Sawmill Pass Trail


The Sawmill Pass Trail is steep and strenuous. It climbs through the John Muir Wilderness to the Sierra Crest, gaining more than 6,700 feet of elevation, and enters Kings Canyon National Park in the Woods Creek area. There is no water or shade at the trailhead or along the first few miles of the trail. A pre-dawn start is recommended during the summer and early autumn.

Common Destinations: Sawmill Meadow, Sawmill Pass, Woods Lake, John Muir Trail

Download area map for trail names

Sawmill Pass Trail Recreation Guide (pdf)

At a Glance

  • Wilderness permits may be reserved up to 6 months in advance at .
Permit Info:
  • Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park.
  • Permits are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers.
  • May 1 to November 1: overnight visits limited to 10 people / day.
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Independence, CA
Information Center:

General Information


From US Highway 395, 8 miles north of Independence, CA:

  • Turn west on Black Rock Springs Rd.
  • Drive to Tinemaha Rd ("Old 395") and turn north.
  • Drive 1.2 miles to Division Creek Powerhouse Rd. and turn west.
  • Drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
  • Trailhead is on south side of road.



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  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
4,586 ft. - 11,346 ft.