Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
10,921.00 ft (3,328.72 m)
Trail type
30.80 mi (49.57 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This route connects Sawmill Pass Trailhead to Baxter Pass Trailhead, and thus requires a shuttle. The route can be done in either direction, but will be described here beginning at Sawmill and ending at Baxter. Hikers will pass through John Muir Wilderness and enter Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. 

After dropping a car at Baxter Pass Trailhead, drive north a few miles on Highway 395 to reach Sawmill Pass Trailhead off Division Creek Road. This trailhead is one of the lower-elevation trailheads in the Eastern Sierra. Because of this, the first few miles can be hot and dry, and the hike up to Sawmill Pass is considerable. Hikers will meet the beautiful Sawmill Lake before the crest near mile 7, and Sawmill Pass (11,347ft.) near mile 9. Woods Lake, headwaters of Woods Creek, is an excellent opportunity for camping just after Sawmill Pass. From here, the trail descends for 3.5 miles to reach the Pacific Crest/John Muir Trail. Turn south (left), and follow Woods Creek for 3.8 miles, and then continue on the PCT/JMT for another 4.1 miles to reach Dollar Lake and the junction with Baxter Pass Trail. The trail can be difficult to follow for a period here, but it eventually meets Baxter Creek, and further east, the Baxter Lakes. Baxter Pass (12,200ft.) faces north/south amongst colorful metamorphic rock, and on the east side of the crest, makes a steep descent towards the Owens Valley and the Baxter Pass Trailhead.

Wilderness permits are required for backcountry camping, which can be found at This area has been the focus of a bighorn sheep recovery program, whose populations were decimated by earlier domestic sheep grazing. Due to bighorn sheep restrictions, dogs are not allowed on either Sawmill Pass Trail or Baxter Pass Trail. For more information and to check current bighorn sheep restrictions, go to the website for Inyo National Forest. Practice the principles of leave no trace, and take action to defend threatened wilderness areas (

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round





Mountains. Lakes. Creeks.


Mosquitoes in summer.

Trailhead Elevation

4,606.00 ft (1,403.91 m)

Highest point

12,200.00 ft (3,718.56 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site




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