Situated in the Sierra Nevada range in east-central California, Kings Canyon National Park is a roughly 723 square-mile enclosure protecting highland meadows and forests, including old growth groves of giant redwoods. Although jointly administered with its neighbor, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon offers more than 800 miles of hiking trails in its own right. Through this combination of day trails and long distance trails, any visitor to the park has access to the striking scenery and rich wildlife.
Grant Grove protects several giant redwood groves, with some of the trees standing among the tallest in the world. Much of the hiking in this part of Kings Canyon National Park is of the day-hike variety, with particular attention paid to reaching the park's tallest trees. One of the easier trails in this part of the park is the 1/3-mile loop out to the General Grant Tree, the third tallest in the world at 268 feet. More typical is Big Baldy, a 4.4-mile round-trip that treks up through dense pine forest and highland meadows to the granite top of the trail's 8,209-foot namesake, Big Baldy. The only trail in this part of the park suitable for an overnight backpacking trip is the 16 miles of the Redwood Canyon trail.
Pacific Crest Trail
One of the nation's premiere long-distance hiking routes, the Pacific Crest Trail, runs right through the eastern park of Kings Canyon National Park. The trail follows a highland route parallel to the Pacific Coast, from the border of Canada through to the border of Mexico. The Kings Canyon part of the trail include the highest point reached anywhere along the Pacific Crest Trail, Forester Pass, with an elevation of 13,152 feet. Through its spurs, day hikers and backpackers on short multi-day trips can explore the Kings Canyon leg of the Pacific Crest Trail. The part of the Pacific Crest Trail that passes through Kings Canyon National Park is also sometimes called the John Muir Trail, a 211-mile route that was incorporated into the larger Pacific Crest.
Cedar Grove and Kings River
This part of the national park has a mixture of day hikes and multi-night backpacking trails, all of them demanding and many intersecting with other routes. Bubbs Creek Trail on its own is 11 miles long, and according to Frommer's, the trail requires five hours to hike. Along the way, Bubbs Creek Trail intersects with the Pacific Crest/John Muir Trail. The day hikes are shorter, but feature demanding climbs. The Hotel Creek Trail, which climbs up the Hotel Creek Valley, is only 3 miles long but ascends 1,500 feet.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.