Shepherd pass trail is a very strenuous trail that provides access to the JMT via Shepherd Pass. The ascent to Shepherds Pass from the trailhead requires over 6000 feet of elevation gain. Poor access to water sources coupled with high daytime temperatures during the summer provide further challenges for hikers. In particular, there are no natural water sources from the base of the switchbacks leading up from Symmes Creek to the Shepherd Creek drainage.
Despite this trail's difficulty, it receives moderate visitation as it acts as the most popular approach for climbing Mt. Williamson and Mt. Tyndall, two of California's 14ers.
Early season, Symmes creek can be impossible to cross due to high flows and snow coverage on the upper portions of the trail may require crampons and an ice axe to safely cross.
Anvil Camp is the most popular camping area along the trail and has access to water through Shepherd Creek.
The trailhead is located near Independence, CA. From Hwy 395, turn east onto Onion Valley Road, then south on Foothill Road, and then west on Forest Rd 14S102. There is a stock trailhead lower down from the hiker trailhead, if you are not bringing stock, make sure you go to the hiker trailhead. Coordinates of the hiker trailhead are approximately 36.7273, -118.2786.
Check with the Inyo Forest Service for latest regulations and trail conditions.
This is definitely not a hike for children.
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