The 4.0-mile trail to 11,760-foot Kearsarge Pass switchbacks up a sunny slope towards its namesake mountain pass, providing access to a sparkling High Sierra lake basin, the John Muir Wilderness, and the dramatic backcountry mountain scenery of Kings Canyon … From the lakes, the trail seems to go straight up the mountain. The trail to Kearsarge Pass, which starts at the west end of the trailhead parking area, wastes no time gaining elevation. Contact Us, Public Lands Equity and Resilience (PLER), https://www.calwild.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/DSCN8133-1024x768.jpg, ACTION ALERT: Prevent BLM Going to Drillers, EVENT: Toast to the Central Coast, Oct. 10 in Ventura, https://www.calwild.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/IMG_8650-1024x683.jpg, Turtle Mountains Wilderness Hike to Mopah Springs, https://www.calwild.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Turtle-Mountains-1024x768.jpg, Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail, https://www.calwild.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Big-cone-spruce.jpg, Executive Director’s Report, December 2020. The bear did not even flinch at loud noises and only left when all the food was done. Lewis Creek and Kennedy Pass 7/1 - Trail mostly clear, a few downed trees, Trail kind of disappears for a short period of time just after Frypan Meadow, but then picks up again. Continue a little farther to connect with the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail as they travel through. Would recommend! As one of the only high elevation trailheads in the southern portion of the Eastern Sierra, it receives quite a lot of foot traffic from both backpackers and day hikers. So just be prepared. Through hikers on the JMT/PCT commonly use the trail to resupply in Independence. If you are traveling to the trailhead from a low-elevation area, please also keep in mind that you should acclimate to the high elevation before hiking to the Pass, perhaps by camping at the developed campground (Onion Valley Campground), located about 100 yards from the trailhead, the night before your hike. Here is some advise: If you plan to camp near Kearsarge lakes be very BEAR conscience. The beauty of the JMT is that despite having these magnificent peaks, anyone in decent physical shape can do it. Update on the crampons, definitely needed now! Kearsarge Pass Trail. If you plan to make this hike an overnight trip, you will need to obtain a permit at an Inyo National Forest ranger station or visitor center. And now, in my final John Muir Trail trip report, we reach the grand finale…summiting Mt. Whitney via Kearsarge Pass and John Muir Trails, Mount Rixford from Onion Valley Campground. Kearsarge Pass has always been a trail I wanted to hike so I opt for that one. Amazing trail. Soak it all in, because you’re going to need all the energy you can get to get back over the pass. Kearsarge Pass is a popular destination for day hikers. We were also lucky the bear didn’t go for the bags since I still had a cliff bar in a pocket. At 2.5 miles you will arrive at Flower Lake (10,531 feet) where a small trail crosses Independence Creek and heads south toward Matlock and Bench Lakes. Stays fairly cold year round though. Whether young or young at heart, it’s the right combination of short and sweet with a few strenuous steep sections mixed in to test those snow legs and acclimate to winter traction. This description includes a side-trip to Matlock and Slim Lakes, which offer more seclusion and some great starter overnight spots. Absolutely beautiful. The Kearsarge Pass Trail takes you past a number of scenic lakes and in 7 miles over the pass to the John Muir Trail, which meanders for 23 miles through the John Muir Wilderness . After Kearsarge Pass you have entered Kings Canyon National Park, which is not dog friendly. Popular campsites are located to the north and east of Flower Lake. The last switchbacks before the pass are pure post holing, but the views make it worth it. We did not lock our bear canisters (face palm- the kind with the flat head screws on top). The Kearsarge Pass trail is extremely popular with day hikers as well as through hikers accessing the John Muir Trail. The trail is rated as difficult and is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and backpacking. Crampons are recommended in the winter. Great trail. Parking lot was full when I arrived at 8 am. Did it in early June. From Flower Lake to Kearsarge Pass, the trail is a smooth, steady grade, without the rocky steps found on many other trails. You will soon see a sign marking the boundary of the John Muir Wilderness. Beyond Kearsarge Pass, the trail enters Kings Canyon National Park, where it joins the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trail. