Lone Pine Lake

Lone Pine, California

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This is a moderately challenging hike with phenomenally scenic rewards. This hike does not hold back. It starts delivering on the drive to the trailhead. No delayed gratification here. The hike to Lone Pine Lake is your chance to experience a short but special section of the Mount Whitney Trail, the route up the iconic mountain to the highest summit (14,505 feet) in the contiguous states. A few refreshing creek crossings, panoramic views of the granite kingdom, and a cornucopia of wildflowers highlight the 3 miles of mostly exposed switchbacks to the shores of this idyllic lake. Mount Whitney Trail to Lone Pine Lake is a portal into one of nature’s most sublime settings. If the altitude does not take your breath away at 8,000 feet, the scenery in the shadow of this granite cathedral surely will. The trail starts with a brief, stiff uphill with the most shade you’ll experience until you reach the trail junction for Lone Pine Lake in 2.9 miles. The trail quickly mellows into moderate switchbacks. As you climb higher, the Owens Valley floor becomes more distant and you feel minuscule against the granite walls soaring up the canyon. The seasonal streams and the two tumbling creeks create enough moisture for lush ferns and myriad wildflower blooms, including purple lupine, white ranger buttons, and flaming Indian paintbrush.
Best Dog Hikes Southern California

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Best Dog Hikes Southern California

by Linda and David Mullally (Falcon Guides)

This is a moderately challenging hike with phenomenally scenic rewards. This hike does not hold back. It starts delivering on the drive to the trailhead. No delayed gratification here. The hike to Lone Pine Lake is your chance to experience a short but special section of the Mount Whitney Trail, the route up the iconic mountain to the highest summit (14,505 feet) in the contiguous states. A few refreshing creek crossings, panoramic views of the granite kingdom, and a cornucopia of wildflowers highlight the 3 miles of mostly exposed switchbacks to the shores of this idyllic lake. Mount Whitney Trail to Lone Pine Lake is a portal into one of nature’s most sublime settings.

If the altitude does not take your breath away at 8,000 feet, the scenery in the shadow of this granite cathedral surely will. The trail starts with a brief, stiff uphill with the most shade you’ll experience until you reach the trail junction for Lone Pine Lake in 2.9 miles. The trail quickly mellows into moderate switchbacks. As you climb higher, the Owens Valley floor becomes more distant and you feel minuscule against the granite walls soaring up the canyon. The seasonal streams and the two tumbling creeks create enough moisture for lush ferns and myriad wildflower blooms, including purple lupine, white ranger buttons, and flaming Indian paintbrush.

© 2016 Linda and David Mullally/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Lone Pine
Distance: 6.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Duration: 4 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 8,406 feet
Top Elevation: 10,000 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Inyo National Forest, Mount Whitney Ranger Station; P.O. Box 8, Lone Pine 93545; (760) 876-6200. Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center, Lone Pine, intersection of US 395 and CA 136 1 mile south of town; (760) 876-6200; fs.usda.gov/inyo. Wilderness Permit Office can also answer questions regarding overnight permit for Lone Pine Lake, (760) 873-2483.
Local Maps: USGS Mount Langley, Mount Whitney; USFS Inyo National Forest; John Muir Wilderness; National Geographic Mount Whitney Trail Map; Tom Harrison Mount Whitney
Driving Directions: Directions to Lone Pine Lake

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Apr 2018