John Muir Trail Onion Valley to South Lake

Independence, California 93526

John Muir Trail Onion Valley to South Lake

John Muir Trail: Onion Valley to South Lake Professional Review and Guide

"This stretch of the John Muir Trail (JMT) between the Kearsarge Pass and Bishop Pass Trails is one of the most scenic along the 210-mile route. Backpackers must cross three 12,000-foot passes en route—Glen, Pinchot, and Mather—all of which provide fine vantages from which to observe the length and breadth of the High Sierra. Additionally, hikers will encounter three “holes”—Woods Creek, South Fork Kings River, and Le Conte Canyon. The trail also follows a lengthy romp up a portion of Middle Fork Kings River."

John Muir Trail: Onion Valley to South Lake Reviews

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6/28/2018
The scenery here is epic and the trail is very challenging. We backpacked up to Flower Lake after spending the night at Onion Valley campground. We took a break at the lovely Gilbert Lake and then it was just a short trek to the even more beautiful Flower Lake. Take a left when you reach the lake and you will find more secluded campsites on the hill. The lake is pristine, clear, and green, and packed with trout. From there, the trail to Heart Lake is where the scenery starts to change to alpine tundra. You can then hike up to Kearsarge Pass, which offers some of the most spectacular views of the peaks and lakes in the Sierras I have ever seen. The elevation gain is certainly to be respected and some may be more winded or uncomfortable at a 10,000 ft elevation than others. Make sure you have plenty of water before you go because it is not as plentiful as you climb up the steep trail. It is a very exposed, challenging, but all in all a 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 to Rae Lakes. Both lakes are gorgeous.
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John Muir Trail: Onion Valley to South Lake Photos

Trail Information

Independence
Nearby City
61.2
Distance
17,260 feet
Elevation Gain
Shuttle
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
5–8 days
Duration
Late July to early October
Season
Kings Canyon National Park
Local Contacts
USGS’s Kearsarge Peak, Mt. Clarence King, Mt. Pinchot, Split Mountain, North Palisade, and Mt. Thompson
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018