Inyo National Forest Hiking Trails

At almost 3,000 square miles, Inyo National Forest offers tons of epic hiking trails, including the highest point in the lower 48, Mt Whitney. Intersected by the awesome road-trip route, 395, there’s a ton of great hikes for all levels.

Don’t forget to leave your parks pass on your dashboard when you do these hikes.

Name Distance Level Location Climb Dogs
Fossil Falls Hike0.5EasyOlancha30Y
Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail0.6EasyLone Pine65Y
Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP0.9EasyCantil120N
Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)1.2EasyCantil120N
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike4.4ModerateBishop900Y
White Mountain Peak Hike (California)15HardBishop3360Y
Mt Whitney Hike22Very HardWhitney Portal6960N
fossil falls hike

Fossil Falls Hike

0.5 miles - Easy

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.

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Hagen Canyon Trail Hike

Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)

1.2 miles - Easy

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.

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Red Cliffs Trail (Red Rock Canyon State Park, California)

Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP

0.9 miles - Easy

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.

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mobius arch loop trail hike

Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail

0.6 miles - Easy

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.

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Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike

4.4 miles - Moderate

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.

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hike white mountain peak california

White Mountain Peak Hike (California)

15 miles - Hard

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.

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mt whitney needles

Mt Whitney Hike

22 miles - Very Hard

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 hike guide has everything you need to know to successfully climb Mt Whitney. Keep reading for all the info.

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