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White Mountain Peak Hike (California)

In This Guide
  • White Mountain Peak Trail Maps
  • Turn by Flip Hike Instructions & Video
  • The Spectacular Drive to White Mountain Peak Trailhead
  • See the Oldest Timber in the World While You’re Here
Distance15 miles (24.2 km)Hike Time7-9 Hours (Complete)ProblemArduousComplete Ascent (?)3,360 ft (1024m)Highest Elevation14,246 ft (4342m)Fees & PermitsFreeDog PleasantLeashedPark Web siteInyo Nationwide ForestPark Telephone760-873-2400

The White Mountain Peak hike brings you to the third highest peak in California, just a few hundred ft lower than Mt Whitney, and the very best outdoors peak of the Sierra Nevada. The hike is hard, but doable, and meanders by way of the White Mountains Wilderness section of Inyo Nationwide Forest: a rugged a fantastic mountain desert, tucked into the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada. The summit of White Mountain Peak presents great 360 views from the Japanese Sierras to Nevada.

Hikers typically name this the simplest 14,000+ (aka 14er) hike, but do not underestimate the hike to White Mountain Peak. It’s a must to cope with some of the identical challenges that you’d in the excessive Sierras, including excessive weather and altitude illness. It’s nice altitude prep to hike Mt Whitney.

How you can Get to White Mountain Peak Trailhead

First, don’t confuse the White Mountains Wilderness (California) with White Mountain National Forest (which is in New England). The White Mountains Wilderness is a part of Inyo Nationwide Forest, which additionally encompasses Mt Whitney. Getting that mistaken will add about 3000 miles to your drive.

The trailhead tackle is: White Mountain Rd, Bishop, CA, 93514, USA.

The Drive to White Mountain Peak

The drive to the trailhead is half the fun – the final 16 miles are on a mud street referred to as the Bristlecone Pine Forest Scenic Byway. It’s doable in a automotive, but you’ll take pleasure in it extra in a excessive clearance car. Watch out for sharp stones, flats are widespread, and tow vans are distant. It’s clever to stop at a fuel station and decide up a can or two of fix-a-flat just in case.

The surroundings along the best way is jaw-dropping. Plan on 60-90 minutes (one-way) to deal with the filth street. The perfect route into the world is on Rt 168 to White Mountain Street.

There are not any amenities even remotely close to the trailhead, so ensure you fill your tank and replenish on supplies on Rt 395. The visitors middle typically presents water on the market however doesn’t have operating water.

You don’t need a permit to hike White Mountain Peak or park on the trailhead (in accordance with a call to the ranger office). I left my Nationwide Parks Move on the sprint, just in case.

In the winter the street shouldn’t be plowed and might be gated. If unsure, call the ranger station and see what the deal is. This hike is greatest attempted in the summer or early fall.

If you would like an excellent overview of the world, together with the traditional bristlecone pine groves and campground, take a look at this map (because of website pal Ben W.!).

White Mountain Space Map

white mountain peak driveThe primary section of the drive into the park is paved until you get to Schulman Grove Visitor Middle. There are a ton of overlooks as you drive as much as the trailhead at 11680 ft.white mountain peak driveThe White Mountains lie in between the Japanese Sierras and Demise Valley, and supply great prominence and 360 views. Here the sunrise is illuminating the Sierras, which you look straight throughout at, less than.white mountain peak driveMaintain your eyes open for wildlife. I saw dozens of mule pricey and even a wild horse. The horse was a primary for me right here.white mountain peak driveUltimately White Mountain Peak will come into sight, and also you only have a couple of miles to the trailhead.

Dealing With Marmots at the Trailhead

You may need heard about marmots eating by way of automotive cables and hoses on the trailhead. The dangerous news is that this can be a actual thing. The excellent news is that based on the rangers it hasn’t happened in a couple of years (let me know in the event you hear otherwise).

Evidently it happens primarily within the spring, up till mid-July. The NPS recommends you wrap a tarp around the backside of your automotive. I’ve also heard rangers say that marmots can chew by means of tarps.

