From Lone Pine there are many trail heads from which one can access the high-country wilderness.
There is plenty to offer those seeking a day hike to view the abundant Summer wildflowers, listen to the birds and the streams, and be in the peaceful solitude of the wilderness. For those wanting to spend more time in the backcountry, Lone Pine is a gateway to the entire southern Sierra Nevada.
Mt. Whitney Trail
Every year thousands travel to Whitney Portal with their hearts set on attaining the summit of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. By far the most popular route on Mt. Whitney is the hiking trail built in 1904. To maintain the wilderness character of the hike and to prevent overcrowding there are daily quotas for the trail during the peak season. Permits are required year-round for all overnight hikes and for day hikes past Lone Pine Lake. More information.
Meysan Lakes Trail
The steep 4.7 mile Meysan Lake Trail leads to the beautiful alpine lake basin. The trail also provides access to the climbing routes on Lone Pine Peak, Mt. Mallory, Candlelight Peak and other peaks.
Whitney Portal National Recreation Trail
During the cooler fall, spring and winter months, the four-mile Whitney Portal Trail makes a great hike. The upper portion of the trail is in trees and canyon shade and travels alongside the creek. The lower portion is more open and can be very hot in the summer time.
Horseshoe Meadows Area
The Horseshoe Meadows area is another popular entry point into the Sierra highcountry as well as being a great camping site and a lovely place for a picnic. There is a wildflower filled meadow surrounded by trees and a brook running through it even in the late summer.
The Cottonwood Pass Trail provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail and the northern portion of the Golden Trout Wilderness and the Kern Plateau. This area is characterized by rolling terrain with lovely subalpine meadows. The Cottonwood Lakes / New Army Pass Trail provides access to the southern portion of the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia National Park. The Cottonwood Lakes are home to the Golden Trout, (Salmo aguabonita), California’s state fish.
Onion Valley Trails
Once an Indian trading route, the Kearsarge Pass Trail provides access to a beautiful High Sierra Lake basin in the John Muir Wilderness and the spectacular backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park. Rough trails lead to the Golden Trout Lakes.
There are many dirt roads in the Owens Valley which lead to a variety of seldom visited trailheads for the adventurous visitor to explore. Many trails are used by several user groups so please extend courtesy and respect to other users. Permits are required for all overnight hikes into the backcountry.
Be aware that you are in Bear country when you are hiking in the High Sierra. Please know how to store your food correctly — it protects the wildlife and guarantees that you will not go hungry on your trip.
As you venture out into the wilderness we ask that you acknowledge the fragility of the environment you are visiting and consider your impact — remember the wilderness is dependent on us for its’ preservation.
We humans are attracted to the wilderness because it offers immense opportunities for spiritual and physical reward. The environment can also be unpredictable and can test our endurance and ability to survive, be prepared for all weather conditions.