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Reflections, Kearsarge Pass Trail, Eastern Sierra [OC][5184×3456]

Reflections in the Eastern Sierra: A Journey to Kearsarge Pass Trail

Nestled in the heart of the Eastern Sierra, the Kearsarge Pass Trail is a hidden gem that rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This moderate 12-mile out-and-back trail takes you on a journey through a stunning alpine landscape, featuring towering peaks, sparkling lakes, and verdant meadows. As the trail winds its way to the 11,760-foot Kearsarge Pass, hikers are treated to an unforgettable experience, with the rugged beauty of the Sierra Nevada reflecting off the calm waters of the nearby lakes and streams.

Getting There

To reach the Kearsarge Pass Trail, begin by driving to the small town of Independence, California, located at the foot of the Eastern Sierra. From Independence, take US-395 North for approximately 10 miles, then turn left onto Lone Pine Road (Hwy 136). Continue on Hwy 136 for 13 miles, where you’ll turn left onto the dirt road that leads to the Kearsarge Pass Trailhead. The final 3.5 miles are a rough, dirt road, but it’s suitable for most vehicles. Be sure to check the road conditions before heading out, as it may be impassable during winter months.

The Hike

As you begin your hike, the trail climbs gently through a lush forest of pines and aspen trees, offering glimpses of the surrounding peaks through the canopy above. After 2 miles, the trail opens up to a stunning view of the Eastern Sierra, with the 14,505-foot Mount Whitney towering in the distance. Continue on, passing by a series of scenic meadows and alpine lakes, each one reflecting the beauty of the surrounding peaks.

As you near the pass, the trail becomes more steep and rocky, but the payoff is well worth the effort. From the top of Kearsarge Pass, take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and the vast expanse of the Sierra Nevada. On a clear day, you can see as far as the John Muir Wilderness to the north and the Owens Valley to the east.

Reflections and More

One of the most striking features of the Kearsarge Pass Trail is the numerous reflection pools and lakes that dot the landscape. On calm days, these lakes become perfect mirrors, reflecting the stunning peaks and meadows of the Sierra Nevada. Take a moment to sit back, relax, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as the surrounding beauty reflects off the still waters.

Tips and Essentials

  • Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no services available along the trail.
  • The trail is moderately difficult, with some steep sections and rocky terrain. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring a trekking pole if needed.
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out, as the Sierra Nevada can be prone to sudden storms and snow.
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, as the high altitude and intense sun can be challenging.
  • Consider camping at one of the many backcountry campsites along the trail, or make a day hike of it and return to Independence for the night.


The Kearsarge Pass Trail is a true gem of the Eastern Sierra, offering hikers a chance to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With its stunning reflections, alpine lakes, and towering peaks, this trail is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re looking for a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, the Kearsarge Pass Trail is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you reflecting on the natural beauty of the Eastern Sierra.

Download image Reflections, Kearsarge Pass Trail, Eastern Sierra [OC][5184×3456] by my_random_name

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