Onion Valley to Mount Whitney Trail

Lone Pine, California

Onion Valley to Mount Whitney Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The final section of the John Muir Trail is not for the weak of heart, literally or figuratively. With two significant mountain passes to climb, and the conquering of the contiguous United State’s highest peak thrown in, this is where hikers earn their bragging rights. However, this 51-mile journey is not just for peak-bagging glory hounds; it also includes some of the most spectacular alpine scenery that the Sierras have to offer. Those who love their vistas wide can have their fill of expansive hiking above treeline—open meadows, stark lakes, and the cold embrace of ringing mountains nearly everywhere. Begin with a hefty 2,600-foot climb up to Kearsarge Pass (11,823 feet), where the trail descends to Vidette Meadow before it’s time to hoof it up foreboding Forester Pass (13,120 feet). Catch your breath descending to Tyndall Creek before another scenic traverse up to Guitar Lake. Lastly, conquer the inimitable Mount Whitney, a giant granite dome hulking over the Owens Valley. Like a benevolent mother, she lures the minions to join her in the heavens. That is, until you get halfway up and she begins to feel like a deceptively wicked and cruel illusionist, ever farther away. Until, finally, you reach the seeming top of the world. Outstanding features: Gilbert Lake, Kearsarge Pass, Vidette Meadow, Forester Pass, Guitar Lake, Mount Whitney"

Onion Valley to Mount Whitney Trail Reviews

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This is a great, beautiful trail if you want to experience a taste of the Sierras - mountains, meadows, rock, forests, lakes and streams. Not difficult if you prepare well. Before July expect snow at the passes. Avoid the snow fields after noon, or you may be post-holing and hating life. You will be taking dozens of pictures every day. Don't rush, plan for a minimum of 5 days...
Amazing hike... Forester Pass is my favorite with great views and outstanding folks on the trail

Onion Valley to Mount Whitney Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Lone Pine
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
5–7 days
9,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
14,400 feet
Top Elevation

Activity Feed

Jun 2018