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, in the central portion of the U.S. state of California. It’s one of the highest roads of California.

How long is the road to Kaiser Pass?

The narrow, bumpy road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called Kaiser Pass Road. It’s 36.04km (22.4 miles) long, running from CA-168 (near Huntington Lake) to Florence Lake.

Is the road to Kaiser Pass dangerous?

It’s a narrow one-lane winding mountain road, so proceed cautiously. In parts it’s just enough wide to pull over to let others pass. Large vehicles and trailers are not recommended. Please note the road is steep, hitting a 12% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. For most of its length it feels more like a goat path: 1 1/2 lanes wide, steep, winding, exposed and full of potholes. 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. 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.

Is Kaiser Pass open?

The road is closed to vehicular traffic in the winter. It is typically open from late May through mid-November. Winter driving in the Sierra National Forest, may require tire chains & cables. Be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.

How long does it take to drive the Kaiser Pass Road?

Set high in the Sierra National Forest, it’s a scenic drive through the mountains. Plan 1.5 hours to complete the drive without any stop. This is bear country. Please store food properly and do not feed the bears. Bring mosquito repellant.
Pic: Corey Hass

 

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