LocationEastern Sierra Nevada, CA
Activity GuideBackpacking, Fly Fishing, Peakbagging, Day Tripping
Mt. Langley is a lesser known 14er in the Eastern Sierra, just south of the much more famous- and crowded- Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous United States). You’ll likely get a permit easily and won’t find many crowds, but you won’t find a trail up the mountain either.
- Backpackers staging campground with bear lockers and fire pits at the trailhead
- The beautiful Cottonwood Lakes halfway from Horseshoe Meadows to the summit
- Several spots along the trail for water
- The Cottonwood Lakes trail takes you across New Army Pass, the current maintained trail to the summit. You can get on Old Army Pass to avoid an elevation loss of 300 feet, but this is a less maintained route.
- Once close to the summit, stay left to find a “trail” of rock cairns leading you up the easiest route. If you move too far right, you’ll end up scrambling and even climbing over boulders, like we did (although we did get lucky and saw a White-tailed Jackrabbit).
- Long Lake is a great place to camp, with two tree-covered areas very near the lake to pitch a tent.
- Be cautious. Langley is a 14er, so it poses the typical threats, including unpredictable weather, altitude sickness, hypothermia and exhaustion. We saw a lot of hikers pushing and peer-pressuring their friends, and a man died on the mountain the week we were up there. Don’t get “summit fever” and push anyone in your party over their edge.