I’ve by no means wrapped my automotive in a tarp and have been nice. And in the event you take a look at the automobiles on the Barcroft Research station, they don’t seem to be wrapped. Often the marmot injury is in the Mineral King space, Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP, and NOT on White Mountain. In case you’re unsure, call the ranger station and see what they advocate.

marmot proofed carThis is the advisable strategy to marmot-proof your automotive. Photograph NPS

Camping On the Trailhead

white mountain peak hike tentThere’s some primary tenting and hearth pits to the proper of the trailhead.

You possibly can camp at the trailhead. It’s first-come, first-serve, and free. The world exposed, but there are some rocks and a gully you possibly can shelter from the wind in. The campsite is primitive with a toilet and some hearth pits. Seize a campfire permit in Bishop or Lone Pine.

If you would like something less primitive, you possibly can attempt the Grandview campground which is on the street to White Mountain Peak, but pretty distant nonetheless.

Stopping to See the Historic Bristlecone Pines

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike

The Bristlecone Pine Forest Scenic Byway, which is the street to the trailhead, takes you past some Historic Bristlecone Forest groves, the oldest dwelling timber on earth. A few of the timber are up to 5000 years previous, formed and gnarled by hundreds of years of wind and desert circumstances.

Here’s how I’d advocate you propose your journey if you wish to see the timber:

I usually do White Mountain Peak early, take a nap, and then do the hike at Schulman’s Grove. It’s an extended day but I can’t get enough this area.

Gear for the Hike

Although the path isn’t technical and you go by some settlement, this is undoubtedly a backcountry hike. You’re miles away from virtually every part and you must put together for that.

The local weather on White Mountain Peak is that of a mountain desert. Winds can reach over 160mph, and there is no real cowl to shelter in, as you’re above the tree line for the whole hike. There can be lightning if a storm passes by means of. When you see the climate deteriorating, just flip around. You possibly can examine the weather station at the summit for real-time circumstances.

And it’s dry. Actually, the lowest recorded air moisture ever recorded on earth was here in the White Mountains. So convey extra water than you assume you want. I went via four.5 liters, however brought 6 liters

White Mountain Peak Path Maps

This information follows the popular South Face route, which is a mud / rock street, and not a pristine single-track. Don’t let this deter you, the hike is completely lovely. Although it’s only miles to the Japanese Sierra, it feels like you’re climbing on Mars.

There’s additionally a 20 mile, 8000ft, Class 2 West Ridge route, which you shouldn’t even take into consideration trying until you will have critical mountaineering experience.

This path additionally passes the very best analysis facility in North America, Barcroft Station, run by the University of California.

White Mountain Peak Hike (California) Map Downloads

Obtain the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Right here’s How I Navigate The Hike

Individuals ask me on a regular basis, so here you go. I’ve a couple of backups you could see on my gear page, but usually I exploit a mixture of these tools.

Fenix 5x Hiking Nav

Garmin Fenix Map Watch

This thing does every part: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart price, blood oxygen, fitness monitoring, sleep tracking, and the listing goes on. I maintain a GPX route on the watch so I can shortly glance down and ensure I’m in the proper place.

Fenix Costs & Evaluations

My In-Depth Evaluation

Gaia Gps

Gaia GPS

I load a couple of varieties of offline maps onto my smartphone once I have to interact with the map intimately. I additionally use it before my hikes as a planning device for all types of issues, including discovering free government land to camp on. The advantages are many, I extremely advocate it.

Gaia GPS Benefits

HikingGuy Low cost

Don’t just depend on a cellular phone, especially in case you are climbing in the backcountry.

white mountain peak 3d mapThe trail makes its means up towards White Mountain with some gradual climbing. The final stretch to the summit goes straight up. The prominence from the summit is great, with views 7000 ft down into the valley under.white mountain peak elevationIt’s solely about 3600 ft of climbing up the extinct volcano of White Mountain, but the altitude will make it feel much more durable. The hardest a part of the hike is the last 2 miles or so, which go straight as much as the summit. Save power for the uphill sections on the best way back.

