Whitney Portal Campground

Inyo National Forest

Approach to Mt. Whitney

Whitney Portal Campground, Inyo National Forest, CA

Whitney Portal Campground

Southern Eastern Sierra
Attractions and Activities

South of Mammoth Lakes are a number of wonderful camping areas along the Eastern Sierra. Among them are Convict Lake, Rock Creek, Sabrina Lake, South Lake, and Big Pine.

  • Great fishing at Convict Lake, Rock Creek Lake, and Lake Crowley
  • Wonderful hiking trails leading into the Sierra Nevada
  • Close to beautiful Mammoth Lakes
  • Take a day hike up the trail into Little Lakes Valley
  • Spend a day at Rock Creek Lake's beach area, swimming and fishing
  • Go on a trail ride with Rock Creek Pack Station or near Lake Sabrina and North Lake see Bishop Pack Outfitters.
  • Mountain bike along challenging trails in the Rock Creek area.
  • Fish for trout in popular Bishop Creek or nearby Lake Sabrina and South Lake.
  • Hike up Big Pine Creek past waterfalls to actor Lon Chaney's wilderness cabin.

Key Inyo National Forest Camping Regulations

  1. Fires only in fire rings
  2. Quiet Hours: 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM
  3. Generators allowed only during non-quiet hours; three-hour maximum run time and must be attended while running.
  4. Dogs must be on leash and attended at all times. No more than 2 pets per campsite
  5. To avoid problems with bears campers are required to store food and scented items in bear-proof lockers.

Whitney Portal Campground

Whitney Portal Campground rests in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, 12 miles west of the town of Lone Pine. Many who visit the campground come with plans to climb to the summit of 14,505-foot Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in California. The trailhead is ½ mile from the campground. The hike to the top of Mt. Whitney requires a permit and planning. See Hiking up Mt. Whitney below for more details and links to Forest Service information.

Whitney Portal Campground has 43 campsites. Eighteen of the campsites are listed as Management, which means that reservations are not site-specific. For those with Management reservations, a site is assigned upon arrival. Thirteen specific sites for RVs, trailers, and tents can be reserved. Also a dozen tent only sites and one walk-in site can be reserved. Some campsites may be available for first-come, first-served campers. Campsites are nestled among rocks and mature pines.

Whitney Portal also has 3 tents-only Group Campsites.

Major Rockfall on Whitney Portal Road - 2017

A major rockfall on the Whitney Portal Road duing the winter may delay opening of the road this spring. Curretnly the road is closed just above Hogback Road. Whitney Portal Road Rockfall

Campground Basics
Location: Whitney Portal Road, 12 miles west of Lone Pine on Highway 395
Elevation: 8,000 feet
Mileage from major cities: 220 miles north of Los Angeles
From Bakersfield - 180 miles
Number of Campsites: 43
Open - Closed: Late May through mid-October
Max. People per Site: 6 (including children)
Vehicles per Site: 2 vehicles, 2nd vehicle $7
Maximum Length of Stay: 14 days
Pets: On leash, always attended
Operated by Recreation Resource Management for Inyo National Forest
Information -
Inyo NF, Bishop
(760) 873-2400

Reservations available whenever campground is open, available up to 6 months in advance
Maximum RV/Trailer Length: 22 feet
Wheelchair Accessible Sites: None designated, but some sites are accessible
Fees: $24 per night
Reservations: Whitney Portal Campground Reservations
Check-in, check-out: 2:00 PM, 1:00 PM

Whitney Portal Campground Amenities
Campsites: Picnic table, fire ring, bear-proof food storage locker; no hook-ups
Campground: Vault toilets, tap water
Showers: Nearby at Whitney Portal Store ($5)
Dump station: No
Nearby attractions: Trailhead for Mt. Whitney and John Muir Trail, Whitney Portal Store and restaurant, with a shower ($5); mountaineering, cycling, fishing Manzanar War Relocation Center; Death Valley
More Information: Inyo National Forest - Mt. Whitney Trail Information

Hiking up Mt. Whitney

The 22-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney from Whitney Portal is a major undertaking. The trail climbs over 6,000 feet. Just the uphill climb to the summit can take 7 or 8 hours. Many hikers set out well before sun-up and often don't return to their cars until dusk.

Recommended Essentials

  • A permit to hike up Mt. Whitney is required. (See link below.)
  • Layered clothing. It can be hot on the ascent and windy and cold on the summit.
  • Water bottles and filter. Plan to refill bottles at the last water at Trail Camp.
  • Trekking poles - for safety on uneven terrain and to ease the strain on knees on descent.
  • A good map - people have wandered off the trail.
  • Emergency contingency plans - tell someone when you will be back, carry rain gear, consider carrying a Spot GPS Messenger, or similar rescue device.

Hiking up Mt. Whitney should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Train for the hike, read books and websites about the hike. Plan on spending a couple of nights at a nearby campground to acclimatize before your hike.

Forest Service Links

Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits

Inyo National Forest -Mt. Whitney Trail Information

Whitney Portal Group Campground,  Inyo National Forest, CA

Whitney Portal Group Campground

Whitney Portal Group Campground

Three tents-only, group campsites are located immediately to the west of the main campground. Each of the campsites can accommodate up to 15 people and 2 vehicles. The campsites are set in a mature pine forest along Lone Pine Creek. No motorhomes, pop up V.W., campers, or sleeping trailers are allowed in the paved parking area for the group campsites.
Fee: $75 per night per campsite
Reservations: Whitney Portal Group Campground Reservations

Whitney Portal store,  Inyo National Forest, CA

Whitney Portal Store and Cafe

General Camping Information

Not all campsites can accommodate trailers or RVs of all lengths. Check carefully on the reservation site when you make your reservation to be sure your vehicle will fit your campsite. Purchase firewood locally to avoid spreading pests.

Accessible Sites

Designated Accessible sites are usually reserved for people with disabilities who have a vehicle displaying an accessible parking placard or license plate.


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