Kearsarge Pass Trail


Lake Along Kearsarge Pass Trail

Beginning at Onion Valley, the Kearsarge Pass Trail travels through the John Muir Wilderness. The trail climbs through forest and alpine tundra and past several lakes, including Little Pothole, Gilbert, and Flower Lakes. It is 4 miles to the top of 11,700-foot Kearsarge Pass. Beyond the pass, the trail continues into Kings Canyon National Park, where it joins the John Muir Trail near Bullfrog Lake. From the trailhead at Onion Valley to the John Muir Trail junction is 6.5 miles.

Common Destinations: Kearsarge Pass, Kearsarge Lake, John Muir Trail

Download area map for trail names

Kearsarge Pass Trail Recreation Guide (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 (gas, food, lodging) Lone Pine or Bishop (full service, hospital)
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.



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  Area/Length : 
8 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
9,600 ft. - 11,700 ft.


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