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Onion Valley Campground to Flower Lake

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John Muir Wilderness

Onion Valley Campground to Flower Lake is a 4.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Independence, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and fishing and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.3 mi Elevation gain 1,335 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Camping

Fishing

Hiking

Lake

Views

Waterfall

Wildlife

Bugs

Rocky

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Directions from : Take Highway 395 to Independence, CA. Turn west on Market Street and follow the road 13 miles. Road ends at Onion Valley Campground.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (205)
Photos (412)
Recordings (182)
Completed (485)
Karina Klimtchuk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
Hiking

Phenomenal views! Fairly easy for an experienced altitude hiker, very rewarding lakes and plenty of connections to other trails, all the way up to Kearsarge pass and beyond. Beautiful spots to overnight, wildlife, streams and waterfalls all along the way.

Nita Navarro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 12 2020

great hike!! saw a coupe of waterfalls, walked pass two small lakes before finding flower lake. lots of mosquitos at the lake, bring mosquito repellent. hubby caught a ton of trout! I mean, he slayed it. catch and release. spent most of the morning to afternoon up here and then headed back. ton of cars in the parking lot. trail starts by onion campground. beautiful, elevation gain not too bad, just take your time.

David Viero
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Back in the beginning of spring, My brother and I ended up trying to bypass snow and hiking some crazy and rocky avalanche run and only made it to the first lake which was beautiful! No mosquitoes!

Aurea Adao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

This trail was beautiful and my 6 year old corgi was able to hike most of it (we had to put him on a backpack during some of the incline because he needed a break). We found some great spots with a view for our picnic.

View Aurea's Recording
Greg Chen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingBugsGreat!

What can I say? What a terrific hiking experience. It was my first hike at east sierra area. it was in beautiful weather during Independence day. The trial is not very steep, but it keeps going upwards. with about 20 lb load in my backpack. we reached flower lake in about a little more than an hour. according to me fitness watch, the elevation from parking is about 2000 ft. Actually, I camped at camping site for 3 days. We hiked on the 2nd day. if I did on the first day, it could be much tougher. We definitely need to getting use to 10000ft altitude. We learned it through our hike to nearby Robinson lake on the 1st day. The scene is just as in the pictures taken by other hikers, blue sky, white snow, grey rock mountain, peaceful lake, and green glass. Note: put on enough sun screen, UV at high altitude are strong, we all got skin burns; a lot bugs and mosquitos near the water, but get your spray ready.

Beth Sassoon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 12 2020
Hiking

Loved this hike. Elevation gain is gradual and not hard. Amazing views all around. A lot of waterfalls. Clearly marked.

Bill Frisz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 06 2020
Hiking

Great hike, with lots of waterfalls. Lakes are pretty and frequent when you get towards the top. Parking was pretty full by 9:30. Went to Flower Lake, 6.2 miles and almost 1,,500’’ of elevation gain. Mostly up the 1st 1.7 miles, but switch backs make it manageable. Moderate hike if you are in shape.

Johan Eertink
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Nov 16 2019
Hiking

Wonderful trail, easy to follow. Mid november, but weather was still nice, although Flower Lake was already frozen and some ice on the trail at a few points.Recording and pics here: https://www.sports-tracker.com/workout/johane/5dd0a1b2a65c743a486380dc

Dave M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 19 2019
Hiking

I don't know how it could be more beautiful than this! It gets more amazing with each step. Once you reach Flower Lake don't miss the short sidebar over to Matlock Lake. It's a jaw-dropping glimpse of heaven!

Jaimi Romero
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Hiking

Great day with my family. Beautiful place!

Sarah Smith
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Hiking

Great trail but try to get to Kearsarge Pass for the incredible view the other side. Only downside is the horse poop. When it's fresh, and it's a hot day, the smell is overwhelming. I don't understand why the Forest Service allows for-profit companies like Pack Trips to take horses on a narrow trail that has backpackers and hikers. At least clean up the poop!!! There is no way to avoid it on a narrow trail.

Simon Guérard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Sep 10 2019
Hiking

Nice but it's really worth going all the way to the pass

Betsy Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Sep 09 2019
Hiking

Amazing trail! Went to Matlock lake and back to trail head. A great first hike of our trip!

View Betsy's Recording
Mike C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 05 2019
Hiking

Great trail. Like others have said, I think the moderate rating is accurate. Anyone that’s in decent shape can do it. Bugs at the lakes were kind of annoying, but bug spray kept them at bay for the most part. I definitely want to come back and go all the way to the pass.

