The 15 miles out and back White Mountain Peak hike will take you to the third highest peak in California (14,252 ft). The hike is tough (overall 3,500 ft elevation), but doable, and will take you through a rugged and beautiful mountain desert. The summit of White Mountain Peak offers great 360 views from the Eastern Sierras California to Nevada mountains. On your way to the hike trailhead, you will enjoy visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Forest groves, some of the trees are up to 5000 years old.
Where? : The hike trailhead is located at the end of Bristlecone Pine Forest Scenic Byway dirt road.
When? : Summer only, the road is covered with snow at winter, it is close usually from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow).
Due note 1: Remember that you are at high altitude, and altitude sickness (AMS) can be deadly, as always listen to your body and do not push it.
Due note 2: This is a high mountain range, far from any service, bring enough fuel with you, nearest gas station is at highway 395 (Big Pine or Bishop).
Due note 3: Make sure you have a good spare tire and that you know how to replace a flat.
Due note 4: Bring enough water and food and watch the weather and potential storms. High temperatures in summertime at the mountain top are around 73f so you should plan for potential cold and windy situations, including summer thunderstorms with lightning.
Due note 5: Surprisingly, even though this is a remote mountain range far away from any nearby settlement you will find that you have a good cell reception in many locations along the ridge.
Due note 6: You don’t need a permit to hike to the White Mountain Peak or park for the night at the trailhead (end of the dirt road).
My thoughts: I visited here twice, I do not count my winter attempt as visit, and like it every time. It is amazing experience to walk among almost 5,000 old trees, everyone with its unique appearance. The mountain range landscape is also unique, open white and somehow rounded unlike the Sierra ragged range.
The hike to White Mountain, 13,000 ft summit, 3rd highest in California is highly recommended hike, I had a lot of fun doing it.
Few blogs links that provides additional information, this will help you plan your road trip to this area: