Explore Kings Canyon - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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16 hours ago

Nice little trail from Lodgepole. Just a trickle coming down the falls this time of year but still beautiful.

hiking
2 days ago

Came here on a weekday when we could park at the trailhead. It's a short but steep hike up to the top. The views were still amazing despite some of the haziness from the nearby fires. Definitely plan to come back when the sky clears and to go to stargazing.

Awesome hike! a full 360 view at the far end, nice mix of easy and harder trails and an unstoppable urge to shout from the top of your lungs! We went midday and only met a couple of other hikers on the trail. However we saw Marmots!

5 stars for the beautiful scenery along the trial, minus 1 star for the disappointing falls itself in summer. Easy trial along the flowing river, enjoyable with kids and pets.

This place is beautiful and peaceful! It starts off at a waterfall. Looks a little to dangerous to get in. There are lots of nats and mosquitos since you’re walking along a pretty little river but, my bug spray from Walmart worked just fine. I fell in love with the meadow , there’s a wood walkway that takes you through it. We recorded 6.8 miles because we walked the whole thing and went around a extra loop at the end(by accident). My son is 9, it was his first hike and he did very well! This place is definitely a must see. (Also someone stole my go-pro from the bridge please return it

Great hike overall. Especially loved the constant change of scenery. We saw a brown bear and her cub on the way up, was incredible! The only downside were the bugs, so bring repellent.

hiking
5 days ago

The views are spectacular and second to none. The parking is limited. The crowds are dangerously overwhelming. Be extra careful when going up there.

The reason this hike only gets 4 stars is the lack supervision from park rangers. I saw a lot of people careless on trail that doesn't give second chances.

hiking
5 days ago

Started at Zumwalt Meadow and extended our hike to include the trail to Bailey’s bridge. From Bailey’s bridge, we began the climb to Mist Falls. We encountered gnats and mosquitoes throughout the entire 12.8 miles. More pleasant wildlife encounters included a bear, a mule train, and a snake. Although the granite stairway to Mist Falls was tough, it was totally worth it to see waterfall.

Scott’s review was very useful as it allowed us to prepare ourselves for the height (I have a profound respect for heights, not fear, respect!)

We only hiked to the first lake, taking the watchtower route. We were fine until we hit the cliffs... (everyone else was fine there too, I was the one who clung to the walls and was focused on making it through.). The tough part is about 400m long with some seriously scary spots..

The way back was through the hump route.

Our children joined 20, 16 and 13. Trail was beautiful and demanding. We swam at the lake then hiked down.
Recommended for sure.

The trail itself is quite beautiful and easy with a steady uphill out and steady downhill on the back. There is one area that has a rocky outcropping that can be difficult. We started early on a Saturday. Unfortunately, there was a group that had 70 or so people in it, so it was way too crowded with trash left all over the place. I’d do this trail again, but during off season.

Absolutely spectacular! Probably the best day hike I’ve ever been on! This trail has it all! We hit the trailhead at 0715 and had it all to ourselves! We went out to Heather Lake via Watchtower and back using the Hump Trail. The views on Watchtower are breathtaking! If you’re scared of heights this is NOT the trail for you! The edge of the trail drops off precipitously to say the least! I jumped out of planes in the Army and still found myself hugging the wall! Watchtower is the easiest way to get out to the lakes (side-hilling). Heather Lake is amazing. Crystal clear water and the trout breaching for insects is a spectacle in itself. We opted to return to the trailhead via The Hump Trail. The elevation gain on the Hump Trail is no joke. The views from the top are amazing. Going back we must have seen 30 or more hikers. Some more prepared than others. Go early and enjoy nature!!

What a spectacular hike! Not only is the scenery beautiful but the animals along the trail are as well! We saw deer, marmots, quail, squirrels, and grouse! The short trip to the top is well worth it! My daughter and I did it on 8/8/18. I’d recommend hitting the trail early. We started around 0730. By doing this you avoid the crowds, the heat, and the haze hasn’t really had an opportunity to build up. We had Little Baldy all to ourselves! The view is breathtaking. I can only imagine what the view looks like on a clear day!

hiking
6 days ago

the nuisance of bugs was minor compared to the overall hike. great views. just challenging enough. looking forward to exploring the other trails in the area

Hiked this with my parents and kids. An easy day hike that gives you great valley views and meanders along a beautiful stream. Trail ends at a waterfall- there is a great rock to jump from into a deep pool. The river has many places to wade in and cool off, where he water makes natural slides over the granite bed

This was by far the most wonderful hike ive ever done. Challenging though,but will give you the best legs workout. Although i didnt get to see the emerald and pear, heather was just so beautiful. The water is perfect for a quick dip, and surprisingly is not that cold!

Wonderful trail. Day hiked to lower paradise valley and back with my sister. First half is pretty mild but after mist falls it’s pretty much uphill in the sun with switch backs. You get an amazing view of tumbling water the whole way, beautiful deep green pools surrounded by a relentlessly torrential river. Stopped at the Bailey bridge on the way back to roads end for a awesome swim in a deep green pool and some crazy English kids were jumping from the bridge and the rock! Note that the smoke from the Ferguson fire was noticeable (did the hike Friday 8/3) so things were a little hazy

Perfect day hike! All the best of the sierras. My hubby and daughter stopped at heather to fish for trout and hang out, while my 11 year old son and I went ahead to pear. Lakes are all beautiful and varied but pear takes the cake. Granite surrounds above the tree line and crystal blue green water for a refreshing dip. We started hiking at 7:30 and we’re back in the car by 3:30. Steep climb most of the way, and amazing and slightly scary views from watchtower...

