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For a detailed description of this trail and other routes up Mt. Whitney, see GORP's Hiking Mount Whitney feature.Directions
The town of Lone Pine, California, is the gateway to Cottonwood Lakes. Lone Pine is located on US 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. The Cottonwood Lakes Trail to New Army Pass is reached by driving three miles west of Lone Pine on Whitney Portal Road, turning left on Horseshoe Meadow Road, and heading 20 miles to the parking lot. Leave one car at Whitney Portal and drive a second car to the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead to begin the hike.Highlights
The Cottonwood Trail marks the beginning of a longer but much less traveled route to the peak of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states, than the Mount Whitney Trail. This route begins in the Inyo National Forest, passes through the John Muir Wilderness, and utilizes the Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails. A wilderness permit is required for all overnight stays. During peak months, the daily quota of 60 hikers keeps crowds down.