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hike Kearsarge Pass, Onion Valley, California

Posted May 31 2009 11:40pm

The 4.0-mile trail to 11,760-foot Kearsarge Pass switchbacks up a sunny slope towards its namesake mountain pass, providing access to a sparkling High Sierra lake basin, the John Muir Wilderness, and the dramatic backcountry mountain scenery of Kings Canyon National Park—superb destinations for any day hiker.

Begin your hike at the trailhead located at the end of Onion Valley Road (Market Street in town), a 13-mile drive from the town of Independence, California—starting at an elevation of 9,189 feet, you might already feel breathless …

Natural Born Hikers

Here’s the winding road that gets you up to over 9000ft.

trailhead

Quickly you reach that wonderful stoney Sierra landscape. I saw far more fishermen than hikers. Dogs are allowed as far as the Pass.

Sierra-waterfall

Rain threatened.

rain-clouds-over-the-mountain

But it just seemed to not be able to get over the mountains.

Sadly, I never made it to the “Pass” itself at 11,823ft. The snow was still heaped close to the top.

snow-on-the-trail

See all my photos from this half day hike.

Onion Valley was named one of the 10 best hikes in the Eastern Sierra.

But famed local author R. J. Secor pooh-poohed this hike, I read. He disparages it as over popular.

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