Don Cecil Trail

Fresno, California

Don Cecil Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This old path, named after a shepherd, was the route sheepherders and cattlemen took to Cedar Grove long ago. Though it is steep and narrow in some areas, it affords splendid views of the Monarch Divide and the Cedar Grove area.

The wide trail begins climbing immediately, through oaks, cedars, and ponderosa pines. Large gray squirrels and small chickarees (Douglas squirrels) scamper about the area, gathering acorns in the fall. Come to a service road at 0.3 mile, which leads to a heliport and water tanks. Listen first for approaching cars before crossing the road."

Don Cecil Trail Reviews

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9/26/2002
We recently completed a loop hike that included the Don Cecil Trail in total. Starting at Cedar Grove roads end ranger station we hiked up Bubbs creek trail to the junction of the trail leading up Avalanche Pass and past the Sphinx. Having ample time planned to do the entire hike we camped our first night after arriving at the junction. The next day we hiked from this point to the crossing at Sphinx creek. Although this section of the trail has a lot of elevation gain in a short distance it is still a nice hike and the distance we covered made for an excellent day on the trail. Our third day on the trail was a little different however. We took advantage of the relaxed schedule and left camp rather late the next morning and our intention was to hike to Roaring River Ranger station. This part of the trip we mistakenly figured to be a very gradule ridge line hike. We expected to arrive at our goal by early afternoon and have a leisure evening. Wrong! Everyone in our little group has taken many hikes in Kings Canyon and have used several different maps. This trip and the maps we were using left each of us asking ourselfs if we knew anything at all about reading a map. We crossed a stream shortly after noon and felt the it was a little too early to set up camp for the night so decided to continue on to Roaring River. A long story shortend, we arrived there at dusk, pooped out and very foot sore from several miles of loose, sand like, granite trail. A quick dinner and in the sack. The morning changed it all, however. Roaring river is a beautiful place. The stream is running from one crystal clear pool to another and teaming with trout. I like this place and intend to return. The hike through the Sugarloaf valley is easy, level and nice. From there we hiked to Rowell Meadows which is a graising ground for cattle, here we experienced our only Bugs of the trip.We left Rowell meadows the next morning and intended to use the old top end of the Don Cecil from the ridge line to the roads end of the existing trail. The trail is non-existant as shown on the maps we were carrying and and after a couple mile of cross country we gave in to the Buck brush and hiked down to the roadway in the canyon. This turned out to be the highlight of the trip because we stopped at the place called Horse corral on the maps and here we met a delightful Lady who quickly informed us that she was infact the youngest daughter of eight children of none other than Don Cecil himself. Not wanting to guess at things like ones age I will suffice it to say this lady was a genuine treasue. If I was ever treated with more hospitality I can''t remember when. She was without a doubt a pleasure to meet and talk to. She offered us a place to camp on their place for the evening and walked us down to their spring to re-fill our water supply.She made us feel quite welcome. After a Great evening there we hiked out the following day back to Cedar Grove by decending the Don Cecil Trail. This was approximately an 8 mile hike to finish out our week. Over all we hike about 30 miles and enjoyed it all. Saw lots of Deer and caught a few fish. All in all a Great Week.
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Trail Information

Fresno
Nearby City
8.8
Distance
3,600 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Difficult
Skill Level
5 to 6 hours
Duration
Best late May through June, October through mid-November
Season
4,200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
7,800 feet
Top Elevation
Kings Canyon National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Cedar Grove; Kings Canyon National Park Cedar Grove; USFS John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia - Kings Canyon Wilderness
Local Maps
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Jun 2018