Inyo National Forest

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General Information

The Inyo National Forest is located in north-east California, just west of the Nevada border. The forest sprawls over a large landscape, encompassing mountains, various woods, lakes and streams, and a few wilderness areas, which are areas that are protected by extra strict laws in an effort to leave it with the most minimal trace of people and civilization, and preserve the area's natural state.

Some notable natural attractions at the forest are Mt. Whitney, which is one of the tallest peaks in California, and is a very popular hiking and climbing destination, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

The forest is just under 2 million acres in total size. Not all of the forest is actually located in California. Just over 60,000 acres are actually on Nevada state territory.

One great part of the Inyo National Forest for some intense hiking is the White Mountain Peak. More about the White Mountain Peak is here: http://www.comehike.com/outdoors/parks/park.php?park_id=80513


We currently do not have any record of trailheads in this park.

Routes and Trails You Can Travel

We currently do not have any record of good routes in this park.


A large part of the forest is made up of what are known as "Wilderness Areas." These are areas that are under increased legal protection that the rest of the forest, and other non-wilderness national parks and preserves. The idea behind Wilderness Areas is to decrease, as much as possible, the human footprint on the area, and to, as much as possible, preserve the true natural habitat of the areas.

The hiking in such areas tends to be rougher, and much more secluded. Since no motor vehicles are allowed in these areas, work on the trails tends to be minimal. But many people prefer that, and enjoy being able to experience deep outdoors. Backpackers often load themselves with supplies and provisions, and spend a few days here.

If you do decide to hike in the Wilderness Areas, make sure you understand how to find your way out. These areas are very big in size, and are slow to walk through due to the natural terrain that isn't always even. So finding your way out of a Wilderness Area when you are lost, or possibly injured is extremely difficult. Before you travel here, make sure you understand what to do in case of injury, encounter with wild animals, and in case you lose your way.

Other than the Wilderness Areas, the other huge attraction for hiking enthusiasts here is Mt. Whitney. The top of Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet above seal level. The mountain is actually so big that its lower slopes lie in different parks and forests. The summit of the mountain can be reached via the John Muir Trail. But keep in mind, this trail is about 212 miles long, so don't be to ambitious too quickly.


There are close to 100 different trails interconnected throughout the forest. They are of nearly every possible variety you can imagine. There are short, flat, interpretive walks, and some of the most challenging treks in California up Mt. Whitney. Most people settle for something between the two difficulty extremes, of course.

Climate and Weather

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The most common trees here are Pines. While some of the nearby forests are home to the giant Sequoia Redwoods, Inyo isn't known for that. But there are plenty is lush Pine groves in the area, especially in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.


Other Plants

Camping Possibilities

Camping is possible at Inyo National Forest, in multiple locations. You can camp at a designated campsite, or somewhere trekking trough a wilderness area. One popular camping destination is at the base of Mt. Whitney from which it is convenient to attempt to climb the mountain.

Note: if you do camp at the forest, and plan to go off to do some hiking or climbing, please check with the forest for the latest closures. Closures are very common in the park due to over-flooding of the creeks and streams. The over-flooding happens due to larger than usual snow fall, and then snow melt, all of which rushes down the mountains, and fills up the bodies of water, often enough for them to overfill and for the water to spill on to nearby places. If are planning to travel here for camping or hiking, make sure you get to know the up-to-date information on current closures at the forest.

Other Information

This forest and its mountainous terrain are popular year-round for its Summer and Winter based recreational activities. People travel here for multi-day camping and backpacking as well as for skiing. There are two ski resorts that offer alpine skiing and snowboarding. In total, there are over 100 miles of trails suited for snowmobile use, skiing, and hiking, and approximately 45 miles of trails made for cross-country skiing.


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Hiking or Walking Groups Nearby

Group Name: Hike Mammoth Lakes!

Group Description: wish to create hiking groups that will explore the Mammoth Lakes Basin area. Various established hiking trails from beginner to high altitude conditioned trail hound! Contact me on Twitter or Myspace @SierraJewel! Lets go hike!!!

Upcoming Hikes

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Past Hikes

Yosemite NP This Weekend! | 42.4 km away

Date: Friday, 6-24-2011

Description: There are 2, with 2 different days and times: Chilnualna Falls Friday AM; A rather uphill, 4 mile one-way hike to outrageous flowing water not normally seen in Yosemite, plus fishing for true "gems"...gorgeous, natural Rainbow trout in pools above the Falls. All "jewels" experience CPR: Catch, Photograph, and Release. Come Saturday: One of the best, best views in all of the Yosemite Valley area, without having to ascend Half Dome: Sentinel Dome instead! It's a 1.5 mile, quite easy-to-moderate-at-the-end stroll/hike...sssshhhhh! Keep this one close to you...so much worth the bit of effort!

Kings Canyon NP - Mist Falls | 70.1 km away

Date: Saturday, 7-2-2011

Description: Very popular trail. Great moderate hike. Raging river in early summer. Some great views. Proximity to river helps to keep you cool in usually hot and dry summer.

Kings Canyon NP - Don Cecil trail to Lookout Peak | 69.2 km away

Date: Sunday, 7-3-2011

Description: Strenuous climb on the north-facing side of the Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon NP - Zumwalt Meadow | 70 km away

Date: Monday, 7-4-2011

Description: Follow the nature trail around Zumwalt meadow.

White Mountain Peak Climb | 41.7 km away

Date: Friday, 8-5-2011

Description: High Altitude. Easy to follow jeep road.

Saturday Afternoon fun hike | 55.3 km away

Date: Saturday, 1-28-2012

Description: lets have some fun post lunch and explore the hot creek geothermal area and canyon. could possibly hike from the first driveway to the closed off hot springs area and back. Hike into canyon can be challenging! Better suited for kids 7+