Kaiser Pass

Kaiser Pass, a classic road trip in Sierra National Forest

Kaiser Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.803m (9,196ft) above the sea level located in Fresno County, California, USA. The road to the summit is called Kaiser Pass Road. It’s a narrow, bumpy road that connects Huntington Lake to Florence and Edison lakes, in the Huntington Lake. The first 7 miles of road are a fairly consistent climb to Kaiser Pass itself. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of California.

The Kaiser Pass road is a narrow one-lane winding mountain road, with just enough wide spots to pull over to let others pass. Large vehicles and trailers are not recommended. For most of its 20-mile length from Huntington Lake in the Sierra National Forest, Kaiser Pass Road feels more like a goat path: 1 1/2 lanes wide, steep, winding, exposed and full of potholes. This is bear country. Please store food properly and do not feed the bears. Bring mosquito repellant.

The surface of the road is paved. After going about 8 miles on this road you will see a small Forest Service Ranger Station to the left, and then two miles ahead watch for a sign directing a left hand turn to Mono Hot Springs that's only 2 more miles; if you keep going straight you will end up 6 miles away at Florence Lake (the end of the road). There are numerous turn outs along the road but sometimes when vehicles meet, one vehicle has to back up a little for a turn out; it is usually best to back up past the turn out using only your side mirrors and then drive forward into the turn out.

Is Kaiser Pass open?

The road is closed to vehicular traffic in the winter. It is typically open from late May through mid-November. The first 5 miles of the Kaiser Pass road is a nice smooth two lanes highway; then the last 12 miles turns into a rather narrow and curvy more or less one lane road but paved. You can only drive about 20 MPH. There are only 3 areas that are cliffy. Winter driving in the Sierra National Forest, may require tire chains & cables. Be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.
Pic: Corey Hass

 

NOTICE: Roads may be closed due to local orders related to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The towns and countries you drive through to get to specific roads may be closed due to local orders. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off.