Camping below the tallest mountain in the lower 48
Looming at 14,506 feet, Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Many individuals come to this area for the accomplishment of summiting this beautiful peak. However, did you know that Whitney Portal has one of the best campgrounds in California? If you’re not into climbing, camping at the Whitney Portal is a must-do for anyone vacationing in the Sierras.
We’ve been to the Whitney Portal Campground a few times (mainly as a basecamp before climbing) and have always been impressed with how beautiful and well-kept these campsites are.
At the Whitney Portal Campground, the sites are nestled among the boulders and adjacent to a small creek that runs through the campground. There are also cabins across the creek, some private and some for vacation rentals.
There’s also access to a few trails from the campground:
One, following the creek up to the start of the Mt. Whitney climbers trail – to the small visitor center/cafe (the pancakes here are incredible) where the hiker/climber trail starts. The Mt. Whitney Trailhead starts at the visitor center and ends at the Mt. Whitney summit.
Two, the Meysan Lakes Trail goes to a couple lakes – it’s an out and back trail at 4.7 miles that ends at a large alpine lake (the Meysan Lakes Trail trail travels up an adjacent valley from the Whitney Portal campground).
If you go…
- Make reservations here through Recreation.gov.
- Be careful driving up from Lone Pine, the Whitney Portal Road is a bit steep and sketchy!
- Say “hi” to Walter for me, he’s the camp host’s French Bulldog who was dutifully helping clean the sites!