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Elizabeth Pass Trail

Difficult
 4.5 (2)

A climb you'll remember.


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Map Key

14.2

Miles

22.9

KM

73%

Runnable

11,346' 3,458 m

High

7,417' 2,261 m

Low

4,060' 1,238 m

Up

4,540' 1,384 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (7°)

55%

Max Grade (29°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views

Description

This trail begins innocently enough, but at the two-mile mark you begin a climb of 3,300 ft over the next 2.5 miles, a painful and mostly steady 25% grade. The entire climb is exposed and even in September it can be quite hot, a heat enhanced by sun reflecting off the light colored rock. Ideally, you should start this run very early so that most of the climb can be completed before 10 am and seen in the more appealing early light.

Alternatively, if you are connecting from another trail, or likely the Lodgepole Visitor Center, consider camping at the base of the pass to get an early start.

From the top of the Elizabeth Pass, stark Deadman Canyon awaits. The initial 1.3-mile descent is rocky and hard on the feet. The remaining eight miles is nice trail which follows a stream which grows in strength, fed by alpine lakes, west of the canyon.

There are many suitable places to camp and even a couple of refreshing swimming holes. Roaring River Ranger Station is the terminus but it often unoccupied so don't expect to receive help or advice at this location. Run prepared. There are bear proof metal food storage containers in the vicinity of the Ranger Station.

From the ranger station, there are three options. The Sugarloaf Trail allows one to complete the loop back to the Lodgepole Visitors Center via Silliman Pass up the Silliman Pass Trail and down the Twin Lakes Trail. The Colby Trail can get you to Mt. Whitney. While a permit to hike Mt. Whitney from the Whitney Portal can take months to obtain, no permit is required to approach Mt. Whitney from the west. You've earned it if you came over Elizabeth Pass.

Contacts

Shared By:

Matthew Kidd

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#7935

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#721

in California

#7,935

Overall
8 Views Last Month
2,402 Since Sep 4, 2015
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Photos

The sun sets on a rock fin west of Mt. Stewart.
May 5, 2017 near Three R…, CA
Toward the right, the long, steep, Elizabeth Pass climb awaits.
May 5, 2017 near Three R…, CA
View of the Great Western Divide from the Elizabeth Pass Trail, looking across from the HST trail.
Oct 30, 2018 near Three R…, CA
Deadman Canyon is stunning when viewed from the top of Elizabeth Pass.
May 5, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA
This is the view southwest from near the top of Elizabeth Pass. What a climb it was.
May 5, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA
This is the view south along Lone Pine Creek. The Elizabeth Pass climb awaits in the other direction.
May 5, 2017 near Three R…, CA

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