Kearsarge Pass Trail to Kearsarge Lakes is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Independence, CA that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Hiked this Trail September 8th thru 11th 2016 hiked to the end of the Kearsarge basin explored JMT Camped our third night Kearsarge Lakes hiked out on 11th perfect weather great experience fantastic doorway to Kings Canyon.
Beautiful trail with views of lakes at every level. Obtained permits at Independence visitor center. Parked at Onion Campground trail head. First night camped at Gilbert Lake. Second night at Matlock Lake. This area is busy on the weekend around Gilbert and Flower lake. Definitely recommend this trail with backpacking overnight to experience beautiful scenery and depending where you camp, some solitude. Completed trail to the pass with amazing views into Kings Canyon NP mid August 2016.
A great trail and pass crossing that will push you but well worth the work and plenty of terrific camp sites around the lakes on the other side.
Absolutely amazing trail. We went over the pass and down to the JMT taking the higher trail. Heading back via the lakes.
Quite busy but very pleasant and very runable!
This is a beautiful hike. There was still big patches of snow on the ground on the last quarter of the hike. Couldn't ask for better weather either.
Took about 3 hours getting up and almost two coming down
Ran into a lot of serious PCT hikers two months into their journey Turns out that it's a great artery off the main trail to restock at Independence,
I would definitely do it again
This is definitely my favorite hike so far. We did this hike on May 28, 2016 and a good chunk of the trail is still covered in thick snow which makes the trail hard to find as you get closer to the pass. Luckily this trail is very popular and all the shoe prints in the snow helped me not get lost! The trail was easier than I thought it would be and it was snowing most of the way up and down the trail. It took us a good 5.5 hrs to complete it. The views were AMAZING! A definite must if you're in the area and I highly recommend camping at Onion Valley Campground!
Hard as a day hike but worth it if you can't get permits. The hardest part is feeling the elevation once you get past heart lake and to the top. I was probably moving at .5 miles an hour for the last 30 mins of the hike. Bring plenty of water, obviously! Went in October to escape the LA heat. We didn't swim in the lakes because it's high enough elevation to keep it cool so that we weren't dying to jump in. We got a late start so parking was tight but we made a spot out of nothing. Beautiful turquoise lakes :) not much foliage at the top, but a rewarding view once you reach the pass. Go!
The view from the top is breathtaking!
Worth every single step... just beautiful!!...
Hiked over the pass and down into Vidette Meadow to meet my son, daughter-in-law and daughter who were hiking the JMT. It was strenuous but well worth the effort.
One of my favorite hikes in California. It is strenuous and will be an all-day thing. The views from the top are breathtaking. We brought our little coyote dog with us and she loved it! Make sure to bring plenty of water!
Beautiful hike up.... 8500 ft.... Spring melt.... Frozen lakes and stunning views
4 to 5 hours up to the pass.... With time to stop, take in the scenery and enjoy a sandwich at the top...... I'll be back
I have been to the top 6 times. I come into the Rea Lakes loop this way. This has to be one of my most favorite spots in the world next to Half Dome. Go early and watch the sun come up.
Hiked to the pass & back on Fathers Day. The scenery is absolutely stunning with all the waterfalls, lakes & high, snow dusted peaks. Big Pothole still had some ice floating on the surface. Met many PCT hikers heading into town to re-supply. Added Golden Trout Lake Trail on the return trip. This one was actually more my style - there wasn't another soul & it's apparent this is a rarely used trail. Next time I may try to loop it by going over Mt. Gould.
Kings canyon is my favorite place to hike. This hike starts at around 8,000 off of onion valley dr . Waterfall visible from parking lot and steep almost right away. Very windy around sunset camped at flower lake very peaceful here and a few sequoias around. I love sequoias at sunset because they almost glow orange. Next day strenuous hike past heart shaped lake and a few others to the treeless kearsarge pass 11760 ft. Down to kearsarge lake where we spent the next 2 nights fishing and jumping in the lake. Exploring and gazing at the 14,000 ft peaks ! Great getaway from your hectic life. Leave your cell phone off as there is no reception the entire hike. I highly recommend bringing a lightweight one person blow up raft to float around the lake on .
This is 4.7 miles each way for a total of 9.4 miles. This makes for a hard day hike or can be split up by camping at either Gilbert or Flower lake on the way. If you go over the pass, the beauty is even better! I have done this trail 4 times in my life and I will be a repeat costumer! Love love love! Park at Onion Valley at 9,200 feet and climb 4.7 miles to the pass at 11,760 feet. It will literally take your breath away! Don't forget to reserve a wilderness permit and bear canister if staying over night. Bears will eat your food as it has happened to me more than once.
First, the Overview of this hike states 8.3 miles out and back, but the description states 5.5 miles to the pass, so there is a few mile discrepancy on this site. The reality is closer to 5.5 each way as stated in the description. You will add to this distance if you visit one of the lakes to soak your feet or take a swim.
This is an awesome hike; rugged mountain views, beautiful blue and green lakes, and vistas that will take your breath away.
The trail has a nice grad to it, there are no serious uphill climbs, although its almost all uphill. This is a 7 hour round trip hike for those who are not trying to set a record. We really enjoyed this hike and will do it again.
I have done this trail with the Rae Lakes Loop twice now... 56.5 miles total ( give or take} , Once in 2010 and again in 2012. Going back again this year for a 3peat..2013.. That should tell you how awesome it is.
Joined the Rae Lakes Loop from this pass. It adds over ten miles to the loop but WELL worth it