ApproachSee Getting There
Route DescriptionTrailhead Elevation: 10800 ft
One Way Distance per my GPS: 4.5 Miles
Approximate Hiking Time (one way uphill): 3.5 hours
Hike the well-established trail at the bottom of a rocky valley on the left side of the stream through a forest of Pines. After about a mile (just below 11600 ft), you will reach a place where you will have to cross to the right side of the stream (a few logs have been placed there to help you do that). Beware that the stream splits in this area. If you cross early, you will cross one stream. If you cross only 50 ft higher, you will have to cross two streams. Make sure you end up on the right side of the right stream.
After crossing the stream, you will find yourself above the treeline. Continue on the trail through a dense growth of bushes and up the right side of the cascading stream until you reach a boulder field (12000 ft). You will lose the trail here.
Cross to the left side of the stream and pick up the trail to reach the first and the smallest of the three Highland Mary Lakes. Follow the trail to the east shore of the second lake (12090 ft and 2 miles from trailhead).The third and the largest lake sits behind a hill to the east and is not visible. I could not find a trail access to this lake.
From the second lake, you can see Peak 13402 (with a flat top) about a mile and a half to the west. You can barely see the tip of Whitehead Peak from the extreme northern edge of the second Lake.
Follow the trail to the south end of the second lake. Maps show a trail that starts here and heads west to the saddle between Whitehead and 13402. I was not able to find this trail (but if you did find it, please follow it to avoid trampling the fragile alpine tundra). Turn west and go up the hills toward Whitehead Peak. You will not see the summit until you get close to it.
At around 12800 ft, you will reach the base of Whitehead Peak. The final ascend will be a walk-up.