-profit volunteer organization.
Camp in established campsites.
Camp in established campsites OR on durable surfaces, such as snow, granite or barren sand and gravel. Established campsites are are scattered along the trail, and are concentrated in the following areas: Lower Boy Scout Lake Lake, Upper Scout Lake and Iceberg Lake.
Camping is prohibited:
Within 25’ of the trail
Within 100’ of water
From Lone Pine, CA, travel 13 miles west on Whitney Portal Road. The Mt. Whitney trailhead is located on the north side of the road at Whitney Portal. Walk approximately 1 mile up the Mt. Whitney Trail, to North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. The North Fork trail begins at the creek crossing.