The Highest Place in California

Mount Whitney is the highest point in California, reaching a towering 14,505 feet above sea level.
Written by Bee Davis
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Sep 27, 2022
The highest elevation in California is Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet. It also happens to be the tallest peak in the contiguous United States.
America’s very own Everest is right in the heart of the Sierras. Mount Whitney is one of the most popular hiking spots in
, boasting a stark elevation gain over its two-day hike. If you’re an avid hiker or highpointer, you can’t miss this stunning location.
Here to give you the rundown on California’s highest peak is
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What is the highest elevation in California?

The highest elevation in California is Mount Whitney, located in Sequoia National Park. Mount Whitney reaches 14,505 feet in elevation. The tallest U.S. peak outside Alaska, Mount Whitney is a popular destination for highpointers, people who try to visit the highest point in every state and around the world. 

How do I get to Mount Whitney?

Nestled amongst impassable Sierras, getting to Mount Whitney is a bit of a drive. You have to go around the mountains to get there, especially if you’re coming from the north. But the drive boasts some of California’s most scenic mountain views, so you won’t be disappointed. 
Getting to Mount Whitney will depend on where you’re driving from—but if you’re starting in Los Angeles, for example, this is the route you’d take:
  • Get on i5 north 
  • Take exit 162 to get on i14 through Lancaster
  • Merge on to the 395 in Bradys and continue north
  • Drive until you hit Lone Pine and take a left on Whitney Portal Rd.
  • Continue on Whitney Portal Rd. for the Lone Pine and Whitney Portal campgrounds.

Things to do around Mount Whitney

If you’re serious about climbing Mount Whitney you’ll need a permit. Mount Whitney is considered a strenuous climb, and while not a technical climb at any point, the Mount Whitney trail gains over 6,200 feet of elevation and takes over 11 hours to complete on average. 
It’s also important that you time your trip correctly. Once the mountain starts to collect ice and snow, the climb becomes a lot more difficult. The best time to climb the Mount Whitney Trail is from April to October
You can view permit information and plan your visit to the Mount Whitney Trail on the
USDA Forest Service Website
For a less strenuous climb, you can hike 5 to 6 miles round trip to Lone Pine Lake without a permit. Enjoy a view of Mount Whitney’s stunning granite spires from the lake without a 2-day hike. 

What city has the highest elevation in California?

The town with the highest elevation in California is Mammoth Lakes, about 2 hours from Mount Whitney. 
Mammoth Lakes comes in at a little over half of Mount Whitney’s elevation, reaching 7,881 feet above sea level. 

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