Taboose Pass Trailhead
Revised 20 Sep 2017 - please send updates to the webmaster
Leave Hwy 395 about 15 miles north of Independence or 12 miles south of Big Pine, on Aberdeen Station Road (waypoint 395TAB). This waypoint is not where Taboose Creek Road hits Hwy 395 a bit further south. Drive due west, crossing Tinimaha Road (waypoint TABTIN) where there is a poorly marked bit of a northern jog and suddenly you're on Taboose Creek Road. It's easy to get off onto the wrong dirt track here, because it seems there are more 'informal' roads each time I use this trailhead.
In 2017 cars were spinning out at a slightly steeper than average spot with larger looser rocks (waypoint TABRDX) just below the corral. 2WD vehicles could still get to the trailhead, but they had to take a run at the rocks and bounce over them. If you park below the trailhead, as I did, make sure you don't park on or block the sun from any vegetation. (A ranger ran me off for parking where others had clearly parked before, but did not give me a ticket.)
For reference, in 2009 the road looked freshly graded and any car could make good speed to the trailhead (waypoint TABCRK), but in 1999 the road was rocky and passenger cars were barely making it to the trailhead.
There are no facilities and not much traffic, but there is a nice stream to wash up in on your way out. It's a low-altitude trailhead (5400' elevation) and there's not much shade, so it's often hot. Early starts are advisable. There's plenty of water along the trail, and good campsites just above the waterfall about two thirds of the way to the pass.
FOOTNOTE: USGS maps show two trails on the west (far side) of Taboose Pass. The northern trail connections to the pass trail and the JMT have been obscured, but there are no signs indicating the old trail is closed. The new trail (which heads toward Bench Lake before turning down to the JMT) is much longer if you're headed toward Cartidge Pass or Mather Pass, and is very inefficient with up-and-down wandering that's frustrating on the way in and the way out. This old trail, and the old trail over Cartridge Pass, seems to be getting more traffic (and therefore being easier to find and follow) as of 2017.