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike and fairly cool on an early August day when it was broiling at lower elevations. No bugs on the mountain and not too bad along the creek - but enough that repellent would have made it more enjoyable. Mostly we had the trail to ourselves. The number of old-growth trees is astounding.

A real California Adventure! Personally would recommend staying two nights at Emerald and day hiking the hour to Pear Lake. Although Pear Lake does feel more isolated. Watchtower Trail is awesome as long as you're sure footed and not afraid of heights.

I completed this hike on August 4th and it was AMAZING!!! The forest in the beginning was nice and shaded and got some good views. The Watchtower is spectacular!! You walk on the ridge line and catch some epic views of the peaks across the way. Heather and Emerald Lake were beautiful but Pear Lake takes the cake. We jumped in and swam a little bit and enjoyed the sunny weather.
Side note: The trailhead said it was 6.2 to Pear Lake so in and back would be 12.4 miles.

Awesome views, and the Lakes are wonderful. Very tough hike. Recommend going via watchtower and return via hump trail.

Such a beautiful hike surrounded by towering granite walls and the sound of the river accompanying us along the way. Very easy walk although we recorded 4.9 miles and 387 ft of elevation. A minor negative were the gnats that seemed immune to bug spray. Highly recommend this hike that all fitness levels can enjoy. 8/4/2018

Great hike! You get a little bit of everything with this hike and you are almost always within ear shot of the river. When you get to the falls, the mist from it is quite invigorating and refreshing!

Loved this one!

hiking
17 days ago

Great trail! Can be heavily trafficked on certain days. Kings Canyon does not disappoint. Absolutely beautiful! Even with the smoky skies from California wildfires. Take bug spray, the mosquitoes can be relentless.

Just did this trail a few days ago. We hit the trailhead around noon on a Wednesday and boy was it hot! I was coming off a tough few days of work and starting out in 85 degree heat was not the ideal way to do this continuously uphill climb. It was very strenuous BUT... it was worth it. The lakes themselves are spectacular. Next time, we'll spend the night somewhere close by and start up early morning - way better to actually enjoy the hike.

We camped at Emerald Lake the first night and Pear lake the 2nd night. Emerald lake actually has the better campsites, and next time we'll spend two nights at Emerald lake and just day hike up to Pear Lake.

Also, the best lake to swim in was definitely Heather Lake, the first of the lakes. It's a little smaller, and thus was warmer than both Pear and Emerald Lake. We didn't try Astor Lake (next time!)

Beware the marmots at Pear Lake! We tried to set up at one of the campsites, but there was a marmot who was clearly not happy with us being in his home. We switched campsites and later found that that same marmot had been snatching clothes left out at a neighboring campsite!

Sun exposure first 1/3 of trail, then easy shaded walk until last .2 miles with narrow path through rocks. Can rock scramble at end, though waterfall is minimal in late July. Went with 10mo on back and 6+8 year olds - we all did fine though was nearing our limit. Kids played in river afterwards, should have brought swimsuits. Moderate traffic on a Sunday afternoon when Yosemite was closed due to fire.

Just got back from doing this trip this weekend. It was incredible! My first backpacking trip, and I loved every minute of it. The scenery and views are abundant stunning. The wildlife is beautiful - I was yelled at by a bear! The water in Pear and Emerald Lakes was so refreshing. Emerald’s water was a bit warmer, and I jumped off my first rock! =) Would totally recommend this trail. I can’t wait to go back and bring some friends next time.

Must have permit to camp - walk up only at Lodgepole. We slept in the parking lot Thursday night, and were standing in line behind 3 others before the Visitor’s Center opened. We got the last 2/3 permits.

Must have a bear canister. Pack out everything. Leave it better than you found it.

A beautiful hike without question. You start by hiking through a pleasant forest until you reach the Watchtower where you finally get above the tree line and get some views. The trail can perhaps be a bit a bit scary if you're afraid of heights but I didn't think there were any tricky bits at all. That said, if you want to avoid hiking on trails that have sheer drops, use the "Hump Trail" to bypass the Watchtower section completely. Or you can use the Hump Trail on the way back so as not to retrace your steps completely. Mosquitoes can get pretty annoying, especially around the lakes, so make sure you carry a bug spray.
Overall, this is a lovely hike that will take a better part of a day but I probably wouldn't really consider it as hard. Definitely recommended.
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of yellow-bellied marmots and heard some grouse but never saw them.

A great little hike - especially if you're staying at the Lodgepole campground, this is a must-do.
We had done the General Sherman to Moro Rock hike in the morning and and with nothing much to do later in the day, I went to see the Tokopah Falls. The hike itself is easy and mostly flat. However, once you get to the falls, you can scramble up if you chose to, which is fun and can be a bit trickier. The waterfall itself was still pretty impressive beginning of June but I suspect it might be more of a trickle later in summer. That said, the views of the glacial valley will be amazing any time of year, so if you find yourselves in the area and have 2 hours to spare, definitely give this hike a shot.
As for wildlife, I saw some marmots at the falls but that's about it.

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