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Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, 6-day Hike with Mt. Whitney summit near Lone Pine, CA

Sierra Nevada, California
Sierra Nevada, California
Sierra Nevada, California
Sierra Nevada, California

Certified guides from SWS Mountain Guides lead you on this fantastic and beautiful 6-day backpacking adventure in the Sierra Nevada, with Mt. Whitney summit, near Lone Pine, California, an epic adventure that leads you through the tranquil, idyllic and peaceful backcountry of the Sierra Nevada.


Sierra Nevada (California)

6 Days

Jun - Sep




* Backpack around the gorgeous surroundings of the Sierra Nevada!

* Scale the summit of Mt. Whitney - the highest mountain in the lower 48 states

* Encounter huge valleys, lovely forests and beautiful lakes


Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada is a truly superb and sublime experience, and I will guide you as we hike our way around this famous region over the course of 6 days, admiring and taking in some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in California, with the focal point being an exciting ascent of the towering and majestic Mt. Whitney, near Lone Pine.

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range that mainly lies in California, stretching 640km North to South and 110km East to West. The massive Mt. Whitney (4421m) is nestled within the range, and is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states of the USA.

We meet on the first day in the town of Lone Pine, and from there we head straight to the Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead to begin our backpacking adventure.

Over the course of the 6 days we will be backpacking and hiking through some of the most tranquil, peaceful and idyllic scenery and terrain in California, with absolutely humongous rocky valleys, vast tracts of lush green alpine forest and mesmerizing, sublime lakes and lagoons all featuring heavily.

The trails and tracks we take are not overly difficult, meaning this trip is perfect for beginner or intermediate backpackers.

We will make our way to the lovely Crabtree Meadows, where we will set up camp, and it is from there that we will tackle the ascent of Mt. Whitney. This mountain is relatively easy to climb, despite its size, and once we reach the top we are exposed to some absolutely wonderful sweeping panoramic views back out over the Sierra Nevada and the Californian countryside.

We then finish our exciting 6-day journey back at Lone Pine, hopefully having made you love this slice of Californian paradise even more.

This is the best possible way to explore the Sierra Nevada mountain range – book now to experience it in all its glory!

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Permit and entrance fees

Price details

Professional instruction/guide, breakfast(s), dinner(s), helmets, harness, group-climbing equipment including ropes and safety equipment, ice axes and crampons- if needed, group camping equipment including tents and stoves, permits, and permit fees including Mt. Whitney permit reservations fees.


Day 1 to 6: Meet, Hike, Finish

Meet in Lone Pine on day 1, backpack around the Sierra Nevada for 6 days, including an ascent to the summit of Mt. Whitney, Finish on day 6.



More info

Experience Level: Beginners to Intermediate hikers, Previous hiking experience is needed with basic backpacking experience recommended.

Meeting point

Lone Pine, California

Equipment you will need to bring

Water bottle




What is the average distance and altitude gain that we will hike each day?

Day 1: Meet at the SWS Mountain Guides Office in Lone Pine at 8:00 am, after a full pack check and issuing of gear for the hike. We will head off to the Cottonwood Pass Trailhead out of Horseshoe Meadows, a 30-minute drive.

We will have a short day of hiking to get acclimatized to the altitude and spend sometime relaxing by Chicken Springs Lake. 5 miles/ 1,500 elevation gain.

Day 2: Chicken Spring Lake to Rock Creek Crossing: 10.75 miles / 650 ft Elevation Gain / 1,900 ft elevation loss

Day 3: Rock Creek Crossing to Guitar Lake: 10.5 miles / 2,990 ft. / Option to Hike to Mt. Whitney from Crabtree Meadows Day 4: Guitar Lake to Summit of Mt. Whitney and down to Crabtree Meadows – Approx: 14.5 miles / 3,456 ft.

Day 5: Crabtree Meadows to Rock Creek Lake 11.5 miles / Elevation Gain 2,100 ft.

Day 6: Rock Creek Lake back to Horseshoe Meadows 11.5 miles / Elevation Gain 1,465 ft.

Total Mileage and Elevation Gain: 6 days: 63.7 miles 11,925 ft.

