Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Kings Canyon National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great early season/beginner backpacker hike! We hiked up past Mist Falls to camp at Lower Paradise Valley on May 4th. Lots of steps but beautiful views along the way! The campsite has a large, flat, forested area very close to the South fork of the Kings River. Bear box/locker provided! It was cool in the 40s at night but there was a designated campfire area we took advantage of.
The following day we day hiked up through Middle Paradise Valley (where there is a rustic toilet!). This was much flatter than the previous days hike but also had some sandy sections were the trail was a little hard to find...we made it to Upper Paradise Falls to see the bridge washed out (we didn’t take the time to look but rumor has it there may be a log crossing in the area...?)
The third day we hiked back and saw a rattlesnake! Saw a handful of hikers along the way. No bears. Only a few bugs. Can’t wait to do the Rae’s Lakes Loop now!

This trail is Awesome! The Hart tree loop is really fantastic. Lots of sequoias, lots of cool things to see. Fairly easy, not a ton of up and down that I remember. We backpacked it and slept on the much less-loved section beyond the Junction for Hart and sugarbowl. If you look at the TOPO map and not the alltrails map, it will show an additional trail that follows redwood creek further down the valley. There are less redwoods in this section of the trail, and it is not as recently maintained, but It is beautiful.

Several river crossings, and lots to see.

backpacking
1 month ago

A lovely summer week in the Sierra - one of the best! The lakes were glassy in the mornings and reflected the surroundings flawlessly. We did the loop clock-wise. There were lots of rattlesnakes up to Paradise Meadows.

backpacking
1 month ago

absolutely amazing one of the best things iv ever done

backpacking
1 month ago

An super awesome trail, I can remember seeing a reflection of the Milky Way in Littel Rae lake Along side of Fin Dome!!!! In2000 Can’t wait to get back there this summer!!!

Lost GPX file so had to draw it out. Much more strenuous than the 17 miles (GPX file read ~25 miles) and 5000 vertical feet described. First and last 6 miles (on trail up to Lamarck Col and down from Muriel Lake) are fine but everything in between is scrambling, talus, shale, route finding. All class 3, sometimes having to take off packs etc. Still worth it for the views of Darwin Canyon if you don't have time for the 55 mile North Lake to South Lake loop. Doable in 3 days but don't underestimate the route finding/talus/boulder fields.

backpacking
2 months ago

Finished in 2014 what I started in 2012. A "must do" for any backpackers' bucket list

Did this trail with my wife in early February, was un seasonable warm for this time of year. Great hike with giant trees. my GPS tracker said that the hike ended up being about 8 miles. we saw hundreds of lady bugs near the fallen tree bridge.

This trail is also known as the Shepherd Pass trail. It's a fantastic trail and in great condition. If your car can't make it up the rough dirt road to the hiker trailhead, consider parking at the the stock trailhead, a half mile before the hiker turnoff. Then hike up the stock trail to join the hiker trail.

Go in the winter. Miles of MASSIVE Sequoias and beautiful scenery. We went on Dec, 8 2017 and didn’t see a single other person on the entire trail. Zero. BUT, we did see a Mountain Lion about 80ft in front of us on the trail at the 4mi mark. Luckily he/she took off, but we were definitely on edge the rest of the way. Took us 3hrs and 10min to complete the loop

backpacking
6 months ago

Had a great trip here on an unusually warm and clear weekend in late October. We did the clockwise loop from Road's End in 3 days / two nights. All told I would've enjoyed having another day or two to spend up by the lakes. The total mileage for the loop from Road's End is more like 42 and of the few other parties we saw it seemed like 4 or 5 days was the more common outing. This is a really fine bit of the sierras!

backpacking
6 months ago

October, 2017- Did an overnighter at campsite 1 (~6.5 miles in). Daytime temps low 70s, nighttime temps low 30s. Views were slightly obscured by nearby prescribed fire, but the morning sunlight made for some impressive lighting. We were lucky to come within 10 ft and 60 ft of two black bears- one on the way in and one on the way out (both of them were quick to get away from us). Also, a fawn and doe visited our campsite.
Overall a great overnight hike that I highly recommend.

backpacking
6 months ago

Truly beautiful view. The way up is an excessive amount of rock stairs which is tough if you are not an experienced hiker. We saw a bear 20ft from the trail pass the falls, which are also incredible. The stream takes you all the way to the campsite

backpacking
7 months ago

Hiked Sept 26-30th, stayed at Middle Paradise, Woods Crossing, Rae Lakes, and Junction Meadow. Bear boxes at parking lot and each camp site (except at Junction Meadow).

