Sawtooth Pass Trail

HARD 16 reviews
#30 of 84 trails in

Sawtooth Pass Trail is a 10.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Three Rivers, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

10.9 miles
4301 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

rock climbing




wild flowers





no dogs

Sawtooth Pass has a brilliant perspective of Mineral King Valley, Lost Canyon, Monarch Lakes, and Columbine Lake. Sawtooth Pass in Mineral King Valley strafes the serrated edge of Sawtooth Peak, the largest prominence in the area at 12,343 ft. Climbing to the top of the pass reveals views of alpine glacial gems like Columbine Lake, Monarch Lakes, Mineral Peak and Mineral King Valley. Overnight backpacking or camping is a must when visiting Mineral King. Reaching Sawtooth Pass can be achieved in a day. Getting to the top of Sawtooth Peak is a tough scramble, and the trail does not go to the top. Wildlife is abundant and the landscape is massive, about 12,600 acres. A vast range of attributes including the geology, forest, and glacial lakes make this hike unique.

5 months ago

Now this my friends is a true hike! Beautiful views and a hell of a lot of work. My buddy and I did the upper saw tooth loop. About 45 miles. Tons of wild life and vegetation. We'd be hiking on rocks then be in fern forests. Read your map carefully because there is a lot of elevation drops to 8k then climbing back up to 11k. Tons of work. Plan your days accordingly and it will be such a great trip.

5 months ago

Amazing hike with a few options to continue on and connect to other trails. Sawtooth peak is also a great peak to be claimed by any peakbagger

8 months ago

Still very snowy (6/11/2017), picked out an old route on the north side (climber's left) of Monarch Creek to avoid the sketchy river crossing, rangers suggested this alternative despite the harder route-finding. Almost entirely snow past the first meadow where you'd normally cross the river. Made it to monarch lakes, and up to the pass in the AM (~1 hr from lakes). I'd recommend crampons & ice axe for the pass! It's all snow up to the ridge. Marmots are active! found one trying to get at my car when I hiked back down.

9 months ago

the lakes blew my mind!!
towards the end of 2016.
i cant wait to go back..

Monday, August 15, 2016

Great view. Difficult climb, but the way down was not as bad as I was expecting at all. The scree catches your feet in a similar way to going down sand, so while slipping is a concern, it is not as bad as many other steep trails I have had to climb down.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Awesome. we reached it on the back side after doing some pretty intense cross country hiking.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Took a route around Upper Monarch past Mineral King on the way in, and back down Sawtooth Pass on the way out. The panoramic views from the summit are awesome, and it turned out to be a great place to spend an hour taking pictures and laying in the sun. The rain and lightning rolled in around 2, but by noon we had made it back down to Lower Monarch and set up some shelter.

Absolutely worth the effort.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A very long day no matter how you cut it, I recommend climbing via Glacier Pass to avoid much of the sand that makes up the regular trail. Leaving Mineral King at the Sawtooth parking area, go one mile to Groundhog Meadow. Instead of following the trail straight ahead to the stream crossing, skirt the meadow around to the left. (A secondary footpath should be discernible.) This footpath will circumnavigate the meadow as it climbs across a talus slope. As you follow this lightly traveled trail you see a relatively steep valley toward your left. This is your route.
This will take you to Glacier Pass. Do not go over the pass. Instead, traverse in a southerly direction toward Sawtooth where the view is "edge of the world" dramatic!
The return is much more direct. Running down the sand is actually fun.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016