Shepherd Pass Trail


Some sections of the Shepherd Pass trail were washed out by a flash flood on July 22, 2013.

Starting along Symmes Creek, the Shepherd Pass trail climbs a demanding 6,000 feet from the valley floor to the 12,000-foot Shepherd Pass where it crosses the Sierra Crest. Descending into Sequoia National Park the trail continues to the Tyndall Creek junction of the John Muir Trail. It pays to be fit and start early for this pass.

In many years, a large steep snow bank lingers year-round at the top of this challenging pass. Due to the snowfield, steep terrain and talus, the Shepherd Pass trail is frequently impassable to stock above about 10,800 feet. Vehicles with stock trailers should consider parking at the Shepherd Pack trail parking lot.

Photos of flash flood damage, July 2013:
Three hikers pick their way through a washed out section of trail.
This section of trail is not passable to stock.

Download area map for trail location.
To purchase more detailed maps or guidebooks of the area, visit

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Significant snow at higher elevations. Flood damage in several locations. Trail is passable to hikers, but not to stock.
Reservations: Reserve up to 6 months in advance at
Day use does not require a permit.
Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness. Permits are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers. 
Restrictions: - No campfires at Anvil Camp; No campfires above 10,400ft.
- All food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers, or counter balanced at least 15 feet above the ground, and 10 feet horizontally from a tree trunk.
- Grazing prohibited east of Shepherd Pass. Camping with stock is prohibited at Anvil Camp.
- John Muir Wilderness Regulations Apply
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon wilderness regulations apply if entering the National Park.
Closest Towns: Independence, CA
Water: Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: No Restrooms. Bury human waste away from water sources.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center: (760) 876-6200
For wilderness permit information: (760) 873-2483

General Information


Low clearance vehicles and vehicles with trailers should park at the Shepherd Pack Trailhead. Then, Visitors can reach the Shepherd Pass Trail via the 1.4 mile long Shepherd Pack Trail.


From US Highway 395, in Independence, CA:

  • Turn west on Market Street. Travel 4.3 miles to Foothill Rd.
  • Turn south on Foothill Rd and travel 2.8 miles to the Shepherd Pack Trailhead.
  • Approximately 1/2 mile past the Shepherd Pack Trailhead, turn west on a small, rough dirt road.
  • Follow the main track approximately 1.3 miles to the Shepherd Pass Trailhead. This road in unpaved may be quite rough.



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