The Whitney Portal campground is located at the 8,000-foot elevation in the eastern Sierra Mountain range. It has approximately 43 sites including some tent-only sites & two group sites (up to 15 people each). The main attraction is that it is the jumping off point for hiking Mt. Whitney (the tallest mountain in the Continental United States). Other attractions include: fishing, picnicking, hiking/backpacking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. Season: May - October.
Whitney Portal is located in the eastern Sierra, 13 miles west of Lone Pine, CA. This campground is adjacent to Whitney Creek. Roads are paved. Restrooms are provided. Firewood is available for sale. Small store with showers nearby. Popular activities include hiking and fishing. Whitney Portal is 1/2 mile from Mt. Whitney, Meysan Lake, National Recreation trailheads.
Reservations must be made at least 5 days in advance. Mt. Whitney hiking permits required. High bear activity; bear boxes will be provided and supplies must fit the size of the bear box- 18" high, 18" deep, and 50" long. Each site must comply with this or there will be a fine up to $150. No RV dump station. No filling of holding tanks from water hydrants. No refunds are given for bad weather. No motor homes, trailers, buses, or campers are allowed in the parking lot. If people have these conveniences they must reserve a family unit. Showers are located nearby for a fee. Customer must check in with host upon arrival. Check in with host upon arrival. Pets must be leashed. Maximum of 2 vehicles per site.
Whitney Portal Campground
Inyo National Forest
Lone Pine, CA
From U.S. Highway 395 in California, travel to the town of Lone Pine. The campground is 13 miles west of Lone Pine on Whitney Portal Road.
Points of Interest
Hiking Mt. Whitney
The Mount Whitney Trail is a trail that ascends Mount Whitney. It starts at Whitney Portal at 8,360' (2,548 m), 13 miles (21 km) west of the town of Lone Pine, California. The hike is about 22 miles (35.4 km) round trip with an elevation gain of over 6,100 ft (1,859 m). This trail is extremely popular and its access is restricted between May 1st and November 1st, permitting 60 backpackers and 100 day hikers daily for the MWT.
Camping is allowed along most of the trail, more than 100 feet (30 m) from water, but level ground that meets that description is extremely limited, so most backpackers congregate in two camps. Outpost Camp, the lower of the two camps, is 3.8 miles (6.1 km) west of the trailhead at 10,365' (3,159 m), near a waterfall in a forested area just above Bighorn Meadow. Trail Camp, where most will base camp prior to their summit ascent, is 6.3 miles (10.1 km) from the trailhead at 12,000' (3,658 m), in a rocky (and often windy) basin above tree line. This is also the last place where there is a reliable water source. The lake at the trail camp has algae from the human waste deposits and needs to be purified before drinking. If streams on the switchbacks have water, it would be preferable to the water from the lake. A water pump or purifying+neutralizing tablets work well. Most hikers will take between 2 and 4 days to complete this trip, although many people attempt to summit as part of a very long day hike.
This hike as a day hike is very doable for an experienced hiker in good shape, who has done some training at altitude and is prepared for a very long day.
The main Mount Whitney trail is very easy to follow and is generally well maintained, and usually requires no climbing or winter gear once the mountain clears of snow and ice, usually by mid-July. Beyond Trail Crest though there is a section where you will lose altitude and will have to gain altitude on the return. Also the trail on this 'backside' can be challenging as some sections of the trail must be rebuilt after every winter season. The views are extraordinary on a clear day but some folks will be dismayed as the trail bends around some precarious ledges. Caution is essential on any hike but more so here due the distance from the trail head. A one day trip up the MWT usually starts between 2 and 4 AM. Most successful hikers will complete the trip in between 10 and 20 hours.
The Alabama Hills is a unique and wicked desert area in Owens Valley near the town of Lone Pine. It is known to the world as a popular movie location with a long, rich history of films shot there. The list includes hundreds of westerns, Gunga Din, Disney's Dinosaur, Tremors, Star Trek, G.I. Jane, The Shadow, Maverick, Gladiator, and many others. You may wonder what attracted Hollywood location scouts to this place. Take a look at the photos or, better yet, visit it and you will get your answer instantly. It looks out of this world with desert vegetation and patinated rounded boulders scattered over the area, and a massive backdrop of Eastern Sierra Nevada peaks rising nearly eleven thousand feet from the valley floor. It is also known for its proximity to the highest point of the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney.
Managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area, they are protected. The rounded contours of the Alabamas contrast with the sharp ridges of the Sierra Nevada to the west; however, the Alabamas are no older than the Sierra. Different patterns of erosion account for the difference.
Dozens of natural arches are among the main attractions at the Alabama Hills. They can be accessed by short hikes from the Whitney Portal Road, the Movie Flat Road and the Horseshoe Meadows Road. Among the notable features of the area are: Mobius Arch, Lathe Arch, the Eye of Alabama and Whitney Portal Arch.
The town of Lone Pin is located at the base of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States and home to the Lone Pine Film Festival, each October, this small, high desert community has much to offer and is the jumping off point for many outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, visiting ghost towns and other historic sites.
Manzanar National Historic Site
During World War II, thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent — having committed no crime apart having Japanese ancestry — were detained at camps across the country. This camp housed up to 10,000 people until it was closed in 1954. It's on Highway 395, about five miles south of Independence — look for the two aged entrance monuments to the site on the west side of the highway. The new Interpretive Center opened in April, 2004. Manzanar is a bleak, dry place — as uninviting as it must have been for the relocated families during WWII.