Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground

Inyo National Forest

Approach to Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground, Inyo National Forest, CA

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground

Southern Eastern Sierra
Attractions and Activities

South of Mammoth Lakes are a number of wonderful camping areas along the Eastern Sierra. Among them are Convict Lake, Rock Creek, Sabrina Lake, South Lake, and Big Pine. Those camped at Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground may enjoy visiting some of these places.

  • Find great fishing at Convict Lake, Rock Creek Lake, and Lake Crowley.
  • Enjoy wonderful hiking trails leading into the Sierra Nevada.
  • Spend days among the beautiful Mammoth Lakes.
  • Take a day hike up the trail into Little Lakes Valley at Rock Creek.
  • Enjoy a day at Rock Creek Lake's beach area, swimming and fishing.
  • Go on a trail ride with Rock Creek Pack Station or near Lake Sabrina and North Lake see Bishop Pack Outfitters.
  • Mountain bike along challenging trails in the Rock Creek area.
  • Fish for trout in popular Bishop Creek or nearby Lake Sabrina and South Lake.
  • Hike up Big Pine Creek past waterfalls to actor Lon Chaney's wilderness cabin.

Key Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground Regulations

  1. Fires are only permitted in provided fire rings.
  2. Quiet Hours are from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
  3. Dogs must be on leash and attended at all times. No more than 2 pets are permitted per campsite. Dogs are not allowed on National Park trails.
  4. To avoid problems with bears campers are required to store food and scented items in bear-proof lockers.

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground is located at Whitney Portal, 13 miles west of the town of Lone Pine. The 24 campsites in the walk-in campground have a one night stay limit. The camp is intended for those who are setting out into the wilderness the following day. Whitney Portal is the trailhead for hiking to the summit of Mt. Whitney and is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail.

The hike to the summit of 14,505-foot Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in California, requires a permit and careful preparation. See Hiking up Mt. Whitney below for more details and links to Forest Service information.

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground's 25 walk-in campsites are within walking distance of the main trails. All of the campsites are first come, first served.

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground Basics
Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground Location: Whitney Portal Road, 13 miles west of Lone Pine on Highway 395
Elevation: 8,000 feet
Mileage from major cities: 221 miles north of Los Angeles
From Bakersfield - 181 miles
Number of Campsites: 25
Open - Closed: Mid-May through late October
Max. People per Site: 6 (including children)
Vehicles per Site: 2 vehicles, 2nd vehicle $7
Maximum Length of Stay: 1 night
Pets: On leash, always attended
Operated by Recreation Resource Management, for Inyo National Forest
Information: Eastern Sierra Interpretive Center
(2 miles south of Lone Pine)
(760) 876-6200

No Reservations first come, first served
Wheelchair Accessible Sites: None designated, but some sites are accessible
Fees: $15 per night
Check-in, check-out: Any time, 1:00 PM

Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground Amenities
Campsites: Picnic table, fire ring, bear-proof food storage locker; no hook-ups
Campground: Vault toilets, tap water
Showers: Nearby at Whitney Portal Store ($5)
Dump station: No
Attractions near Mt. Whitney Trailhead Campground: Take advantage of the Whitney Portal Store and restaurant, with a shower ($5). Find the trailhead for Mt. Whitney and John Muir Trail nearby. Set out mountaineering, cycling, or fishing. Visit the Manzanar War Relocation Center and Death Valley.
More Information: Inyo National Forest - Mt. Whitney Trail Information

General Camping Information

Not all campsites can accommodate trailers or RVs of all lengths. Check carefully on the reservation site when you make your reservation to be sure your vehicle will fit your campsite. Purchase firewood locally to avoid spreading pests.

Accessible Sites

Designated Accessible sites are usually reserved for people with disabilities who have a vehicle displaying an accessible parking placard or license plate.

Whitney Portal store,  Inyo National Forest, CA

Whitney Portal Store and Cafe

Hiking up Mt. Whitney

The 22-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney from Whitney Portal is a major undertaking. The trail climbs over 6,000 feet. Just the uphill climb to the summit can take 7 or 8 hours. Many hikers set out well before sun-up and often don't return to their cars until dusk.

Recommended Essentials

  • A permit to hike up Mt. Whitney is required. (See link below.)
  • Layered clothing. It can be hot on the ascent and windy and cold on the summit.
  • Water bottles and filter. Plan to refill bottles at the last water at Trail Camp.
  • Trekking poles - for safety on uneven terrain and to ease the strain on knees on descent.
  • A good map - people have wandered off the trail.
  • Emergency contingency plans - tell someone when you will be back, carry rain gear, consider carrying a Spot GPS Messenger, or similar rescue device.

Hiking up Mt. Whitney should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Train for the hike, read books and websites about the hike. Plan on spending a couple of nights at a nearby campground to acclimatize before your hike.

Forest Service Links

Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits

Inyo National Forest -Mt. Whitney Trail Information

Summit of Mt. Whitney, Big Pine Lakes,  Inyo National Forest, CA

Summit of Mt. Whitney, looking west


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