Perfect time of year to visit, since not crowded but still beautiful. Got cold enough at night at Rae Lakes to freeze the hose of our Camelbak. Some ice on trail up to glen pass at 11 am. Barely any snow on glen pass, and was easy enough to hike over the one patch at the top after noon in regular shoes/boots.

Wildlife highlights: lots of warblers including Hermit and Townsend's in Paradise Valley, Northern Saw-whet owl tooting at Middle Paradise, Lewis's woodpecker just past Paradise Bridge, lots of Clark's nutcrackers, marmots near Rae lakes ranger station, lots of pikas between Rae lakes and glen pass, large flocks of evening grosbeaks and band-tailed pigeons below junction meadow, and an inquisitive marten right above sphinx creek.

backpacking
7 months ago

Did this hike in July 27-28, 2017. It took half a day each way. Camped at Paradise Valley. Loved it. Fairly strenuous if you leave after noon -- to get to the campsite you have to move at a fairly brisk pace, although it is fairly easy up to Mist Falls. Saw two rattlesnakes, so be alert!

The most beautiful view I have seen in my life. Though the trail is like roller coaster and it is a little crowded...Hiked in from late August to early September in 2017. Weather is mild, but I think the biggest trouble is the thunder storm. They were really scaring and I was under it. Snow pack and fording are fine. Though rain jacket is not a must, I am glad to have it with to feel more comfortable during the rains.

Hiked from Onion Valley Campground to Charlotte Lake in about 5 hours. Reviews below mention it's a 3-4 day trip but that is only if you average about 3 miles per day. We took the high route over bullfrog and kearsarge lakes because the route was less strenuous. Camped at Charlotte Lake and saw a couple bears so make sure you carry you bear canister! Overall it was an amazing hike with breathtaking views

backpacking
8 months ago

First backpacking trip was amazing at this loop. Spectacular views, river crossings, and suspension bridges. just be prepared for any weather at any time!

hiking
8 months ago

I'm not sure if they were flies or mosquitoes (they weren't biting), but not even they could prevent this from being a great hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Bring a face net to keep all flies out of your face, but otherwise it's a beautiful hike!

backpacking
8 months ago

Walk-up permits available starting the day before at 1pm. Get them at Road's End permit station. But seems like only 5 available per day.

Allocate 3-4 days to complete the loop. Bear canisters are required, as this is an active black bear area, even though we didn't encounter any. Mosquito headnets are highly recommended as there are miles of trail thru swarms of gnats and mosquitos. Water sources abound, so no need to carry more than 2 liters at a time; bring a water filter, though.

Going clockwise along the loop is recommended, and pretty much what everyone does. First night in Upper Paradise Valley. Second night at Middle Rae Lakes. Third night at Junction Meadow.

Still some snow around Glen Pass, but there's none of the trail. Temperatures were mild. +40 degree sleeping back was enough for me.

Wildlife we encountered: Deer, marmots, chipmunks, rattlesnake.

hiking
8 months ago

We were prepared for the mosquitoes. I had brought head nets and plenty of water. Even had a chance to do a little fishing. It was so serene and beautiful. We even were lucky enough to hike up with a Park Ranger to Mist falls. Who had some great information about the wildlife in the area before we continued on to lower Paradise valley. We also got a chance to see some deer on our way back. The weather was ideal for this wonderful journey!

8 months ago

Fun times. Glen pass ain't bad at all!!!

backpacking
9 months ago

Are dogs really allowed on this trail? I thought dogs can't go anywhere within the national parks.

backpacking
9 months ago

Did this hike as part of backpacking the Rae Lakes Loop. I would highly recommend doing the loop - it's beautiful! Here is a trip report with pictures and logistical info: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/rae-lakes-loop/

backpacking
9 months ago

This is an amazing backpacking loop. I did it in July of 2016 and loved it. Here is my trip report with a bunch of pictures and logistical info: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/rae-lakes-loop/

day hike from onion to Kearsage... my favorite hike so far in the Sierras... amazing views the whole way... seeing Bullfrog lake in the distance and the headwaters of the Kings River was a plus... it was like Dr. Suess and Dali designed these mountains... on the way up, two substantial waterfalls merge into the same lake...

Excellent hike. Some mosquitoes but not tons. Lots of sequoias. Many small creeks. Mostly through wooded areas. Only saw about 5-10 people-- probably due to location and unpaved road leading in. All in all a great hike-- tons of sequoias but very little crowd (unlike more southern parts of the park).

backpacking
9 months ago

Fantastic loop. Especially at Rae Lakes and the campsites before and after your night at Rae Lakes. Spectacular views. It will make you sweat and work for it but well worth it!

Excellent trail. Completed on 7/15/17. Route is clear, but the mosquitoes are out. Be sure and bring bug spray!

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