White Mountain Peak Hike Directions

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Turn by Flip Hike Directions

Earlier than you start, keep in mind that you are at altitude, and altitude sickness (AMS) could be lethal. Should you’re not acquainted with find out how to deal with AMS, examine it on my Mt Whitney hike publish.

white mountain peak hikeThere’s plenty of parking at the trailhead. You can even see the primitive toilet.white mountain peak hike trailBegin by mountaineering at the well-marked gate. The gate opens for visitors to the analysis station.white mountain peak hike trailThe path is straightforward to comply with and climbs from the start. There really aren’t many aspect trails. Anything to the aspect that you simply see will probably be an animal run.University of California Barcroft FacilityAfter about 2 miles, you’ll reach the College of California Barcroft Facility at 12,470 ft. Simply comply with the primary path by means of the camp. The camp is filled with experiments, instruments, and amenities for the researchers. It’s all personal property, so steer clear. There are not any public loos or water sources right here.white mountain peak hikeThe trail to White Mountain Peak is marked properly by means of the analysis facility. Hold your eyes open for marmots that try to eat meals meant for the analysis livestock.white mountain peak hikeOn the end of the analysis facility there are some indicators blocking the path to visitors. Just go previous the indicators and hold mountaineering u the filth street.white mountain peak hikeThe path begins to climb again after the analysis facility.white mountain peak hikeShortly after that, you’ll reach Bancroft Observatory. After this the trail goes downhill for a stretch.white mountain peak hikeAfter you cross the observatory, the path is pretty degree and you will get good views of White Mountain Peak in the distance.white mountain peak hikeHold your eyes open for wildlife. I noticed a ton of marmots up here, and in addition noticed some coyotes and hawks trying to eat them.white mountain peak hikeUltimately the path slopes upward again and also you start to climb. Avoid any smaller aspect trails.white mountain peak hikeThere’s a White Mountains Wilderness sign in the midst of nowhere, off to the left of the path.white mountain peak hikeAs you strategy the saddle, you’ll start to see the trail snake up to the summit in the distance.white mountain peak hikeAfter the saddle there’s a steep downhill section. This shall be painful on the best way again, put together yourself.white mountain peak hikeThe bighorn sheep blend in properly the terrain. Hold your eyes open, there are two herds that roam these elements.white mountain peak hikeOkay, right here’s the start of the enterprise finish of the hike. After the downhill, you start the final uphill stretch to the summit.white mountain peak hikeIt’s still a mud street, and it meanders up some switchbacks as you hike towards the summit.white mountain peak hikeBecause the path winds around the east aspect of the mountain, you’ll be capable of get nice views of the north into Nevada.white mountain peak hikeIt’s steep and also you’re at altitude, so take your time and take loads of breaks. When you’ve got acute AMS symptoms, turn around and head back down.white mountain peak hikeAs you get nearer to the summit, the trail heads north of the summit. Keep away from any of the shortcuts to the summit and depart no trace.white mountain peak hikeLastly the trail twists again south and also you hike to the summit. Discover how excessive you’re in comparison with the Japanese Sierra peaks within the backgroundwhite mountain peak hikeRight here you’re, the summit! The stone shelter is there if you have to take refuge from the weather. I truly had nice cell reception right here, and was capable of video name my wife. Who knew?white mountain peak hikeSign the trail register. There’s additionally some primary supplies in there in case you’re in dangerous shape.white mountain peak hikeThe views are unimaginable. To the west, you’ll have the ability to look straight throughout to the Sierras.white mountain peak hikeTo the east, you have got Nevada and the peaks of Demise Valley.

From right here, just head again the best way you came and that’s the hike!

Did one thing change on this hike? In that case, please contact me and let me know. I’ll replace the guide.

For those who see trash on the path, please decide it up and carry it out. Be a very good egg and follow no trace rules.

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