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Mt Whitney from Horseshoe Meadow
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Long Lake, New Army Pass and Soldier Lake
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Mount Whitney: Mountain Lore from the Whitney Store
Mt. Whitney: The Peak and Surrounding Highlands
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Nearby Campgrounds
Whitney Portal 10 miles
Lone Pine 10 miles
Grays Meadows 24 miles
Onion Valley 24 miles
Oak Creek 28 miles

Trail Journals

Mt Whitney from Horseshoe Meadow


Pages:   Introduction   1   2   3   4
 
Trailhed to Long Lake Map: Horseshoe Meadow
Entering Golden Trout Wilderness
Entering Golden Trout Wilderness
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Cottonwood Lake
Cottonwood Lake
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The first thing you'll notice when you arrive at Horseshoe Meadow is the gnarled trees. The weather up here can be rough and the wind tends to distort the trees growth.



Shortly after hitting the trail you enter the Golden Trout Wilderness (left). The ground is rather sandy, but it's not too deep so the walking isn't too difficult.



The first few miles are rather simple and flat. The biggest challenge here is the river crossing which, as you can see, is not particularly challenging.



Soon you come across a nice meadow near the Golden Trout Camp. It isn't much longer before you enter the John Muir Wilderness. Soon you will find yourself at a junction. We went right, which took us up to Cottonwood Lakes. We have now arrived at Cottonwood Lakes. It's hard to say which lake this one is because different maps disagree on the names. According to the USGS Cirque quad this is Lake 4. However, the trails marked on this map around Cottonwood Lakes do not necessarily exist. So be warned.



Something else worth mentioning is the number of dogs around here. This place is very pet friendly. There are also a number of pretty flowers around here because of all the water. The meadow is very wet and you should be careful not to walk through the middle of it. Try to go around.



Long Lake is a popular camping spot beneath New Army Pass. There are other places to camp but this is the closest to the pass. Considering the amount of traffic through here you may not find as much solitude as you would like, but you still get the best scenery. For the most solitude you should walk around to the other side of the lake.

Over New Army Pass to the Miter Basin Map: Long Lake, New Army Pass and Soldier Lake
High Lake
High Lake
Postcard
Miter Basin
Miter Basin
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Above Long Lake is High Lake (left, looking east), Cirque Peak, and New Army Pass.



The hike up Cirque Peak looks fairly simple and straight forward. We met somebody at Guitar Lake who thought it was a very pleasant hike. This same person hiked up Army Pass rather than New Army Pass. Army Pass has a reputation for being more difficult than New Army Pass, but this man said that it was a very easy hike. In fact he was quite enthusiastic about it and said that he "recommends it for the entire family."



We went up New Army Pass which goes up for quite a while, but is quite simple. In the morning it catches the sun and is very pleasant. Despite the dryness and lack of soil, there are patches of flowers along the trail.



You begin to feel the altitude as you climb New Army Pass. But at the top of the 12,320ft pass you can see Mount Langley way above you to the north. To the west is the Kaweah basin. This is a vast landscape with a lot of granite and not a lot of plants. Yet it seems that however high you go, plants can still be found rooted in the sand between boulders. There are also a number streams bringing life to this otherwise dry alpine environment. This one in particular supports a number of curious Marmots.



As you descend from New Army Pass it becomes increasingly warmer and more forested. After a couple miles you can turn right to Soldier Lake. From here you can scramble over the ridge to the west and into the lower portion of the Miter Basin. There is camping here as well. However, we met somebody on the trail who camped there and said that it was a crowded campground with little solitude. You can also descend farther to Rock Creek Lake. Just before reaching the creek, turn right into the Miter Basin. There is a path you can follow part of the way through the basin, but it tends to disappear from time to time.

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