What experience do I need to have? How fit do I need to be? Is this program suitable for children or older people?

Beginner to Intermediate Hikers. Participants should be in very good to excellent physical condition. Previous extended hiking or treking experience is recommended

How can I get to the trailhead/meeting point?

We meet at our Office in Lone Pine, California, recommend flying into Las Vegas, NV (4.5 hr drive) or Los Angeles, CA (4 hr drive) Car Rental available at both airports.

How will accommodation and meals be handled during the trek?

SWS Mountain Guides provides tents and all food for this backpacking trip.

What is the best time of the year for this hike?

August / September

Can I join a group?

Yes, we two group departures but you can set up a custom trip with your own group of three or more for the same price.

What happens in the event of bad weather?

Weather Credits and Rescheduled Climbs & Courses:

SWS Mountain Guides aka Sierra Wilderness Seminars Inc. reserves the right to reschedule seminars and courses due to severe weather conditions or other uncontrollable circumstances which make the course or climb unsafe to continue. Weather Credit or Weather Partial Credit will be given for courses or climbs during or within 24 hrs of the course start dates if severe weather conditions or other uncontrollable circumstances make the course or climb unsafe to continue. Our decision will be at the discretion of the climb leader and the Director(s) of SWS Mountain Guides.

What are some recommended accommodations near our adventure location?

We understand that finding the perfect place to stay is an essential part of your adventure experience. To help you with this, we’ve curated a list of three highly recommended hotels that offer comfort, convenience, and a touch of local charm. These accommodations are well-suited for adventurers looking to relax and rejuvenate after an exciting day of exploration
Wuksachi Lodge Sequoia National Park California USA
See rooms
John Muir Lodge Kings Canyon National Park California USA
See rooms
Montecito Sequoia Lodge Sequoia National Park California USA
See rooms

About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain Guide

Since 1981, we have been California's leader in guided mountaineering. From the Eastern Sierra to Mt. Shasta, we guide all of California 14ners and internationally.





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What people are saying about SWS



Overall, the fair evaluation for the SWS Mountain Guides and the guide assigned to me is 3 stars. Reasons: 1. The guide did not seem to remember or respect the fact that I was new to mountaineering and that the name of program is called “introduction to mountaineering...”. For example, the guide set his own time for walking and resting without any concern to my physical ability for that timing. The guide walked ahead many times and didn’t even notice when I fell a few times. I understand the guide is not the insurer of safety or a hand holder, but a complete abrasive approach to the service is not right, especially when it’s a paid service. Perhaps, the guide is not a right choice for introduction tours. 2. There was a miscommunication with timing of the summit day. I thought we would start summiting around 5am the next day; however, I was told less than 15 hours before that we would start hiking at 1am the next day from base camp. We arrived at base camp early afternoon, and I’m wired up, hot, and not prepared to fall asleep between 5pm-12am, thus, I didn’t sleep at all. I attempted the summit hike but around 12k feet the sleep deprivation was killing me and I was catching myself falling asleep and my body trying to lay down while waking. The guide didn’t seem to concerned about this. Lack of empathy. Eventually, I had to insist we turn around because I didn’t want to go beyond 30 hours of no sleep and still have to descend from the summit. 3. The guide did help set up the tent and food. The guide did explain layers of clothes on and off and why. The guide did help instruct how to pack and why. 4. Overall, I feel this guide is best suited for advanced climbers not introduction courses as he seems to be more of a “ill walk ahead of you” not “ill walk with you” type of guide.



This was an amazing trip and overall super positive experience with SWS Mountain Guides. I had a great guide with lots of mountain experience and many cool stories to share!


Had an amazing experience climbing Mt. Whitney with Richard & Tim. They were excellent guides and safely got us to the summit and back.


Neil from SWS was amazing. We climbed the Mountaineering Route up to Mt. Whitney. It was an amazing experience. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. I leaned a lot. I would absolutely use these guys again.


Too bad this review does not allow six stars. SWS is professional, client focused, flexible, and has the clients best interests in mind. I can say the personnel and leadership skills of the SWS guides are among the best. You can't go wrong with SWS.

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