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Great day hike to the Kearsage pass with extra credit for the Kearsage Lakes. Beyond Kearsarge Pass, the trail enters Kings Canyon National Park, where it joins the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trail. Kearsarge Pinnacles, seen from Kearsarge Pass, Kings Canyon National Park Thunderclouds had been building during the afternoon and I wanted to set up camp before any rain started. This trail was amazing. I recorded 14.2 total with the extra bit down to the lake. Hiked this trail back in August with my girlfriend and aussie dog Turbo. The road to Onion Valley is closed due to snow from about November to April. Woods Creek Trail to Kearsarge Pass Trail Aug 28, 2017 Kayla Browne. Whitney trail. Awesome 6.5 hour hike with breaks. Campfires are prohibited above 10,000' (3048m). Dogs are also able to use this trail. Park on a pullout on Onion Valley road (paved). The dates of operation can vary quite a bit depending on such factors as snowpack and road clearance. This is a very beautiful yet difficult trail. Independence is a small town that California Route 395 goes through. To descend, retrace your … The views over the pass are great, but the trail on the east side of the pass (which is the huge majority of this trail) is hot, dry, entirely sun-exposed with uneventful and unchanging scenery. The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway. Located in California's beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Inyo National Forest offers challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and unparalleled views. Trail Directions: The trail to Kearsarge Pass starts at the west end of the parking area, where you will see a bulletin board. From there it is a short downhill journey to Kearsarge Pass and the town of Independence. From the pass breathtaking views encompass the Kearsarge Lakes, the Kearsarge Pinnacles and the Kings-Kern Divide. If you are making this an overnight trip, be sure to bring a bear canister to carry those items with you. We then heard fellow campers yelling bear and pointing at our campsite. Everything that the sierras are embodied in this trail. Until near the end, it stays high above the valley with constant sweeping views. At about 0.3 miles you will see a wooden sign that indicates that the Golden Trout Lakes trail is to the right and the Kearsarge Pass trail is to the left. We tracked 5 miles up to the Pass where you had the option to continue down to the lakes which we did not do so we did 10 miles round trip. Kearsarge via the Winslow Trail is the perfect beginner trek for those new to winter hiking. The John Muir Trail (so you get to hike part of the JMT without having to go through the JMT Permit process) The Mount Whitney Trail. Kearsage North Trail Begin your hike on the Kearsarge North trail where you will pass by a residential area. This makes for an unpleasant slog, as apart from a couple of nice lakes along the way, the scenery is unchanging and unimpressive, making the hot, dry hike feel like more of a chore, especially at the upper elevation rockfields. This extremely popular trail is only 4.7 miles long and gains about 2,660 feet in elevation. Challenging in a good way. 3, Jan. 1918: 340, 342.) The trail begins climbing switchbacks on moderate grades through sagebrush and manzanita. Strenuous, but doable for most hikers. Kearsarge Pass is a pass in the Sierra Nevada of California. I arrived at 7:30AM on Sunday and got the last spot in the circle. But the trail has been extensively rerouted since then to a more moderate grade, and almost every other source has the mileage as 5.5 miles. However, the scenery improves once over Kearsarge Pass. From north to south, here are the resupply options. Everyone knows to bring a bear canister and lock up your food at night and put it far away, however, we were naive about daytime bear activity. This is made up for by stops at a series of 5 lakes, of which I think Gilbert Lake is the prettiest. The bear devoured the entire canister (luckily only one) while we watched him enjoy it all. At the top of the switchbacks the trail traverses a boulder field and arrives at Gilbert Lake (10,417 feet). If you plan your hike for the right time during the summer, the trail will be surrounded by beautiful and interesting wildflowers including the corn lily, Crimson Columbine, Sphenosciadium, and Kelley’s lily. Aug 9, 2017 Silvia Choi. Permits may be reserved up to six months in advance at www.recreation.gov. Kearsarge Pass Trail Features: The Kearsarge Pass trailhead begins at Onion Valley (9,200 feet) and travels to Kearsarge Pass (11,800 feet). Onion Valley is about 15 miles west of downtown Independence, at the end of Onion Valley Road. Overall, I thought this trail was great. The Kearsarge Pass Trailhead is at the main parking lot for the Onion Valley Campground, a facility near Independence, California run by the US Forest Service. Bears are very active in this area, hikers camping on the east side of the pass are required to carry bear-resistant food canisters TRAIL SUMMARY TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 9,200 feet HIGHEST ELEVATION - 11,823 feet @ Kearsarge Pass About 0.5 miles below the pass, there is a branch trail to Kearsarge and Bullfrog Lakes. The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway is a 75 mile loop trail that links four New Hampshire State Parks: Sunapee, Winslow, Rollins, Wadleigh. Completed the trail 7/26/20. Kearsarge Pass is one of best trails to access the Sierra from the East side. The trail climbs through forest and alpine