Every hiker's bucket list includes a trip to Mt. Whitney. It's the highest point in the lower 48 at 14,505 feet, and it's one of those rare high peaks that you can trek to without any mountaineering abilities. There is some preparation to be done, such as obtaining your Mt. Whitney permit and dealing with the altitude. But otherwise, anyone can go there.
The mountain is actually made up of three separate peaks called North Peak, Middle Peak, and South Peak. They are all within easy hiking distance of each other, but because they rise so far above most everyone else, they offer completely different experiences. If you want to see deep colors, thin air, and rugged mountainsides, then head for North Peak. If you want to feel like you're the only person on earth, then go to South Peak. If you want to be inspired by what lies beyond Mt. Whitney, then go to Middle Peak.
All three peaks are part of the John Muir Trail, which runs from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney. The trail is used by experienced hikers who want to test their limits, as well as by people who are just looking for a good workout.
Mt. Whitney is located in California's Inyo National Forest. The closest town to the mountain is Lone Pine, which is about 90 miles away. There are several different ways to get there. You can drive, but this can take a lot out of you since the road is mostly uphill.
Hiking Mount Whitney, which has a 22.5-mile out-and-back trek with a 6,656-foot elevation rise, is on almost every hiker's bucket list. Although challenging, the experience is extremely gratifying, and the views from the peak are nothing short of amazing. The trail to the top of Mount Whitney passes through some of the most extreme environmental conditions in the United States: cold desert winds, huge boulders, and over 3,000 feet of drop-off to the ocean below.
The journey up the mountain can be broken down into three sections: about five miles along the John Muir Trail, more than 14 miles along the Crest Trail, and less than seven miles along the Southern Route.
Maximum time for the hike is seven hours each way. However, due to physical exertion and environmental conditions, many people do not make it to the top within that time frame. It is recommended to allow at least a full day to complete the hike.
Mt. Whitney is one of the highest peaks in the continental United States. The only other mountain that comes close is Alaska's McKinley Peak, which is also known as "the world's tallest plateau."
Mt. Whitney rises more than 14,000 feet above sea level and lies within California's national park system. The mountain is part of the Sierra Nevada range and is located near the city of Lone Pine.
If you intend to walk Mt. Whitney, you should be aware that the path is exceedingly challenging, especially if you try to do it in a single day (as many do). The track is 20 miles long with a total elevation increase of around 6,600 feet, which is a lot for most hikers who haven't trained properly.
The first 7 miles are relatively flat and have an average elevation gain of about 250 feet, but the last 13 miles have a much steeper average slope of over 15 percent and reach an elevation of 4,430 feet above sea level. This makes the trail very demanding and requires a high level of fitness.
However, those who push themselves too hard or who aren't prepared enough might find themselves turning back before reaching the top. The weather on Mount Whitney can change very quickly, so make sure you are well equipped with the right clothing and equipment. In fact, some people choose to climb this iconic landmark by helicopter instead of hiking up it!
Of course, the mountain is not only difficult to reach but also to stay on during its ascent. There are several narrow trails that branch off the main route, so make sure you don't get caught away from the main group. It's easy to get separated on Mount Whitney; therefore, take the time to stop and look around you periodically.
Finally, remember that Mount Whitney is a place of prayer and meditation.
Whitney Portal Boulevard. It's a short but breathtaking trip that takes you roughly halfway up Mount Whitney, which is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the western United States. With an elevation of 4.421m (14,505ft) above sea level, it is the highest summit in the contiguous United States. The road to the top is closed to cars during winter months due to heavy snowfall.
Mt. Whitney is known for its steep cliffs and unique alpine environment. There are several species of plants that only grow at such high elevations. Animals also have different behaviors here; for example, mice don't run away when they see a person coming!
Mount Whitney was first explored by Europeans in 1853 when members of the Donner Party camped near the peak. They named it because they believed they were close to the source of the Whitney River, which flows into California near Los Angeles.
In 1864, an army survey team led by Albert Bierstadt discovered the mountain while searching for a new location for the National Park Service. They named it after their commander, George Whitmore.
In 1890, an expedition led by Edward Whymper reached the top of Mount Whitney. They spent the night on top and returned the next day with supplies for another attempt to reach the top of the world. However, they were caught in a storm and eight people including five members of the expedition died.
Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous lower 48 states, sits at 14,494 feet and is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Despite the length of the path, the top is reachable by non-technical hiking. Whitney is California's most popular summit due to its vistas of the snowy range. The hike up takes about 5-7 days depending on how fast you climb.
Mount Adams in Washington state is the next highest mountain that is within driving distance of an airport with commercial service. It is also the highest mountain inside the United States that is not part of a national park or other federal land protection agency.
The third highest mountain in the lower 48 states is Guinnipahga (4,093 feet), which is located near Ely, Nevada. This mountain is part of the Great Basin Range and lies within Humboldt County, Nevada. Its isolation causes it to be less visited than its California and Washington state counterparts.
Four other mountains in the lower 48 states are over 4,000 feet high: Mt. McKinley (5,200 feet) in Alaska, Mt. Rainier (4,392 feet) in Washington State, Puncak Jaya (4,871 feet) in Indonesia, and Trango Mountain (4,611 feet) in Kyrgyzstan.