Mount Whitney

After driving just over 700 miles across the arid and difficult terrain of Southern California, the PCT moves into Central California, including the jaw-dropping and often snow-covered Sierra Mountains.In the midst of all the action, the PCT merges with the 211-mile John Muir Trail (JMT), and Together, the two trails navigate different mountain passes, alpine lakes and other natural highlights found in this high alpine paradise, including the rising glazed snow-capped Mount Whitney.

Standing as the tallest summit in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney Peak is the southern terminus for the JMT and is a multifaceted alternative route for the PCT. To climb to the top of this bucket peak in one day, you won’t spend a lot of time in the actual PCT, but instead tackle it from the other side of the mountain, from the Whitney Portal, after getting the much-requested permission. Take this 22-mile round trip, hitting over 6,000 feet as you climb to the summit, and you’ll get the most concentrated taste of the physical demands for a PCT solution found anywhere else along the trail.