"Lone Pine - entrance to the highest Sierra" Top 5 Page for this destination Lone Pine by mtncorg

Lone Pine Travel Guide: 114 reviews and 281 photos

Lone Pine is another small town along the US 395 corridor. I lies slightly under 4000 feet high in the high desertland of the Owens River valley. There are a number of motels, restaurants and grocery store. The Lone Pine Forest Service ranger station is also here. That is where you need to pick up needed permits either for backcountry trails in the Sierra region around here (Cottonwood Lakes, Whitney Portal) or for the dayhike/climb up Mt Whitney itself. Something over 100 day permits are issued daily and that is the first hurdle to be jumped, sometimes dauniting enough.

Also in the area is Owens Lake, a vast playa that has been dried out with Los Angeles preempting all water rights in the area. It is amazing to think there was once enough water in the lake to have a steamboat on it. Also a couple of mining ghost towns are high east off of Owens Lake. Lots of geology, both in the Sierra to the West and the Inyos to the east.

Then there is the Alabama Hills, a geological bumping just west of Lone Pine. Here innumerable movies and commercials have been filmed. Ones that come to mind in recent years are scenes from 'Gladiator' and one of the innumerable Star Trek movies. We re up on the road to Cottonwood Lakes two years ago and had to wait while a car commercial for a Toyota Avalon was being made.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fantastic array of mountains, desert with a splash of movies thrown in
  • Cons:Very popular trails with slightly obscure permit system for Whitney - get info from Forest Service websites
  • In a nutshell:The Eastern Sierra remains wild thanks to LA County Water District
  • Intro Written May 4, 2003
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Reviews (10)

Comments (6)

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2006 at 4:33 PM

    Ok, you've sold me on hiking Whitney. Going next week as a matter of fact. :) Do you know anything about Iceberg Lake and the mountaineers route? What am I getting myself into?

  • girladventure's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2004 at 9:48 AM

    Hey doc, I'm finally doing Whitney next year and your tips answered most of my questions . Thank you. For a day hike, what time do you think I shoud start from Whitney Portal? 3am?

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    May 26, 2004 at 9:10 PM

    Cuz, you've convinced me. I HAVE to do the Whitney climb. Your advice to acclimatize is a good one. Truth be told - I've never gone above 12K ft. What do you recommend - staying at Mammoth and doing some hikes out of there?

  • Mar 11, 2004 at 6:23 PM

    My buddy and I set out to the top of Whitney one day, got to that lake at 12,000, took one look at those 99 switchbacks, declared victory, and slunk back to L.A!

  • herzog63's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2004 at 8:18 AM

    This must've been a fantastic hike!! Great coverage! My heart is pumping just reading your account!

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    May 22, 2003 at 11:11 AM

    Very nice report on Mt Whitney. Lonr Pine is indeed a perfect base for great hikes in the Sierras.

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