Day 1: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Lakes via Kearsarge Pass

My son and I hiked from Onion Valley to the Kearsarge Lakes, crossing over Kearsarge Pass, as the first day of a seven day backpacking trek in the High Sierra.  Our plan was to hike 65 miles north via the Pacific Crest Trail / John Muir Trail and arrive at South Lake, west of Bishop.  Along the way we would cross over five high passes and check out many lakes and creeks.

But this wasn’t our original plan.  We initially wanted to hike further south on the PCT, and summit Whitney along the way.  The famous California Wildfires of 2020 put an end to that idea.  There was smoke everywhere in the state, and the views from Whitney (the main reason for climbing it besides the bragging rights) would be ruined.  The big fire at the time was the SQF Complex Fire, down south in the Sierra National Forest, and even though it was too far away to be dangerous, it was barfing out tons of smoke.  I decided to make a quick change of plans and hike north from Onion Valley rather than south, mainly to avoid the smoke.  This trek was also on my radar for future hikes, and I knew that it was going to be beautiful, so why not do it now?

In 2020, the year of the Covid-19 Pandemic, wasn’t a great year to hitchhike, so we needed two cars, or else take a very expensive shuttle.












For a topographic map of the hike see my CalTopo Page

For LOTS more photos of the trek see my Flickr Page


Onward to Day 2 >>   



Up to “Onion Valley to South Lake 2020”