Mount Warren is one of the 247 peaks listed by The Sierra Club, Sierra Peaks Section
in their Sierra Peaks Section Peak List
19th Edition, August 2001. These mountains are also listed here on Summit Post at Sierra Section Peak List
in Section 22 Tioga Pass to Bond Pass.
Mount Warren is located on the eastern boundary of the Hoover Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest.
It is just north of Hwy 120, west of Lee Vining, and east of Tioga Pass. The Inyo NF web site says “First established as a Primitive area in 1931, then a Wild area in 1957, the Hoover Wilderness was one of the original members of the National Wilderness Preservation System. At 48,601 acres, it is a fairly small wilderness area, accessible from Yosemite National Park, Humboldt/Toiyabe and the Inyo National Forests. With its extremely rugged terrain, magnificent scenery and well-maintained trail system, the Hoover sees heavy visitation, especially in the popular 20 Lakes Basin area. Visitors can expect to see black bears, rainbow, brook and golden trout, and harsh, varied weather systems.” The Hoover Wilderness forms the eastern boundary for a portion of Yosemite National Park.
At this time there is no day hiking quota for the Hoover Wilderness
for trailhead hiking on any designated trail. Mount Warren is only 263 feet shorter than Mount Conness
to the north and Mount Dana
to the northwest.
Mount Warren is not a technical hike unless you want to visit the area in the winter. From November through June the area is usually covered with up to 10 feet of snow and is only accessible by snowshoe or cross country skis. Mount Warren is located in the Hoover Wilderness, so no snowmobiles are allowed. Mount Warren ranks at #162 on the California top prominence peaks
with 2,007 ft of prominence. There is a trail only about ¼ of the way to the summit and then it is a Class 2 scramble from there.
There is an interesting hole in the ground that is between Mount Warren and Lee Vining Peak to the south. It is marked with elevation 10,822 ft on the topo. I wish I had explored it when I was up there.
There are several different routes to the summit of Mount Warren and there are different ways to approach the peak also. I used the Warren Fork trailhead located next to Highway 120 or the Tioga Pass Road. The area is located east of Yosemite National Park and west of Hwy 395 at Lee Vining. 1.4 miles east of Ellery Dam there is a big “U” shaped turn in the highway at an elevation of about 9,000 ft. This is where the trailhead is located. There is parking on the south side of the road. The trail starts on the north side of the road. Be careful parking and re-entering the highway because it is kind of a blind turn getting back on the highway.
The only Red Tape here is if you want to camp overnight in the Hoover Wilderness. You will need to pick up an overnight backpacking permit at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center. Also, check with the ranger station for the use of bear canisters in the wilderness. Dogs must be under control at all times and pack goats are prohibited in the Hoover Wilderness.
Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center
P.O. Box 429 (North of Lee Vining on Hwy 395)
Lee Vining, CA 93541
(760) 647-3044 or TDD (760) 647-3045
There are lots of camping areas within a few miles of the trailhead. Highway 120 is lined with campgrounds from Lee Vining to Yosemite. I saw several cars with people car camping in the large parking area on the south side of Highway 120 at the trailhead. Many of these campgrounds are closed in the winter, so call ahead to the Forest Service to find out about access in the winter.
Lee Vining area campgrounds
There are several walk-in tent camping spots within a few hundred yards of the trailhead. These look to be on a first come first served basis. They are located along the trail between Highway 120 and the Hoover Wilderness Boundary.
Once off the trail and between 10,100 and 10,500 ft you could bivy in several places. There are even bivy sites near the summit if you want to do that, but this hike can be done in 5-6 hours.
The mountain is not accessible in the Winter and Spring unless you are in to winter sports (ski/snowshoe). During the Summer and Fall, the area is subject to thunderstorms and you should check the weather forecast before hiking. The closest town is Lee Vining, California
When to Climb
The best time to climb Mount Warren is in the summer or fall. During the winter and spring the area is covered with deep snow and the roads are not cleared for vehicle travel.