Obtaining a permit for Mt.Whitney can be very difficult because of its popularity of being the highest peak in the lower 48. Most people obtain either a Day Use permit or Overnight through the lottery system on recreation.gov between
- Pro tip- At the end of April, lottery winners who did not confirm their permits, forfeit them and they are made available May 1st. Get up early and continuously check the reservation calendar for permits to become made available.
If you’re up for the challenge and really want to push yourself, get the day-use permit. If you have the time and the gear, get the overnight permit. They are two different experiences, but worth doing both at some point. You need to pick up your permits at the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center on the day of your hike or the day before. You must pick up your permits before 10:00 am for overnight permits and before 12:00 pm for day-use permits. They are open between 8:00am-4:
- If you are day hiking it, you are on a mission to get the top and because of the quick ascent its harder for the body to acclimatize, which can lead to AMS (acute mountain sickness). Sleeping the night before at elevation is a smart move. A nearby campground this is above 10k is Horseshoe Meadow or you can camp near the portal. If none of those options work for you, feel free to sleep in your car in the parking lot. You will need to start hiking between 1:00am-2:
- If you have an overnight permit, you can arrive in Lone Pine to pick up your permits in the morning and start hiking once you get to the trailhead. You can camp at Outpost camp (10,000ft elevation) or Trail Camp (12,000ft elevation).
If you plan to go as a group, be sure to train together to synchronize each other’s speed. This will mutually benefit everyone. You can have up to 15 people on your reservation. Highly recommend having no more than 3-4 people in your group.