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Hikes Around Mt Whitney

Most people don’t just drive to Mt. Whitney, hike it and leave. A more common common scenario is to make a trip of a few days to Mt Whitney, maybe acclimatize, and enjoy the area. Even for those not hiking Mt Whitney, a trip through the I-395 and Eastern Sierra area is a fun place to explore and do some great hikes. Here are some hikes around Mt Whitney that you can enjoy whether you’re going for the summit or not.

Name Distance Level Location Climb Dogs
Red Mountain Hike (Mojave Desert)5.5HardRandsburg1900Y
Telescope Peak Hike (Death Valley)12.5HardDeath Valley3900N
Cottonwood Lakes Hike13ModerateLone Pine1350Y
Lone Pine Lake Hike5.6ModerateLone Pine1900Y
Fossil Falls Hike0.5EasyOlancha30Y
Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)1.2EasyCantil120N
Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP0.9EasyCantil120N
Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail0.6EasyLone Pine65Y
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike4.4ModerateBishop900Y
White Mountain Peak Hike (California)15HardBishop3360Y
Mt Whitney Hike22Very HardWhitney Portal6960N

All Guides

Red Mountain Hike (Mojave Desert)

Red Mountain Hike (Mojave Desert)

The Red Mountain hike, although “normal” on paper, really packs a punch. Red Mountain, a volcanic cone rising over 2000 feet above the surrounding Mojave Desert, has steep slopes, harsh terrain, and a challenging trail. And with great effort comes great payoff: the summit offers sweeping views and an interesting history.

Randsburg, CA - 5.5 miles, Hard

Telescope Peak Hike (Death Valley)

Telescope Peak Hike (Death Valley)

Offering dramatic views into some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, the beauty of the Telescope Peak hike will leave you breathless. You’ll hike up a well-maintained trail to Death Valley’s highest point, Telescope Peak, towering eleven-thousand feet over the lowest point in the USA, Badwater Basin. The trail passes through alpine meadows, amongst ancient bristlecone pines, along rocky ridges, and ends at an epic panoramic peak. Add Telescope Peak to your bucket list if you haven’t done it already.

Death Valley, CA - 12.5 miles, Hard

Cottonwood Lakes Hike

Cottonwood Lakes Hike

The Cottonwood Lakes hike probably gives you the most  bang-for-your-buck in the Eastern Sierra. The hike starts from the Cottonwood Lakes Campground, already at 10,000 feet, so your car does most of the legwork to get you to altitude. From there, the Cottonwood Lakes Trail gently makes its way through pristine alpine terrain to a series of several crystal-clear alpine lakes, all in the shadow of the high Sierra peaks like Mt Langley. Every step of this must-do hike is spectacular, so give it a try.

Lone Pine, CA - 13 miles, Moderate

Lone Pine Lake Hike

Lone Pine Lake Hike

For a taste of the big mountains around Mt Whitney without the massive effort or hard-to-get permit, try the very doable Lone Pine Lake hike which follows the Mt Whitney Trail. It’s a moderate effort but very doable by most people as a half-day adventure. When you finish the climb to Lone Pine Lake, you’re rewarded with a pristine mountain lake, a scenic picnic area, and a backdrop of the high peaks in the Eastern Sierra.

Lone Pine, CA - 5.6 miles, Moderate

Fossil Falls Hike

Fossil Falls Hike

The short, easy, and fun Fossil Falls hike brings you through a volcanic landscape to a 20,000 year old smooth, water-polished waterfall. The actual water disappeared 10,000 years ago when the Owens River took another path, leaving a geological wonderland for you to checkout. The landscape is beautiful and unique, and is well worth a stop to stretch your legs.

Olancha, CA - 0.5 miles, Easy

Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)

Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)

The easy Hagen Canyon Trail hike takes you through a colorful geographic landscape that was once all underwater. The colorful layers are sediment washed down from the old Sierra Mountains. Over the last 10 million years plate tectonic movement and erosion have formed what you see today. At one point it was a tourist attraction run by the Hagen family, today it’s a state park.  The hike is short and shouldn’t take you more than an hour.

Cantil, CA - 1.2 miles, Easy

Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP

Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP

The Red Cliffs Trail is an easy 1 mile loop hike in a unique Mojave Desert landscape. You’ll pass the namesake Red Cliffs, rock formations of eroded sandstone, mudstone, and volcanic rock, thrusted up above the desert floor by faulting. It’s also been the backdrop of many movies and television shows. The Red Cliffs Trail is a great place to stretch your legs if you’re traveling between LA and the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.

Cantil, CA - 0.9 miles, Easy

Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail

Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail

If you’re in Lone Pine, CA, don’t miss the Mobius Arch Loop Trail in the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. It’s an easy hike that has one of the best photo opportunities in the Eastern Sierras. You’ll be able to perfectly frame Mt Whitney and the Sierras within a natural rock arch formation. And there’s more than just Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills Recreation Area is full of natural beauty and unique rock formations. You might even recognize some of the spots in Alabama Hills from Django Unchained, Gladiator and Iron Man.

Lone Pine, CA - 0.6 miles, Easy

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike

This Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest hike takes you through awe-inspiring groves of the oldest trees in the world, the Ancient Bristlecone Pines. This trail will take you past living trees that are up to 5000 years old, shaped and gnarled by thousands of years of wind coming off of the Sierras and Nevada Basin, which you will also get incredible views of. This hike is relatively easy, on a well marked trail, and includes a very cool visitor center and interpretive info along the route.

Bishop, CA - 4.4 miles, Moderate

White Mountain Peak Hike (California)

White Mountain Peak Hike (California)

The White Mountain Peak hike brings you to the third highest peak in California, only a few hundred feet lower than Mt Whitney, and the highest outside peak of the Sierra Nevada. The hike is tough, but doable, and meanders through the White Mountains Wilderness section of Inyo National Forest: a rugged a beautiful mountain desert, tucked into the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada. The summit of White Mountain Peak offers great 360 views from the Eastern Sierras to Nevada.

Bishop, CA - 15 miles, Hard

Mt Whitney Hike

Mt Whitney Hike

The Mt Whitney hike is on every hiker’s bucket list. At 14,505 feet, it’s the highest point in the lower 48 and is one of those rare high peaks that you can hike to without any mountaineering skills. There is some prep work you need to do, like getting your Mt Whitney permit and dealing with the altitude. This hiking guide has everything you need to know to successfully climb Mt Whitney. Keep reading for all the info.

Whitney Portal, CA - 22 miles, Very Hard