Kearsarge Pass and Mt. Gould via Onion Valley

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Having stopped in Lone Pine to hike Mt. Whitney and Mt. Langley in the past few weeks, Julia and I have taken a real liking to the Eastern Sierras. For this trip, we decided to make our way out to Independence to hike to Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley. The drive is only a little further north on the 395, and well worth the drive from Southern California. Making this trip even more exciting was the fact that we decided to take Isla along to camp alongside Flower Lake, breaking the hike into two short sections.

Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Gilbert Lake

The trail towards Kearsarge pass takes a series of switchbacks out of the parking lot before plateauing at Gilbert Lake. Gilbert lake offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. We continued on past Gilbert Lake and made our way to Flower Lake, our camping destination for the night. Flower Lake is a beautiful camping location, with plenty of flat ground, wooded seclusion, and beatitude blue water. We found a nice spot heading east between the trail and the lake, and found a law abiding spot a little more than 100 feet away.

Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Flower Lake
Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
On the Water

Camping is always fun, but having Isla come along takes things to a whole new level. She’s the perfect outdoor companion, helping with nothing, but providing company and entertainment for all! She followed me to the lake to watch me filter water for the evening and then stuck to my hip as we explored the circumference of the lake. There were no bad views here, and I would highly recommend Flower Lake to anyone looking for a good place to camp in the area.

Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Isla on the Water
Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Reflections and Ripples
Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Muddy Paws

The following morning we ate a quick breakfast in the cold, where temperatures stuck stubbornly below 20 F. We decided to leave our tent at the campsite to pack up later, and made our way to Kearsarge Pass. From Flower Lake, it’s a very short hike to the Pass, but nonetheless beautiful. The trail cuts through a granite landscape to viewpoints displaying Heart Lake and Big Pothole Lake.

Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Morning Stillness
Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Big Pothole Lake
Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley
Kearsarge Pass

Once we made it to Kearsarge Pass, I wanted to get in a little extra hiking as the total mileage for the trip seemed uncharacteristically low. To make up for this, I scrambled up to Mt. Gould, which is a very short distance, but nearly 1500 ft higher than the Pass. The views along this scramble were spectacular.

Kearsarge Pass via Onion Valley

Upon returning down from Mt. Gould, I met back up with Isla and Julia at the Pass and we made our way back down to the Onion Valley parking lot.


Mt. Langley via Cottonwood Lakes and Old Army Pass

Photo Gallery: Mt. Baldy Snow Summit With Isla


6 thoughts on “Kearsarge Pass and Mt. Gould via Onion Valley”

  1. Drew, great photos. How long is the hike from trail-head to flower lake? From Flower Lake to Mt Gould?
    Total from Trailhead to Mt Gould?

    • Hi James,

      Sorry for the delay. I just returned from hiking the JMT. It’s about 2.25 miles to Flower Lake. From Flower Lake to Kearsarge Pass is another 2 miles for about 4.25 total. To Mt. Gould from the Pass is a little over a mile, but it varies depending on the route you take.

      I just hiked up and over Kearsarge a few days ago for resupply on the JMT. Here is a link to the GPS track:


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