The Mt. Whitney is a small, old-fashioned mom & pop place near the north end of Main Street (Hwy 395) with a classic neon sign. This stretch of street and the neon sign make a quick appearance near the beginning of the recent movie “Desert Son,” if you don’t blink (you may need to pause and back up to see it clearly). The motel has an older U-shaped single-story main building around a pool and parking spaces, and a two-story annex set back farther from the street with separate parking.
Last summer I stayed in the main building. I should have written a review when it was fresh in my mind but didn’t get around to it. I recall that the room was not huge, but it was comfortable and quiet even though it was close to 395. However, I have never found Lone Pine street sounds annoying, maybe because I like the town; in certain other places, I’d resent the smallest noise.
This time I was in the annex, where the windows are bigger to take advantage of an oblique view of the Sierra Nevada. I had a large room that would have been comfortable for a multi-day stay. The wi-fi worked well. The bathroom even had a whirlpool tub, which I didn’t use, but it would be a nice amenity for someone coming off Mt. Whitney or the Badwater Ultramarathon! The one minus, which I had also noticed last year, is the narrow parking spaces. They are the perfect size for compact cars to park and easily open doors. At motels, where vehicles of all sizes come and go often, loading and unloading occupants and luggage of all ages and sizes, these spaces were not at all adequate. I parked on a small off-street strip by the side of the motel instead, to avoid damage to my doors or someone else’s. (In the morning, I saw that someone else had followed suit).
Lone Pine is a great strolling town, and the Mt. Whitney Motel makes a good base. You could walk to many of the local businesses, the museum, public library, hospital, or most of the town’s churches. A few steps away is a nice park with tables, grills, a playground, and scads of shade trees. Nearby are restaurants, the main grocery store (Joseph’s Bi-Rite, an Eastern Sierra institution); and shops selling outdoor goods and equipment, craft items and curios, and general merchandise. Most businesses are local—part of Lone Pine’s charm. In the afternoon I walked to the Totem Café hoping for dinner, but it was too early so I had a fine rib-eye steak sandwich on sourdough and a salad, which was as good as dinner. I saw at least two taco trucks on Main Street! So big cities needn’t think they “own” street food. At least one was open until well after dark. Lone Pine is where visitors converge for Death Valley, Mt. Whitney, and the Eastern Sierra itself, and there is plenty of foot traffic on warm summer nights.
I still suggest the restored hotel section of the Dow Villa for folks wanting a more upper-crust experience or a historic lodging in this small town, but for visitors looking for local atmosphere and friendly people, I can also recommend the Mt. Whitney Motel. And I recommend Lone Pine!
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- Also Known As:
- Mt. Whitney Hotel Lone Pine
- Mt Whitney Motel