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, including Little Pothole, Gilbert, and Flower Lakes on its way to 11,700-foot Kearsarge Pass. The trail continues beyond the pass to join the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon National Park. This is an active bear area.
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.
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.
Area/Length : 8 miles
Elevation : 9,600 ft. - 11,700 ft.
Current Conditions: 5/23/2012 The trail is clear of snow and passable to stock. Hikers continuing on to Glen or Forester Pass should prepare for technical conditions.
Open Season: Road closed in winter.
Closest Towns: Independence, CA
Information Center: Wilderness permit information (760) 873-2483