Onion Valley Campground to Rae Lakes via Kearsarge Pass [CLOSED]

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Kings Canyon National Park

Onion Valley Campground to Rae Lakes via Kearsarge Pass is a 23.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seven Pines, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from August until September.

Distance: 23.8 miles Elevation Gain: 7,221 feet Route Type: Out & Back




nature trips

bird watching








This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options.

8 months ago

This is a wonderful hike! It's easier to get the permit than the full loop too, and could technically be done in a single day - but it's worth going further up north!

8 months ago

Completed a 3 night/4 day trip yesterday. Spent the first night at Flower(s) lake, second night at Charlotte lake and 3rd night at Rae lakes. Onion valley to flowers lake: Immediate kick to the butt with the switchbacks (they seemed never ending on the way back yesterday). It’s “only” 2 miles and 1300 ft. elevation gain. Charlotte Hated it. Don’t know if it was the rain or the fact that we lost about 300 ft. in elevation gain. Or the drying out or the horses with bells all night around our tents. Not a good experience. Will avoid it next time to Rae lakes. Rae lakes: Due to the rain and drying out at Charlotte lake I didn’t get to spend much time at Rae lakes. Just had dinner and went to bed. But it’s the most beautiful spot I’ve ever seen. Very unique. Also once you get there expect to walk another mile along the shores to find a spot for camping. We chose to be near the bear boxes. That was an additional mile and a water crossing. Rae lakes to onion valley: left at 7:25am made it back to the car at 2:25pm. Dry spots: There’s always lakes but I don’t consider going down to get water “accessible”. I’m lazy. :) No water from flowers to kearsarge pass and 1 mile beyond the pass. After those couple of streams no water for 4-5 miles (if you’re going straight to Glenn pass). After Glenn pass it’s about a 1/2 mile to the best water on the trail. Most of the trail is exposed.

8 months ago

What a great backpacking trip!!! You will definitely earn all the great views

Beautiful warm weather with sight breeze. No too buggy anymore. Made it over Glen Pass to a great camp spot at Rae Lakes.

no shade
10 months ago

Completed this hike in 2 nights/3 days on July 27-29th 2019. Started trail from Onion valley campground mid morning where we had spent the night prior. Lots of exposure on this trail. No need to carry more than a liter of water at a time if you have a filter. Lots of running water throughout the trail. Reached kearsarge lakes around 4 pm on day 1 and camped there. Buggy but beautiful!!! On day 2, we began again at mid morning and hiked over a second pass and down to Rae lakes. Pass had a few substantial ice patches. If you have spikes, they could be helpful, especially in the morning when it’s still icy. Hiking poles were good to have. Camped at Rae Lakes which was beautiful but also buggy. To reach the campsites at Rae Lakes you need to cross a knee deep stream. Began our trek back from Rae Lakes on day 3 at 5 am and reached Onion Valley by 1 pm. Overall, would highly recommend this hike to experienced hikers with proper gear! Lakes were beyond stunning and swimming was worth the chilly temps. Most hikers we passed were thru hiking either JMT or PCT.

Thu Oct 25 2018

The best kind of suck in the world

Mon Jul 16 2018

Beautiful route. Spent the night at Rae Lakes because this is way too hard to do in one day - it's even hard to do consecutive days, but well worth it if you've got the fitness!

8 months ago

Thu Nov 08 2018