Western U.S. Loop: King’s Canyon

Visit Date: September 25, 2018

Although it was sad to leave Kate and Don’s home, I had those waffles under my belt and were off to our next stop – King’s Canyon National Park – which is four or fives hours south.

Our journey to date

Our journey to date

We got to the park in early evening so just poked around a bit but I didn’t take any pictures. Our big hike was the next day  September 25.

After waking up and having breakfast we headed out for out day’s adventure. Our first stop was Grant Grove where we joined a Ranger-led tour of the second largest sequoia tree – General Grant –  and its cousins. It’s difficult to convey the size of these trees – I don’t have a wide enough lens to get a whole tree in the frame. Here are some stats from Wikipedia.

  • Height above base: 267.4 ft (81.5 m)
  • Circumference at ground: 107.6 ft (32.8 m)
  • Estimated volume of the trunk (bole): 46,608 cu ft (1,320 m3)
  • Age: 1,650 years (est.)

For scale here is a pictures (I think this is the General Grant) with people in the background.

General Grant Tree base (I think)

General Grant Tree base (I think)

Here are  Linda and Carla at the base of the brothers which is nearby.

I think these are called "The Brothers" - General Grant Grove. King's Canyon National Park

I think these are called “The Brothers” – General Grant Grove. King’s Canyon National Park

So, yeah, enormous.

After the quick walk around this sequoia grove we headed down to the bottom of King’s Canyon for a hike around Zumwalt Meadow. I wrote last year that this was our favorite hike ever and we were anxious to get down and see it again.

The drive down highway 180 winds down and down into the canyon; the drive takes more than an hour but the views are worth it.

Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park

View from Hwy 180 view point in Kings Canyon National Park

Eventually you get down to the King’s River.

Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park

Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park

There wasn’t much water in it this late in the season but looking at the river bed you can imagine how much water goes through.

Along the way we stopped at the Grizzly Falls picnic area for a quick picture. Unlike Yosemite, there was water in the falls.

Grizzly Falls; Kings Canyon National Park

Grizzly Falls; Kings Canyon National Park, California

We stopped for lunch at the Cedar Grove Lodge. It was getting close to the end of the season so we didn’t see many people around. Many of the campgrounds were closed. The river flows near the parking lot of the lodge.

Unfortunately for us we discovered that part of the trail we planned to take was out of commission. No worries, we stopped at Roaring River Falls where there is a trail over to Zumwalt Meadow.

Roaring River Falls. Kings Canyon National Park, California

Roaring River Falls. Kings Canyon National Park, California

Truth be told I was a bit cranky about doing this alternate hike. I would have rather walked the parts of the trail we did last year. But I was traveling with sisters so I was outvoted. In retrospect it was good we took the new route. I mean, how can you stay cranky when the scenery is so beautiful.

Roaring River Falls Trail. Kings Canyon National Park, California

Roaring River Falls Trail. Kings Canyon National Park, California

Eventually we came to the river in the area we reached the previous year from the other side.

 

Near Zumwalt's Meadow. South Fork Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park, California

Near Zumwalt’s Meadow. South Fork Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park, California

The water was clear and inviting; we didn’t drink but we sure splashed some on our faces and necks to cool off.

Near Zumwalt's Meadow. South Fork Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park, California

South Fork Kings River. Kings Canyon National Park, California

A little farther along we came upon Zumwalt Meadow.

Zumwalts Meadow; Kings Canyon National Park

Zumwalts Meadow; Kings Canyon National Park; California

What a difference a year makes. When we visited last September – just a week earlier than this year – the meadow was green. California had a wet winter that year but this year it seems like the drought is threatening to return. Here is a picture from a similar vantage point in September 2017

Meadow and mountains - King's Canyon National Park, California

Meadow and mountains – King’s Canyon National Park, California

We retraced our steps on the trail back to the Roaring River Falls and our car.

Roaring Falls trail to Zumwalt Meadow - Kings Canyon National Park

Roaring Falls trail to Zumwalt Meadow – Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

At a viewpoint on the way back we talked with a woman who had taken the same  hike we had and had SEEN A BEAR. She was mad at herself for immediately hiding instead of grabbing a picture. I would have hidden and not even thought of taking a picture! I love the hikes and the views but I can do without bears.

The shadows were starting to fall across the hills across the canyon so we hustled back up to John Muir Lodge. Driving up and down that canyon in daylight is excitement enough; we didn’t want to do it in the pitch black. We ate at the lodge again and had a better server than the night before. The next day we would do a bit of sight-seeing but our main objective was crossing the Mojave desert into Arizona. More on that in the next post.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
This entry was posted in Foliage and Landscape, National Parks, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s