Sawmill Pass Trail

HARD 2 reviews
#39 of 45 trails in

Sawmill Pass Trail is a 23.8 mile out and back trail located near Big Pine, California that features a lake. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

23.8 miles
8277 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly





nature trips




wild flowers



7 months ago

Two of us did this trail on 10/20/17. 2 nights 3 days.

When we started at the trailhead about 10:30 in the morning. There was a strong wind blowing at near 70 miles an hour. We knew the winds were supposed to die down in the afternoon.

It took us about 6+ hours to make it to Sawmill lake were we camped. Only had about an hour of daylight left to set up. Very nice camp. Next time I’ll bring my tarp and hammock instead.

Next morning we packed just the essentials and went out on a day hike trying to summit Colosseum. Late start and a bunch of time loss navigating kept us from summiting the mountain.

Third day we packed out thinking it would be an easy trek mostly downhill. It wasn’t easy.

9 months ago

I took the Sawmill Pass trail from Sawmill Junction to the trailhead on July 28 2017. We used Sawmill as a bail out point from the JMT as one of our group had to be air lifted out. The trail is listed as an unmaintained trail. From the junction its a little tough to find the trail but once you do find it I thought that it was about as well maintained as any of the other trails on the JMT. Due to the extensive snow melt a lot of this trail was covered in water on the way up to the pass. It was by far the prettiest of all of the trails we had done up to this point. The lakes and wildflowers were incredible. Once we made it to the pass and over the other side it was a long way to the trail head. 3 miles to the pass from the junction and a good 10+ down. The first 4 down were gorgeous but as soon as you wind your way back up to the second peak it is like hiking through the desert for 6 miles. Hot, windy, and no water source so make sure you have enough to get to the bottom. Overall a beautiful but strenuous hike. I think if I was starting at the trailhead and going to the junction I would have made this a 2 day hike. It is an extremely steep trail heading down so going up would be brutal.