The Tar Gap Trail begins at the Cold Spring Campground and leads westward then southward around Tar Gap. The trail starts at an elevation of 7,500 feet ascending immediately. Within the first half mile the trail crosses a small drainage and shortly afterward crosses Mineral Creek. One mile from the trailhead it reaches 8,200 feet.
During the next four miles the trail remains relatively level. Close to mile two the path crosses another small drainage and continues to meander around the northwestern flanks of Mt. Hengst. Before the third mile is another stream crossing and the trail turns sharply northward. In one half mile the trail turns sharply southward. Deer Creek, and the first campsite is within one and a a half miles of the fourth stream crossing.
Approximately one mile beyond Deer Creek the trail begins to ascend. In approximately one and three quarter miles Tar Gap Trail ascends 450 feet and crosses Clover Creek. One mile from this stream crossing the trail meets the Atwell-Hockett Trail north of Hockett Meadows.
Directions from Three Rivers: Travel north on Highway 198 2.5 miles to Mineral King Road. Turn right on Mineral King Road (not recommended for RVs and Trailers) and drive approximately 23 miles to Cold Spring Campground. The Tar Gap Trailhead is in the campground.
Normal Services Available:
Mid-June through October
(NOTE: Opening date varies each year depending on conditions.)