Kearsarge Pass Trail


Lake Along Kearsarge Pass Trail

Beginning at Onion Valley Trailhead, the Kearsarge Pass Trail travels through the John Muir Wilderness. The trail climbs through forest and alpine tundra and past several lakes, on its way to 11,700-foot Kearsarge Pass. Beyond the pass, the trail enters Kings Canyon National Park, where it joins the John Muir Trail.

Kearsarge Pass Trail Recreation Guid (pdf)

At a Glance

Reservations: Wilderness permits may be reserved up to 6 months in advance at
Permit Info:
  • Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips.
  • Permits are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers.
  • May 1 to Nov. 1: Overnight visitors limited to 60 people per day.
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Independence, CA
Water: Water from creeks, lakes, and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead. Along trails, bury human waste away from water sources.
Information Center:

General Information


From Highway 395, in Independence, CA, turn west on Market Street. Onion Valley is about 15 miles west of Independence.

The road is usually open from May to November, depending on snow conditions.

General Notes:

Traveling in Bear Country

Historically, there has been a high level of bear activity in the Kearsarge Pass area. From Memorial Day weekend through October 31, all food, food related trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers.

At the trailhead, all food, trash and scented items must be removed from vehicles and stored in the bear proof lockers that are located in parking areas. Dispose of trash in bear proof trash cans.

For more information about traveling in bear bear country, click here...



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