Mt. Whitney Trail


Mt. Whitney as seen from Alabama Hills

/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5130080.pdfThe Mt. Whitney Trail climbs over 6,000 feet in elevation over 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.

Wilderness 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.

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

Reserve Wilderness Permits for the quota season in advance at . Initially, reservations are allocated in a lottery. Apply for the lottery at between February 1 and March 15. After the lottery, if any permits are still available, they may be may be reserved on a first-come first-served basis at .

Fees: Wilderness permits are free. Reservations cost $15/person + $8/group.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 7 June 2015: No snow below Trail Camp (12,000 ft., mile 6). Mostly snow free above Trail Camp. However, there are lingering pathes of snow on switchbacks and on west side. Depending on weather and time of day, conditions may be icy. Crampons and ice axes are recommended. Weather: .
  • Wilderness Permits: Free
  • Reservations: $8 per group + $15 per group member
Closest Towns: Lone Pine, CA
Water: Above 12,000 ft little or no water is available.
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 at Whitney Portal.

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.


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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

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Day Hiking