Backpack Mount Langley

Yosemite Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead

Added by Alan Leung

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.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag & pad
  • Food & water
  • Bear resistant container
  • Trekking poles
  • Warm clothes
  • Daypack (optional)
  • First aid kit with migraine medicine
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

21 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4000 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Forest
Lake
River

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

12 months ago

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!

12 months ago

Added by Alan Leung

More Adventures Nearby

Backpack to Vogelsang and Merced Lake High Sierra Camps

Yosemite / Lyell Canyon Trailhead

If you love the idea of backpacking to remote mountain destinations, but shudder at the thought of carrying a heavy pack and digging a hole to poop in, the High Sierra Camps are a great option.

Julie & Brian
6 Saves

Backpack Gem Lake Loop in Emigrant Wilderness

Yosemite / Crabtree Trailhead

The Gem Lake Loop is located in Emigrant Wilderness, which borders Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, and offers incredible views, smaller crowds, and diverse terrain.

Nancy Lappetito
5 Saves

Snowshoe to Dewey Point, Yosemite NP

Yosemite / Dewey Point

Take the one-hour shuttle ride from the Yosemite Lodge to the Yosemite Ski Area, so that you don't have to worry about driving in the snowy conditions, or finding parking.

Julie & Brian
9 Saves