We leave Sequoia National Park and we enter Kings Canyon. Our next point of interest is Big Baldy peak located in Kings Canyon. The rest of the route through Sequoia National Park is not attractive, because it passes by several campgrounds and motels. Big Baldy is a granite couple with 360 degree view of Sierra Nevada from its top. This trail is a little longer, it is 9 km round trip, worth to be taken, if we have more than one day for our visit in Sequoia National Park.
Big Stump Trail
Moving down Generals Highway we reach Big Stump Trail. This 3,2 km loop trail passing charming meadows cut by several streams is unfortunately known for trunks of cut giant sequoias. This is a kind of documentary of the devastating human activity, that occurred here before this area became protected. This is an unfortunately a dead evidence that a human doesn’t learn much and will always find something to destroy.
Right before Grant Grove we can turn right into the road leading to Panoramic Point. After a 0,4km walk one of the most beautiful Kings Canyon views on high mountains and Hume lake awaits us.
Now we arrive to Grant Grove and we start a short walk to the second biggest tree in the world named General Grant. The atmosphere in this place is entirely different to the one around Sherman. There is peace and quiet, no queues for pictures, so you can enjoy this beautiful tree in the solitude. General Grant is a very handsome sequoia, slim with a very regular upper branches of the tree. Just like Sentinel Tree this is one of my favorite trees in both parks. General Grant is 81,5m high, so as it is not that very old (“only” 1650 years), it should grow a lot. Its circuit is 32,5 so is fatter than ShermanTree.
General Grant Trails starts at the large parking lot, where our 0,5 km walk begins. On the way it is worth to walk inside the tree called Fallen Monarch. This is a fallen giant sequoia that you can walk inside with no need to lean. Along the trail we will meet Tennessee Tree, Lightening Tree, Centennial Stump, Oregon Tree and California Tree. Centennial Stump is a sequoia trunk, which part was sent to Philadelphia for the 1876 World Fair. This was to prove, that sequoias really exist. When we reach General Grant we can see it from all sides as the trails goes around this tree.
Our Grand Grove walk can be extended by a few other trails. North Boundary Trail, North Grove Trail, Dead Giant Loop Trail, but this only for those, who have more than one day Sequoia Park.
The most beautiful sequoias in the park grow just at the side of the parking lot. Twin Sisters are two fused giant sequoias, next group of party fused tree are called Happy Family is also wroth to take a look.
Going to Kings Canyon we can turn to the side road leading to Chicago Stump, the next tree cut and shipped to Chicago for world fair of 1897. We need to take one kilometer roundtrip to see it.
How about the tree that still grows? If we continue this road we can reach Boole Tree, the sixth biggest tree in the world. This means also a 3,2 km walk, but very beautiful with the guarantee of the solitude. No one really visits this site, so we can have this giant tree exclusively for ourselves. It is not fenced, so we can touch it and receive some positive energy.
Visiting Kings Canyon
We are approaching King Canyon. This one of our most favorite sites in the USA, some our team members simply love this canyon. If you dream about a visit to an extremely beautiful place, with no crowds and easily accessible, Kings Canyon is your ideal place. It’s a pity, that it is usually skipped and rarely enters travel plans.
The heavenly view is awaiting us just at the entrance to the canyon, we stop at Junction View. In addition to charming Sierra Nevada panorama, we have the view at the confluence of two legs of Kings River, the real, wild mountain river.
Several switchbacks take us down to the bottom of the canyon where we continue down the road going next to the river. It is so beautiful, that we make several stops to watch water cascades of Kings River hitting boulders and stones. Usually seeing a real wild mountain river requires a long walk into the wild, but here we just drive along it in the car. Kings Canyon worth a trip just to experience this.
There is also a cave in Kings Canyon – Boyden Cave. Unfortunately it is not accessible due to damages suffered in the recent fire. We want to see a cave, what is left is Crystal Cave in the Sequoia National Park.
As we move deeper into the canyon, walls of the canyon narrow. Grizzly Falls appear on our route. This exceptional water cascade flows down the walls of Kings Canyon. In the summer time water flow is much less intense then in the spring, but it still worth to stop here. There is a nicely set picknick area, where we can stop for lunch.
Roaring River Falls
After another 7 miles the next waterfall awaits us – Roaring River Falls, located in Cedar Grove. The falls can be reached by 400 m paved trail. This outstanding waterfall is composed of two water cascades meeting in the stone gully. Water drops into the granite pool with the transparent emerald water.
Zumwalt Medow is the next attraction of Cedar Grove. It is hard not to lough at the name of this meadow, but walk through is a must. It looks like from the fairy tale, ancients cedars, wild flowers, brooks, everything surrounded by granite peaks.
Mist Falls Trail
The park road ends with the loop with a few large parking lots. This the starting place of several trails going deep into Kings Canyon. The most beautiful one is Mist Falls Trail. It is a quite long, 13 km roundtrip, but it is worth to save some time to walk it. First, we walk along the river through picturesque meadows and then, we climb up heading to granite peaks. The higher we go, the views become more Yosemite like, but with a very few people. We walk close to the river, so we are accompanied by mosquitos. Worse, on the trail I saw a rattle snake, which made me run with a scream to the nearby rocks. All the others were eager to see it.
Sound of the falling water can be heard from the distance, large cascades of water overflow big boulders and stone pockets are filled with water creating pools. You are tempted to enter this water, but you must be very careful, as water is very powerful and it is easy to be washed out, what may mean a quick death. One of our lenses dropped from our backpack, rolled into the water and vanished forever in a second in the river. We were in the middle of the trip, so loss one of our basic lenses, was a real problem. Fortunately, when we returned from the trail to the hotel, we were lucky to buy on the web the identical one, the last specimen in the entire US, which was delivered to Yellowstone 3 days later. In the evening we were celebrating our purchase of new and loss of the old lenses and a pile of money. Finally we made the toast to “those in the falls”.
What to see in Sequoia National Park when you have a half of a day:
- Moro Rock
- Tunnel Log
- Big Trees Trail
- General Sherman Tree
- General Grant Tree
What to see in Sequoia National Park when you have an entire day:
- all of the above plus
- Hanging Rock
- Beetle Rock
- Kings Canyon (Grizzly Falls, Roaring River Falls, Zumwalt Meadow)
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