Straddling the border of Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest–John Muir Wilderness, Mt. Whitney (14,496 feet) is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. A favorite game for travelers passing through Lone Pine is trying to guess which peak is Mt. Whitney. Almost no one gets it right, because Mt. Whitney is hidden behind other mountains. There is no road that ascends the peak, but you can catch a glimpse of the mountain by driving curvy Whitney Portal Road west from Lone Pine into the mountains. The pavement ends at the trailhead to the top of the mountain, which is also the start of the 211-mile John Muir Trail from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite National Park. Day and overnight permits are required to ascend Mt. Whitney. The highly competitive lottery for these permits opens on February 1st. At the portal, a restaurant (known for its pancakes) and a small store cater to hikers and campers staying at Whitney Portal Campground. You can see a waterfall from the parking
lot and go fishing in a small trout pond. The portal area is closed from mid-October to early May; the road closes when snow conditions require. Traffic will be affected by reconstruction tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016 on Whitney Portal Road. Check with the Inyo National Forest Service, or Eastern Sierra Interagency Vistior Center at Lone Pine before heading out. There will be traffic delays, significant at times, and limited parking.