Onion Valley To Bullfrog Lake Overnight Hike
A must do hike in Kings Canyon for anyone trying to find a less traveled route and gorgeous scenery. The views along this hike are definitely one the best The Kings Canyon has to offer. The highest point of this hike is the Kearsarge Pass, standing tall at 11,760 feet(3584m) above the seal level.
Permits & Bear Canisters
- At the trail-head, you must fill out a self-serving permit in order to camp in the wild. You must also have a bear canister where you can store all your food. There are park rangers that will stop you and check for your bear canister and permit.
- Distance: 13 mi (21 km) roundtrip
- Elevation Change: 4,800 feet (480m))
- Estimated Duration: 2 Days
- Alltrails Map: Kearsarge Pass
- Directions: Kearsarge Pass Trailhead
This hike starts at Kearsarge Pass Trailhead Parking Lot. The trail steeply climbs through a series of switchbacks for approximately 4 miles, passing by 4 different lakes until you reach the Kearsarge Pass at 11,760 feet(3584m). If you’re not used to hiking in high elevation terrain, please make sure to drink a lot of water! It is also helpful to bring things like salt tablets, gummy warms or any powder mixes that has electrolytes in them!
Once over the pass, on the right hand side, you will see The Kearsarge Lakes and few possible camping location. Please keep in mind, it gets extremely cold at night. Since it was our first time camping so high up, we didn’t know that for every 1,000 feet that you gain, you also loose between 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, our warm 15F (-10C) Sleeping bags kept us warm all night. It was also difficult to sleep because of headaches. We didn’t think that altitude would effect us so much! And because we forgot to bring pain relievers such as advil or tylenol, we had a tough night with not much sleep.
In the morning, we woke up to our tent being completely frozen and having a layer of ice all over it. Our water bottles were completely frozen. This was our first experience camping outside in low negative temperatures. If it wasn’t for our warm sleeping bags, we would have had to get up in the middle of the night and hike back down to our car in order to make it through the night. What can we say, you live and you learn! It was an awesome experience, we learned a lot and we wouldn’t change a thing!
We packed up our camp and got back on the main trail to hike further toward the Bullfrog Lake. The views over the lake were breathtaking. We also met a small group of hikers that were climbing out from the valley and heading toward Kearsarge Pass. We started a conversation with them, and it happens that they were actually thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. We’ve known about Appalachian Trail on the East Coast, but never heard of PCT. They were very encouraging and highly recommending to do it! We were excited to find out about this trail! But the little did we know, two years down the road, my wife and I will embark on the greatest journey of our lives and hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail! Who know, maybe if we never met these hikers, we wouldn’t hike the PCT. Our Pacific Crest Trail Blog can be found here: Link