A reconstruction of Whitney Portal Road is planned for the 2016 season under a funding request from Inyo County. The road will be repaved and needs significant repairs for safety. The project begins just west of Lone Pine and ends just east of Whitney Portal.
Whitney Portal is the most popular trailhead in Inyo National Forest with hikers applying, by lottery, to ascend the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States by the thousands. Mount Whitney (elevation 14,505 feet) is also the southern terminus of the 211-mile John Muir Trail and is the main destination of the High Sierra Trail (from Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park).
“There is no way to complete this project without having a significant impact on visitors to the Whitney Portal area,” said Ed Armenta, Inyo National Forest supervisor. “The road has only one ingress/egress and the already limited parking will be much reduced. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating.”
Visitors have long used roadside parking as an overflow. During construction near Whitney Portal, this roadside parking will not be available.
Construction delays will be up to three hours, twice a day. Visitors to Whitney Portal should anticipate that there may not be a parking space available.
Instead, visitors to Whitney Portal should consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or using shuttle services available from the Lone Pine area.
Visitors who want to hike Mount Whitney are advised to enter the lottery since walk-in permits will not be issued when parking is unavailable. Apply via www.recreation.gov.