Mt Whitney Zone
I'll be at Lone pine sometime around Mid May. A few of my friends want to explore the mountains, and they want to do an easy hike at altitude with good views. To be completely honest, I don't know what their physical fitness is like, so I want to play it somewhat safe, but also offer them some degree of thrill and excitement (they're all from the Midwest). Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Something that would get them to around 12,000 ft with solid views (we don't need to summit anything)
2. Class 2 or less (maybe some scrambling here and there, but nothing with exposure)
3. Something that can be done in 6 hours

I don't know the area that well, so if you guys have any hidden gems recommended that's good for noobs, please let me know!

EDIT: I was looking at my summer plans, and I wanted to do the Gould to Dragon traverse. But the trail up to Kearsarge pass looks awesome and doable. Would that be a good choice? Maybe I can bag Gould on the way...
I was going to suggest Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass before I finished reading your post. Should be perfect for your plans.
If you don’t mind driving a little, the White Mountains tick all the boxes.
Posted By: BFR Re: Easy hikes with good views at altitude? - 05/01/21 11:05 PM
Trailmaster Peak.
Hi climby_climber,

I've been up Gould and Dragon many times and it's no walk in the park. The scramble up to the summit is very exposed and steep and some minor climbing skills will be needed to reach both summit blocks. If you are not sure if your friends are in good physical shape, then I would recommend not taking them to those peaks (Kearsarge Pass would probably be ok for them).

You could take them up to Horseshoe Meadows and hike up to Trail Peak (11,600ft) from Trail Pass or even Cirque Peak (12,900ft) via New Army Pass. Both have great views but are much easier than Gould and Dragon. Plan on getting acclimated before you take yourself and your friends up to high elevation as this will help you succeed in summiting these peaks.

Good luck and have a great time up there!
Many hikes in the Mammoth Lakes area:
Mammoth Mountain (approx. elev. 11K' and trail head near Mammoth Mountain Inn - elev. approx. 9K')

Mammoth Crest approx. 4 miles round trip. You can go farther, hiking along the crest. (Elev. approx. 11K - trail head at Lake George)
[Linked Image]

Crystal Lake (approx. 3 miles round trip - elevation approx. 10K') Sandy beach on south side for those willing to brave the cold. Trailhead also at Lake George
[Linked Image]

Gaylor Peak - Trailhead just inside of Yosemite Park Tioga Pass entrance - not necessary to enter park to hike:
[Linked Image]

for more options.
Posted By: yvonne Re: Easy hikes with good views at altitude? - 05/04/21 11:29 PM
Seconding what most said already...Trail Peak is a fun half day hike; Cottonwood Pass is really lovely, ticks alot of Sierra boxes (trees, open views, spring flowers), as well as Trailmaster peak. Definitely a drive to the White Mtns will give them some oohs and ahs as well without worrying about conditioning. Those should be a really fun 2-3 days trip with great views all close to LP. If you're feeling adventurous, drive up to Cerro Gordo! have fun! Gaylor Peak is a super pretty peak/trail too...
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