We have been asked from time to time how do you get to Mt. Whitney from various airports in SoCal and southern Nevada.
Our personal preference for airport arrivals is Ontario (ONT). The terminal is new it's freeway close and if you arrive during the morning rush hour you will be going against the flow of traffic. Los Angeles (LAX) and Orange Co. (SNA) both present major traffic headaches during the morning rush hours. Ontario and Burbank (BUR) don't. Ontario is a about the best during the evening rush hour but it's best to clear out of this area no later than 3:30 PM.
If you want to lose your money before heading to Lone Pine we've included directions from Las Vegas. The drive to Beatty, NV is pretty easy, however, our experience driving through Death Valley is nil.
One other thing, if airfare
price is an issue and not location check airfares into Long Beach and Palm
Springs. We were able to save $200 by flying in to Palm Springs from Dallas
rather than ONT during New Years 2003. Both of the airports have limited
Exiting the Airport take either Archibald or Haven north to I-10 east. At second exit from Haven, third from Archibald, you transition to I-15 North, the sign is marked Las Vegas. Your trip on I-15 will be about 30 miles. Exit I-15 at U.S. 395 in Hesperia, there is only one direction here, and in about 170 miles you are in Lone Pine. In the middle of town make a left at Whitney Portal Rd.
If you need gas get it before you leave the ONT area. The cheapest gas on this trip once you get north of Kramer Junction is at the gas station at Carl's Jr. in Lone Pine, by pennies.
Outfitter on the Way: REI, 12218 Foothill Blvd. Rancho Cucamonga, Exit I-15 at Foothill Blvd. in Rancho Cucamonga, make left onto Foothill go past the light at Day Creek Blvd. and make a right in shopping center.
Distance: ~200 Miles
When exiting the Airport take Century Blvd. east a couple of miles to I-405. Enter the freeway going north, the 405 will eventually transition into I-5 in the northern San Fernando Valley at this point you have driven 40 + miles. This area is where a lot of freeways come together so you have to be careful, your next transition is to CA 14 north (Palmdale/Lancaster). Once you are on 14 it's clear sailing to the junction with U.S. 395 in the Inyokern/Ridgecrest area. Take 395 north and it's about it's about an hour to Lone Pine. Make a left at Whitney Portal Rd.
The last place you can get reasonably price gas is in the Palmdale/Lancaster area. If you are hungry and what to stop for lunch do so no later than Mojave because after that your options shrink considerable.
Outfitter on the Way: Adventure 16, Exit I-405 at Pico Blvd. in W. Los Angeles
Distance: ~220 Miles
When exiting the airport take MacArthur Blvd. north or east, and I know this is confusing, and enter I-405 north. Stay to your right and transition to CA 55 north, the sign is marked Riverside (I think). You will take this freeway in it's entirety transitioning to CA 91 east to Corona where you transition to I-15 north. In about 45 miles you will exit the freeway at U.S. 395 and 170 miles later you will be in Lone Pine there you make a left at Whitney Portal Rd.
If you need gas get it no later than Victorville/Adelanto in the High Desert on 395. The cheapest gas on this trip once you get north of Kramer Junction is at the gas station at Carl's Jr. in Lone Pine, by pennies.
If you want to stop for a meal exit I-15 at 4th St. in Ontario, the first exit north of I-10, for Ontario Mills if you can't find something you like there you have a problem. The last place you can reasonably get food is at the 395/CA 58 junction about 70 miles north of the 15/395 junction.
Outfitter on the Way: REI, Exit CA 55 at McFadden Ave. in Santa Ana
Distance: ~260 Miles
When exiting the airport take Hollywood Way north. When you get to I-5 enter the freeway northbound. In about 10 miles or so transition to northbound CA 14. You will be on 14 for a while until it converges with U.S. 395 in the Inyokern/Ridgecrest area. Take 395 north to Lone Pine and make a left at Whitney Portal Rd.
The last place you can get reasonably price gas is in the Palmdale/Lancaster area. If you are hungry and what to stop for lunch do so before Mojave because after that your options shrink considerably.
Outfitter on the Way: Sport Chalet, 39180 10th Street West, Palmdale, exit CA 14 at Palmdale Blvd.
Distance: ~195 Miles
First off I have never gone to the eastern Sierra from Las Vegas and the directions herein are those of the SoCal AAA.
Exiting the Airport take I-215, now I haven't been to the airport in Las Vegas since before I-215 was built. Transition from 215 to I-15 north, now stay on the freeway so you don't lose your ass in some casino, as you approach downtown you want to take U.S. 95 north, the sign could be marked Reno or Tonopah. Now there are a couple of ways to go NV 160, NV 373 but AAA says to take NV 374. So in Beatty take 374 into Death Valley. The map shows the road forking about 20 miles from Beatty take the right fork and when you get to CA 190 you make a right. Continue on 190 to it's junction with CA 136. Take 136 around Owens Lake to U.S. 395 and make a right you will be in beautiful downtown Lone Pine in about 5 minutes. Make a left at Whitney Portal Rd.
Word of caution about driving through Death Valley. In the summer the temperature approaches 120º F consistently during the day, make sure you have a gallon or two per person for your travels through it.
I don't have a clue about food or lodging outside of Las Vegas but if you want to stay the night in Las Vegas we would highly recommend the following hotels:
For those with the big $$ it's The Rio Suite Hotel at Valley View & Flamingo and those on a budget go to either The Gold Coast at the same intersection or The Orleans at Tropicana & Arville.
If you are looking for semi-cheap eats go to the Carnival Buffet at The Rio. However, if want to celebrate your success or have your last meal, go to Hugo's Cellar in the Four Queens in downtown Las Vegas, make sure you bring someone else's American Express Card for this one.
Outfitter on the Way: Desert Rock Sport, 8201 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV, Exit I-15 at Charleston and go west to Durango/Charleston.
Distance: ~255 Miles
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Date of Last Change: 6/23/05