Backpack Mount Langley

Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead

Distance

21 Miles

Elevation Gain

4000 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Alan Leung

Forest
Lake
River

Enjoy Excellent views of Inyo National Forest from the summit. This is a great overnighter, but can also be done as a strenuous day hike.

Mt. Langley sits four hours north of Los Angeles and is one of the easier 14ers to bag in California. Mt. Whitney absorbs most of the foot traffic, so enjoy the relative quiet and seclusion.

The trailhead starts at Horseshoe Meadows/Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead Campgrounds and meanders for 7.5 miles along the Cottonwood Lakes Trail, climbing only 2,500 feet. Once at Cottonwood Lakes, pick a spot to set up camp. My favorites are near Cottonwood Lakes #3 and #5 (well marked). There are usually plenty of spots, but the permit quota is 60 per day - checking in with the Eastern Sierra Ranger Station before your trip about permit capacity, weather, and other vital details is definitely a good idea.

In any case, the lovely weekend stroll ends abruptly at the base of Mt. Langley. Here, you will find a sharp, 4 mile long ascent from roughly 10,000 feet to 14,026 feet. You'll want to ditch the heavy packs and opt for either a daypack or hydration belt. It will be challenging, especially if you are not acclimated to strenuous, high altitude activities. I find Excedrin or Midol with plenty of water to be very helpful with the altitude headaches.

However, once you summit Mt. Langley, you will be rewarded for your efforts. The views are breathtaking. To the south, there is a sheer cliff face that suddenly opens up to a panorama of Death Valley, while Mt. Whitney looms to the north. Take a second to absorb the grandeur before returning to camp and making the trek back to Horseshoe Meadows.

Community Photos

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $100/night

Starry Night

Squaw Valley, California

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Mt. Langley Summit

My first US 14er. Pretty rad. Can do it in a day if you are motivated and willing to push it a bit, which you don't need a permit for at all. I enjoyed it more than my summit of Whitney with fewer people in addition to it being my first time to the Sierras. Great adventure!

Distance

21 Miles

Elevation Gain

4000 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Alan Leung

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