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.
Even if you don’t have a permit to hike to Mt Whitney, you can still hike up the Mt Whitney Trail to Lone Pine Lake. It’s a beautiful alpine lake in the shadows of the Eastern Sierras. The hike is about 5.5 miles roundtrip, and has about 1800 feet of climbing, so it’s a challenge, but a doable one. Follow my trail direction to Mt Whitney. When you get to the Lone Pine Lake turnoff, just make the left to the lake instead of the right to the summit.
This is a fun, short, family-friendly hike right outside of Lone Pine, CA. It’s only 0.6 miles and offers some really cool photo opportunities of Mt Whitney framed by natural arches.
If you didn’t score a Mt Whitney permit and want to bag a 14er, White Mountain Peak is your move. Even if you are doing Mt Whitney, the White Mountain Peak hike is a great way to prep for the altitude. It’s a 15 mile hike, but the trail is non-technical, and you can drive to the point where you only do about 3500′ feet of climbing. Now that’s still a very hard day, and not for beginners. But if you have the experience and fitness and want to climb to a point just a few hundred feet less than Whitney, White Mountain Peak is a good choice. The surroundings are also very different than the Eastern Sierra.
How about a nice 4.4 mile hike among trees that are thousands of years old? That’s what you’ll find on the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest hike. The hike starts at a visitor’s center that makes it fun and easy to understand what you’re looking at.
It’s a long drive between LA and Mt Whitney, and luckily there are some fun, short hikes right off of the highway where you can stretch your legs and get some nature in.
The Red Cliffs Trail hike in Red Rock Canyon State Park is a loop under a mile with great views of the unique Red Cliffs. There’s also a nice grove of Joshua Trees on the hike.
Right across the road from the Red Cliffs hike, Hagen Canyon is another short 1.2, family-friendly trail. It takes you through some cool geological formations in the Mojave. Worth the 30 minute stop.
Another hike right of the highway, this. 0.4 mile hike across a volcanic landscape takes you to a dry waterfall with lots of interesting geology.
|Fossil Falls Hike||0.5||30||Easy||Yes|
|Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail||0.6||65||Easy||Yes|
|Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP||0.9||120||Easy||Leashed|
|Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)||1.2||120||Easy||Leashed|
|Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike||4.4||620||Moderate||Leashed|
|Hike White Mountain Peak (California)||15||3450||Hard||Leashed|
|Mt Whitney Hike||22||6100||Very Difficult||No|
The short Fossil Falls hike brings you through a volcanic landscape to a dry, water-polished waterfall. The landscape is beautiful and unique, and is well worth a stop.Read More
The easy Hagen Canyon Trail hike takes you through a colorful geographic landscape that was once underwater. It’s a great place to stop if you’re traveling between LA and the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.Read More
The Red Cliffs Trail is an easy 1 mile loop hike in the shadow of unique red cliffs in the Mojave Desert. It’s a great place to stretch your legs if you’re traveling between LA and the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.Read More
If you’re in Lone Pine, CA, don’t miss the Mobius Arch Loop Trail. 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 within a natural rock arch formation. The Mobius Arch Loop Trail is within Alabama Hills Recreation Area, which is a popular filming location. You might recognize some of the spots in Alabama Hills from Django Unchained, Gladiator and Iron Man.Read More
This Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest hike takes you through awe-inspiring groves of the oldest trees in the world, Bristlecone Pines. The hike is relatively easy, on a well marked trail, and includes a very cool visitor center and info. It’s not close to much else, but if you’re in the area, this hike through the Bristlecone Pine forest is your move.Read More
The hike to White Mountain Peak brings you to the third highest peak in California, only a few hundred feet lower that Mt Whitney. The hike is tough, but doable, and the peak is spectacular with incredible 360 views that stretch from the Eastern Sierra to Death Valley.Read More
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. This hike guide has everything you need to know to successfully climb Mt Whitney. That includes choosing a route, getting your permit, extra hiking gear considerations, planning your trip, training, and dealing with altitude. Keep reading for all the info.Read More