Mt. Whitney Trail


Mt. Whitney as seen from Alabama Hills

Mt. Whitney Trail climbs over 6,000 feet in 11 miles. When free of snow, it provides a strenuous, non-technical route to the summit of Mt. Whitney. However, for most of the year, the trail is covered by deep snow and ice. When snow and ice are present, additional skills and equipment may be necessary for safe travel. The Mountaineers Route, East Face and East Buttress, are accessed via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek Trail.

Mt. Whitney Trail Recreation Guide (pdf)

Quotas: From May1 to November 1, the number of people on the trail is limited by the follwing daily entry quotas:

  • Overnight hikers: 60/day
  • Day hikers in Mt. Whitney Zone: 100/day
  • Exit Quota: 25/day (applies to visitors who finish trips on the MW Trail, but begin elsewhere)

Wilderness Permits: Permits are required year-round for the ALL overnight hikers, and for day hikers in the Mt. Whitney Zone . Permits are issued ONLY at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center, located at the junction of US Highway 395 and State Route 136.

Reservations: Permits may be reserved at  Intially, permits are reserved in a lottery. Apply for the lottery between  February 1 and March 15. Lottery Information

After the lottery, remaining permits may be may be reserved on a first-come first-served basis beginning on April 1st.

Special Notice: A major reconstruction of Whitney Portal Road is planned for 2016. Expect delays of up to three hours. Parking will be limited, carpooling is recommended.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 23 May 2016: Intermittent snow between 10,000' and 12,000'. Most visitors are able to locate the trail. Significant snow above 12,000'. Crampons, ice axes are strongly recommended. Several minor and major injuries occurred recently due slides down icy slopes. Weather may include wind, snow and cold temperatures. Obtain a current weather forecast before visiting: www.
Closest Towns: Lone Pine, CA
Restroom: Pack out all human waste.
Information Center:

General Information


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 in an area known as "Whitney Portal".

Special Notice: A major reconstruction of the Whitney Portal Road is planned for 2016. Expect delays of up to three hours. Parking will be limited, carpooling recommended.

General Notes:

Pack out all trash and human waste.

Human waste pack-out kits are distributed with wilderness permits. Each year, Mt. Whitney visitors pack out almost 4 tons of human waste. More...

Store food and trash in bear-proof containers.

From Memorial Day weekend through October 31, all food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers. 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.

Searches and Rescues are managed by Inyo County Sheriff and   Inyo County SAR, a non-profit all volunteer organization.

Camp in established campsites.

Camp in established campsites OR on durable surfaces, such as snow, granite or sand and gravel. Established sites are scattered along the trail, and are concentrated around Lone Pine Lake, Outpost Camp and Trail Camp. These areas are located approximately 3, 4 and 6 miles from the trailhead.

Camping is prohibited:

  • At Mirror Lake

  • At Trailside Meadow

  • Within 25’ of the trail

  • Within 100’ of water

Seasonal Information 

Season descriptions are approximate. Conditions may vary considerably.

July to Mid-September: Relatively snow free. Severe thunderstorms are possible.

Mid-September through October: Shorter days and cooler weather. If storms occur, they may include wind, cold temperatures and snow. Patches of ice may form in some locations.

November through March: Snow accumulates. By March it may be up to several meters deep. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel.

April through June: Snowpack is receding. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel.


Limited parking is available at the trailhead. Please minimize the number of vehicles that your group uses.

Water and restrooms are available at the trailhead during the summer months.

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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

  • Reset Map
    Reset Map
Loading Icons...



Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking