Explore the most popular trail running 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.

This is a great loop, especially for backpacking. We went in early december, these are a few notes for anyone else going in winter:
The forest road to the trailhead is a dirt road that isn't plowed, so unless you're very confident in snow you'll probably want to park at Quail Flats and hike approx 2 miles in to the trailhead. It's an easy walk in, but adds some climbing to the hike out. As of december 2018, the creek was flowing well - easy to filter water from it. The trail can be a little hard to follow in some places, and as you come up to the trailhead on the redwood creek side, the de facto trail strays a little way from the mapped trail, but you do eventually get there. There are a bunch of workable spots for camping near the creek. Lastly, the trail was slushy during the day, so waterproof boots are definitely a good idea.

11/25/18 One of our favorites so far! The trail was a fairly easy hike. Any inclines were very gradual. We really enjoyed the variety of scenic views, from giant sequoias, to rock formations, small waterfalls, babbling brooks and a look out point overlooking kings canyon. The trail was easy to follow and never any cliffs to worry about. There was just a little bit of snow. Enough for us to make a small snowman to honor our friends in Wisconsin. While we didn’t see any wildlife it’s certainly out there. We saw a couple dozen bear pop piles. Note: carry bear spray just to be safe. Temps were in the mid 40’s with abundant sunshine. It was perfect weather. We looped the trail counterclockwise. With a short trail snack we finished in 3 hours for a total of 8.25 miles. On our drive out on the dirt road we came across a LARGE BOULDER in the middle of the road. It fell while we were on the trail. We managed to get around it but it was very tight. We notified the ranger. Hopefully they remove it soon. Definitely a hazard. Would definitely do this hike again!

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful trail up to a granite dome with 360 views. A little different than any of the other trails we did at Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Not too steep. Well maintained trail. We were the only people on the trail in late November.

on Buena Vista Trail

hiking
20 days ago

Great Panoramic view point looking over the mountains. Also amazing spot for sunset, we had the pinkest sunset at this point. We lost the trail on the way up but if you follow all trails route you will be fine. But alternatively if you want to get up to the top quicker you can just simply climb up, which wasn’t too difficult. Small car park but we went at the start of November so was quite and space. Also no toilets at trail head.

backpacking
1 month ago

My 2 kids, 10yr old granddaughter and I went on this beautiful backpack trip Oct 19-21/2018. We had perfect weather 65 during the day, and hi 30's at night. Gravel road to parking lot was perfect, looked as though it had been recently redone.
Leaving the parking lot, we went on the left trail choosing to go down hill to where we would camp. It was about 2.5 miles to the bottom, and a beautiful hike. There is a stream about a mile down the trail, and it goes close to the trail the rest of the way to the bottom. Take note, there are very few places to set up camp.
We came back going left coming back the approx 4.5 mi back to the parking lot. There are no streams or water sources all the way back. We had a great time!!!! Beautiful hike, saw 4 deer, 2 coming into our camp site at about 8PM on our second night. LOVED IT ALL!!!!!!!

SUPER WORTH IT!!! Beautiful views and MASSIVE trees! Would definitely recommend

We did this hike on 10/6/18. We hiked counterclockwise from the trailhead. It was overcast and cool when we started and we finished in the rain. The sun did come out occasionally to light up the sequoias and they’re the star of this hike. The sugar bowl itself is just unreal. Huge trees everywhere. It was surreal. There were a couple of sections of the trail that afforded views of big baldy and little baldy, which could be very nice but they were obscured by the clouds when we hiked it. Clouds or not, the magnificent trees are an experience unto themselves. After the sugarbowl, and you'll know you're in it because every tree you can see is a sequoia, it's a long downhill jog to the canyon floor, then a long uphill slog back to the trailhead. There aren't many sequoias on the downward section but they grow more numerous on the way up and out of the canyon. Outstanding hike.

Really gorgeous trail. I saw a few bear paw prints so I was whistling/singing throughout since I was alone. (I am overcoming my fear of bears, ok.) I saw only one other person while hiking, and the parking lot never even got to close to half full. Someone else mentioned to remember to look up when you’re in the canyon. Take that advice. The trail was easy to follow. I completed the trail in 2.5 hours and my iPhone recorded just under 7 miles.

Wow, loved hiking this trail! It’s actually 5 miles round trip and a 1,200 foot elevation gain, but a moderately difficult hike indeed. It’s starts off at a moderate incline through the cedar tree meadows and then works its’ way up with several switchbacks to the stop. Several bugs on the first half mile or so through the meadows so bring bug spray! They start to thin out as you get higher up on the mountain. It’s about 35% shaded.

I went in early October and there was a nice breeze, so I stayed nice and cool. Lots of wildlife! I saw deer, lizards, marmots, and birds. A few spots of greenery at the top during the fall. The view at be top is amazing! You’ll see the mountains and all of the Cedar Groves! Going back down can be slippery due to the sand, so wear sturdy shoes and watch your step. Also a ton of fallen trees you’ll have to climb over. Otherwise, a gorgeous hike!

backpacking
2 months ago

This trip was absolutely awesome! I did the trip with a group of 5 and we rode pack horses the first day. The trip took a total of eight days and was pretty strenuous but well worth it. We did it in late July and the weather was perfect with beautiful views in every direction

Awesome hike and the view is well worth the effort!!

hiking
2 months ago

This beautiful trail with gently ascending switchbacks makes the 2,555 ft of elevation gain feel easy. Once you've reached the crest the views are stunning. There are multiple lakes along the way. It was quite windy near the the top the day we went.

What a great trail, well marked and maintained. The hike is closer to 7.1 miles and takes over 4 hours. Be sure to stop often and look up and around..... the giant Sequoia’s are so beautiful and the views breathtaking.
We went on Labor Day, the parking lot was full but didn’t run into too many groups.
Started at the Sugar Bowl trail head, to the right, and made the loop. It was at least 20 degrees cooler up in Kings Canyon than in the valley. Since it’s summer, the small creeks were dry. However, there is a nice stream that runs along the last couple miles and I recommend sitting, cooling off your feet before the last mile, all uphill.
Looking forward to coming back in the Spring!

Great Labor day hike from 3pm-7pm. Felt longer than 6.5 miles though. Just couple of locations with mosquitoes but not bothersome. We started from teh redwood creek to sugar bush to complete the loop. The views were astounding. Sequoia trees were mesmerizing specially the first half of the trail starting from sugar bush. Take plenty of water and wear long sleeeves & pants as there are areas with very narrow trail surrounded by short bushes.

hiking
3 months ago

Such a easy, short trail that had great views at the end. Saw a flock of quails running across the path. We had the trail all to ourselves but we started around 8am. We were glad to do this hike early in the morning since this is not a lot of shade available. Truly enjoyed the views from Buena Vista Peak. 8/19/2018

Like others have said, it is a hot, sunny, steep hike, but the view at the overlook makes it worth it. After I got to the overlook I decided to do the whole loop by connecting with the Lewis trail and then back. It was challenging but good if you're up for the distance! I only saw two other hikers the whole time. The eight mile loop took me three hours to complete.

Great Trail! Lots of ferns and shaded areas. The bridge is still down passed Bailey’s Bridge. Bring a lot of bug spray and I highly suggest mosquito nets, they are BAD!

Nice easy hike that’s relatively flat the entire way. The highlight of this trail is Bailey’s Bridge. Lots of sandy river bed areas to enjoy a break and a swim. We started at the trailhead by the Road’s End ranger station and went up to Mist Falls. After descending from Mist Falls, we decided to return by taking the other half of the loop on the south side of the river. Lots of gnats and mosquitoes though.

hiking
4 months 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.

Nice hike with lots of shade and beautiful redwoods to look at. We did the loop trail towards Hart tree ending with the Canyon. For this particular route I'd rate 3 stars. The last part of the hike descending down the canyon and immediately back up is a little kick in the butt especially after you've been on the trail ~5-6 miles in 95-100 degree weather. It definitely made it much less enjoyable for me as I was more focused on just completing the hike to go back to the car and drinking a beer vs being able to take in the scenery and surrounding. If we had done the opposite loop starting with the canyon first and then the Hart tree, I would've rated that hike a 4 star and would recommend doing the loop in that direction.

This is a very steep and very hot hike, but it gets you right on the ridge of the canyon for one of the best overlooks in the area! It's not very long so should only take a few hours, but is definitely a MODERATE hike, not an easy one! It's extremely steep and is essentially steep switchbacks the entire way up!

beautiful views at the top and an easy and pleasant climb to get there. my babushka and I enjoyed it thoroughly and only encountered 2 other people on the trail

Many nicer trails in Kings Canyon. The Manzanita part was in horrible shape - 2 stars. The Azalea part was much nicer - 3.5 stars. If I were to do it again, I’d hike the Azalea trail as an out and back to Panoramic Point and/or Park Ridge lookout tower.

We did the trail in reverse starting with Redwood Canyon and ending with Hart Tree trail. I’m glad we did because the total loop was exactly 8.0 miles. If we started with Hart Tree and ended with Redwood Canyon, we would’ve been slogging uphill at the end of our hike. Total walking time was just under 4 hours. Although I saw sedans in the parking lot, I’m glad we took our pickup truck to get down the 2 mile dirt road to the trailhead. I didn’t see any water at the trailhead but there was a pit toilet. Despite the remote trailhead, there were quite a few people encountered.

hiking
5 months ago

I just hiked this on 6.16.18. No snow on trail only a small patch near top. Very windy at the summit. The last section from the top of Kearsarg Pass to the summit is nothing to joke about, this is the hardest part of this hike since it is straight up. Save your energy for this section. There seems to be a trail to the summit that you can follow however it is very hard to see on the way up. Such a beautiful hike and a great view into Kings Canyon!

hiking
6 months ago

This is a great hike with many giant Sequoias to see. I really enjoyed being able to see such beauty without the crowds like some of the other groves. The hike is not too difficult. We did see a bear, but never felt threatened.

What a wonderful hike! It’s not for the faint of heart - you’ll want to definitely be on board to do this hike because you’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. We were a little skeptical by the unpaved dirt road getting up there but stay confident - you’ll get to the main area eventually. There were very few people there but we were relieved to see we weren’t alone! We took the Hart Redwood fallen Goliath loop and it’s definitely longer than what the sign says. It’s a little over 8 miles. Overall, the hike was beautiful. The weather was perfect for us - and the trees and landscape were breathtaking. Most of the hike is shaded so it’s relatively cooler (make sure you pack accordingly). Lots of cool things to see - waterfalls, amazing trees, wildflowers, and possibly wildlife! We were warned by other hikers that there were bears spotted so be alert! Highly recommended. No crazy inclines but it’s definitely a good, long workout. We were pretty tired by the end. My hiking partner/boyfriend/lover/babushka said it was his favorite trail he’s ever been on.

Great hike! The creek canyon is far more lush than the Giant Forest area and was very peaceful. No mosquitos yet as of first week of June. The climb out of the canyon has great views despite all the smog, and the Sugar Bowl grove of sequoias was really stunning. Still a lot of wildflowers on the hill walking back down to the parking lot as well. Saw more hikers than I was expecting on a Monday but by no means crowded. The road still has some deep ruts and potholes in places but if you are careful you could avoid them in a sedan.

Nice hike, but it’s a little tough to follow the path as you reach sight of the rocky bald summit. And after enjoying a nice twilight vista, it’s doubly hard to find the path back down.

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