tundra past multiple lakes, Including Little Pothole, Gilbert, and Flower Lakes. The hike from from Onion Valley campground to Kearsarge Pass covers 10 miles roundtrip on a very scenic trail with nearby views of five alpine lakes. The Sierras have … © 2020 California Wilderness Coalition520 Third Street, Suite 208 Oakland, CA 94607(510) 451-1450 | You can make this in-and-out hike as long or as short as you would like. Go in late June/early July for the greenest experience. No need for crampons! Nearby Recommended Routes. (KEARSARGE PASS TO MT. May 13, 2016 Trevor Bowers. Each backcountry ranch and packer has their own requirements and specifications for shipping containers and shipping date windows so check their websites or contact them for the latest information. The bear proceeded to inspect fellow campsites for food as you could hear along the lake other people shouting “BEAR”. Beautiful trail in winter, I was surprised at how not cold I was for it being close to 30. No bear boxes yet. Currently the road has 0 snow on it, and is very easy to drive. The trail also links three New Hampshire State Forests: Gile, Kearsarge and Shadow Hill as well as one Wildlife Management Area: Bog Mountain. The trail then climbs a series of switchbacks to the basin below Kearsarge Pass and then ascends on long switchbacks across more talus-covered slopes along the north side of the basin. Did this as a day hike and it was incredible. We cut out trip a day shorter. Not as smokey as it is nearby in Independence. I didn’t bring enough warm clothes and it dropped down to freezing at night with crazy wind chill so just be prepared for that. At Flower Lake the trail curves to the north, ascending on moderate grades through scattered pines before turning northwest again and climbing along the base of the steep talus slopes to the north of the trail. My 9 year old completed and couldn't stop talking about the incredible views. Ps the bear came back 2 more times in hopes we hadn’t learned yet. Once you pass Gilbert Lake, the trail begins to climb again. Tax ID#: 33-0051202 It's extremely cold, and the trail has between 3'' (at the trailhead) to 2'(near the pass) of snow, so bring gaiters. Beautiful area! If you can get a permit do this hike. Hiking trail near Lone Pine, California. And at one time I suspect it was. It was by far the steepest one yet but not too difficult because it was fairly short. At 3.2 miles the trail briefly turns to the southwest, arriving at a great overlook above Heart Lake, 3.5 miles from the trailhead. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. The trailhead is at 9,200 feet and the crest is only a 4.8 mile hike to 11,823 feet, a 2500 foot gain. This was my first backpacking trip and even as it was a stretch I wouldn’t have done it any other way. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Awesome hike! A lot of switchbacks and definitely a hard push at the end.. Keep in mind that this area is an active bear area. The rocky hillsides around the lake shore, lined with willows and pines, are often used as campsites. This is a very accessible hike despite the elevation, as it only gains 2600 ft on its way to the 11,760 ft high point. For example, on this map, Harrison lists the distance from the Onion Valley Trail head to Kearsarge Pass as 4.7 miles. So after a short dawdle on the pass I dropped over the west side and chewed through the trail down to the lakes. Pacific Crest Trail Association 1331 Garden Highway, Suite 230 Sacramento, CA 95833; 916-285-1846 main 916-285-1865 fax; PCTA is a 501(c)(3). The one-way mileage to Little Pothole Lake is 1.5, 2.2 miles to Gilbert Lake, and 2.5 miles to Flower Lake. From here you can see nearby University Peak (13,589 feet). Length 42.4 miElevation gain 12148 ftRoute type Loop Kearsarge Pass Trail is one of the easiest and shortest ways to connect Inyo National Forest to Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada Range. Ranger stated one is coming back after being repaired. Great for preparing for Whitney. I wouldn’t carry water after the first lakes you get to as it would make getting to Kearsarge lake and getting up and over the pass much easier. Season is from June-early October, but snow may be present in June and starts at high elevations as early as October. Most of the lakes were frozen, but still nice. Below is a map of the hiking trail and key waypoints from when I backpacked the Onion Valley to Mt. Kearsarge Pass Trail Beginning at Onion Valley, the Kearsarge Pass Trail travels through the John Muir Wilderness. Kearsarge Pass is a popular destination for day hikers. Cross Kearsarge Pass and descend down the rocky trail to Bullfrog Lake. Scenery along this part of the trail is much more reminiscent of the desert wasteland of the Owens Valley beneath you than of typical upper montane forest. Kearsarge Pass Trail is a popular trail with relatively quick access to the JMT. Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Start as early as possible so you can get a campsite but this is really and amazing hike. If you choose to hike all the way to Kearsarge Pass, the mileage is 4.8 miles one way.

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