View Mike's Recording
Cynthia Hori
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HikingBugs

Great trail! Well maintained and easy to hike if you are ok at the elevation. We spent a day at the campground taking in the views of the waterfalls and reading before we hiked. We are over 60 and from a lower elevation and this strategy helped us hike without problems. Every turn on the switchbacks brings another magnificent view! It is a well traveled trail yet you never feel as if you are on anyone’s heels. We Loved being on this trail and want to go back. Be prepared for mosquitoes and there was no water! It was all turned off. Take all water with you or bring a good filtration system

Dave Peterson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 08 2019
Hiking

July 7, 2019 - Best hike I’ve done in CA. Stunningly beautiful. Calm alpine lakes, rushing rivers and waterfalls, jaw dropping jagged peaks, and great wildlife (deer, pika, marmot, and trout). The weather was perfect...a bit cold at flower lake but totally fine while moving. Round trip is 5.5 miles...we did it in 4.5 hours including many stops for pictures and fishing. Definitely not as crowded as similar hikes in the Eastern Sierra. The moderate rating is accurate - solid workout but anyone in halfway decent shape can do it. Some snow but no need for crampons. All 3 lakes (Little Pothole, Gilbert, Flower) are easily accessible from the trail. The road to the trailhead is paved...any car can get here. THIS IS A MUST DO!!

j. from LA
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 06 2019
HikingSnow

my 14 year old son and I had a wonderful 4-hour round trip the day after the 4th. still some snow on the trail beneath Flower Lake - and A Lot around the lake. It is manageable in sneakers and only about 30 yards of trail where you have to walk on snow. it's slippery. be careful walking on the snow around the lake - it's easy to fall through. this was a great day hike. the elevation was definitely an issue for my son. we woke up at sea level and he did a week backpacking in Yosemite last week - and he was winded often. but so much to avoid the hike - just worth noting.

Travis Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 25 2019
BackpackingSnow

We stayed a Flower Lake this week (6/25-6/26). Reading some of the recent reviews I was under the impression that there wasn't any glacier work or snow hiking until AFTER Flower Lake but that was incorrect! There are 2 sections of snow that I would recommend cramp-ons for before Flower. I was traveling with my boys (10,6) and my dad (66) and this trail really pushed them to their limits. We camped out Flower Lake and I wouldn't recommend it for at least a few more weeks. The lake was surrounded in snow and the wind storm that hit our tent in the evening was really rough! It was 35 degrees and the winds reached 30-40mph in the evening. The sights are stunning, and having snow for the kids to play in was a nice treat. I would recommend staying at Gilbert Lake instead if you are looking for a shorter or less strenuous trip. I spoke with some of the hikers coming back from Kearsarge Pass and there was a TON of snow from Flower to Kearsarge. The trail after Flower Lake becomes extremely hard to follow in the snow. Also note, the elevation is a real element. If you are thinking of taking your kiddos keep in mind that they are going to get winded quickly. Both my boys had about an hours worth of elevation sickness (nausea, gas etc). All told, this was a beautiful trip and we will be back. We may just wait until it's a little warmer before camping at Flower.

Jesse Trudeau
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HikingOff trailSnow

I can confirm there’s still a lot of snow here. I went up this week with the main goal of fishing. The trail is good till you get about 3 miles in then you hit the snow. Not a big problem it’s packed down pretty good. Snow shoes are not required and crampons can help in some areas but I got up to the pass without them. As far as fishing goes flower lake and the lower one is 50% frozen over but fish are still active. 4-7” brooks bite most anything you put in front of them. Didn’t see anything bigger than that. It was a great trip and beautiful location I recommend you to give it a go. Warm days but just be prepared for hiking in the snow.

Kate Beletskaya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 05 2019
HikingRockySnow

I was hesitant to hike this because there weren’t any recent reviews. SO glad we did! Some areas of the trail were buried in snow, so we did get off trail a few times but if you keep your AllTrails map out you’ll be able to find the summit. You can see others footprints for guidance. Those seemed to be vertical shortcuts off the trail. Worth the hike to the lake! Stunning views.

JAck John
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Oct 25 2018
Hiking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfxh9oV3Fkw WATCH THE VIDEO. AMAZING PLACE.

Steve Laret
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Oct 22 2018
Hiking

Was up there last Saturday and had some light dusting of snow. The fall colors were out and what an awesome trail and time..

Maia Kostlan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Oct 15 2018
Hiking

We did this hike in early September as part of our trip to the pass. All of the lakes offer nice shade, pretty views and peaceful surroundings! I highly recommend continuing to Kearsarge Pass after taking a snack break at this lake! We didnt run into too many bugs, but I imagine mosquitos can be bad at certain times of year, or even day. There was sporadic shade on the way up but nice trees offering quality shade around all the lakes.

Darin Ganitch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 10 2018

great hike and excellent fishing. snow in the spring and multple water falls.

doug Kirkbride
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 06 2018

Decent amount of parking. Was warm but not too hot. Trails aren't marked too well but is easy to follow. A few spots to fill up on water on the way up. Lots of amazing views all around.

Puamohala d
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I saw a sign with madlock on it but no flower lake sign. It was a moderate but beautiful hike for me

Douglas Darnell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 05 2018
Backpacking

Great hike up to Flower Lake, patches of snow on the hills, but trails and campsites are clear. A bit cold at night, no bugs. Saturday night there were a handful of campers but Sunday night had the place to myself. Take a left when you hit the lake and find more secluded campsites on the hill. The lake is clear and green, you can watch the trout swim past your line. I day hiked up to Kearsarge Pass. Fill up on water before you go, it's not as plentiful as you climb. It's also very exposed, a challenging but doable climb. From the top you can dip into the valley below and camp at the Kearsarge Lakes or push on to Charlotte Lake or up to Rae Lakes, both are supposed to be gorgeous.

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