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Kings Canyon National Park

September 3, 2018

For Labor Day weekend we visited Kings Canyon National Park, staying at the Cedar Grove Lodge. For Columbus Day weekend last year we visited Sequoia National Park, and during that trip we visited the Grant Grove near the entrance to the park. But we wanted to see more of Kings Canyon, so we arranged a follow on trip this year. And although the John Muir Lodge in Grant Grove Village is supposed to be nice, we opted to stay in the Cedar Grove Lodge in Cedar Grove Village. The latter is roughly 46 miles from the former, so you get a lot deeper into the wilderness. It was definitely a good choice; staying in Cedar Grove you’re actually in the Canyon, and there are a number of great hiking trails you can just walk to from the Village.

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On our first day we hiked from the Roaring River Falls along the River Trail to Zumwalt Meadow, where we walked the loop around the meadow and then headed back to the falls. We did the hike in the evening, and the setting sun made the lighting on the surrounding mountains particularly dramatic.

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On the second day we hike up the canyon wall on the Hotel Creek Trail to the Cedar Grove Overlook, where we got a great view into the canyon. There were surprisingly few people on the trail, despite the number of people in the park. We had the Overlook to ourselves for lunch, and in total we passed maybe 16 other people on the trail. It was a particularly toasty hike; the high hit around 86, and there wasn’t a lot of shade on the hike. We were glad we got an early start for it, hitting the trail around 9:30.

Now that we’ve visited both Sequoia and Kings Canyon, I’m not sure which I like more. They’re actually very different parks: Sequoia is all about the giant Sequoia groves (obviously) and hiking in the woods, while Kings Canyon is drier and is more about hiking through the canyon and through chaparral. I’ll confess that I prefer Yosemite over both, but each of the two has their own charms that makes them both worth visiting.

From → Travel

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