Hiking Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass Trail

Yosemite Onion Valley Trailhead

Added by Drew Robinson

Take in incredible mountain views of the Sierra Nevada Range. This hike is a great option for an overnight camping trip.

This trail starts at the Onion Valley Trailhead. This trail is in the John Muir Wilderness and ends at Kearsarge Pass, the boundary for Kings Canyon National Park.

The first section of trail takes you up a series of switchbacks before reaching a plateau at Gilbert Lake. From Gilbert Lake the trail flattens out quite a bit and climbs through the forest as you pass Flower Lake, which is a great place for camping if you'll be spending the night. There is a great spot between the trail and Flower Lake that offers nice seclusion and wonderful views from your tent. If you're just doing a day hike, continue on the trail towards Heart Lake.

The section of trail approaching Heart Lake is where the scenery starts to shift to alpine tundra. This is especially noticeable as you continue on to see the beautiful Big Pothole Lake and arrive at Kearsarge Pass. Kearsarge Pass offers some of the best views you kind find in the Sierras, with towering peaks and lakes in every direction.

Pack List

  • Ten Essentials
  • Good trail shoes
  • Trekking poles
If staying overnight:
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water filter
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2660 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

almost 2 years ago

Did this hike last week, was amazing! It was beautiful the whole way, met a lot of hikers on the JMT and PCT. I only hiked for two nights. We drove up from Independence on highway 395 to about 9000', hiked up to about 11,800' and slept about 500-1,000' down at Kearsarge Lakes. We saw a lot of people on the trail but had our own little zone at the lakes- there's plenty of space and sleeping areas. Just a note you can have dogs on the first part of the trail but then it crosses over to a nation forest where dogs are not allowed. Enjoy it.

almost 2 years ago

Added by Drew Robinson

trailtopeak.com // Instagram: @trailtopeak

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to The Tuttle Creek Ashram

Yosemite / Tuttle Creek Ashram Trailhead

The Tuttle Creek Ashram is an abandoned stone building, "church" or place of enlightenment tucked away in the beautiful Eastern Sierra.

Alex Anderson
2 Saves

Camp at Lone Pine Campground

Yosemite / Lone Pine Campground

The Lone Pine Campground is located 6 miles west of Lone Pine California, and 7 miles east of Mt Whitney Portal.

Alex Anderson
8 Saves

Watch the Sunset in El Capitan Meadow

Yosemite / El Capitan Meadow

After entering the park, keep driving the loop until you get onto Northside Drive, and then park once you are right below El Capitan (the 3,000ft granite monolith that is very hard to miss).

Breanne McNitt
6 Saves