John Muir considered Kings Canyon as a rival to Yosemite Valley. The view of the canyon is breathtaking and a portal to extensive hiking opportunities. Home to granite peaks and wild rivers, giant sequoia groves and the General Grant Tree (the world's second largest), Kings Canyon National Park should be on every hikers "to do" list.
We did this trail in November. The park was busier than expected, but this trail was very quiet and peaceful. We only saw about 5 other people in total.
The trail begins near Quail Flats down a dirt road across the street. Apparently they sometimes close the road, which if you had to walk to the trail head would add about 4 miles to the total distance. Fortunately for us the road was open and we could drive direct to the trail head.
The trail begins across from the Sugar Bowl trail. We went in the clockwise direction. It was beautiful. You see a lot of landmarks, including the site of an old fence mill from the 1800s, Pierce Log Cabin (which was made from a fire hollowed sequoia), a fire fallowed tree you can walk through, a meadow, the Hart tree itself, a lot of little creeks and a little waterfall, fallen Goliath (which we somehow missed), a back country campsite, and a log foot bridge. All this accompanied by beautiful vistas and massive trees at every turn. Our favorite was the waterfall thou. We even had lunch by it.
Fall was a great time to go as there were indeed leaves on the ground and color in some trees. I definitely recommend it.
One thing I didn't account for was the number of hills to be climbed on this trail. It is definitely more moderate than easy in difficulty. Towards the end I definitely started feeling it.
It is absolutely a nice easy walk. One thing I want to correct thought - Dogs are NOT allowed on the trail. It says they are allowed on leash but once you get there you'll see the sign no dogs allowed on trail. We found out the hard way and one of us had to stay with the pup
This was an excellent hike. It was a little longer than I'm used to, but the beginning is super flat and easy. Most of the gain is towards the end, but it gets shadier as you go along and there are plenty of great views along the way that make you want to keep going. There are plenty of photo ops that I took advantage of and I even got some pictures of some black-tailed deer on the way back.
I highly recommend this hike! I only wish I had brought lunch with me as well as some bug spray.
I recently completed a backpacking trip along the John Muir Trail. The scenery is amazing. If this isn't the most beautiful long-distance trail in the country, it has to be on the short list. I started at the Cottonwood Pass campground and hiked northbound. It took two days to reach the JMT from the Cottonwood Pass area. My entire trip ended up being around 240 miles long.
Videos of each day can be found on my YouTube channel. I also have some videos about the gear I used and food I packed on the trip. A link to the video for day one is posted below. Mt. Whitney is day three if you want to jump to that one. I just posted day 11, which was in the Selden Pass area. This was the most beautiful area on the trail in my opinion. Enjoy!
I took this trail thinking the sign at the bottom was accurate in the trail's length. The sign was off by my count by a mile. This added 2 miles of heavy climbing to the trip. The trail is easy to follow, but is very steep climbing for most of it. The meadow at the top was disappointing to say the least. I did not go to lookout point. There are enough trees along the trail to give you shade while climbing. I'm not a fast hiker and it took me 6 hours to do the 12 mile round trip.
Lukka m. on Rae Lakes Trail
I couldn't agree more with all the reviews here. Wish I had made my trip longer, but condensed the trip into 3 days as we went clockwise from Road's End. Stunning wilderness, many breathtaking views, gorgeous lake views and pristine wildlife. We encountered a total of 5 bears, so don't be foolish an enter without a bear canister (they're required for a reason). I only wish I had taken more time to venture off trail.