Kings Canyon National Park has a lot to offer. First of all the road coming from Fresno (CA180) winds up from an elevation of 90m to about 1900m which is already quite impressive. From there the road goes further up before it drops down into the canyon at about 1300m meandering along the canyon wall. A thoroughly impressive and enjoyable drive! There are plenty pull outs to take in the view and I urge you to do that, there is not much time for enjoying the view while driving because of all the corners 🙂
I spent the night in the Cedar Grove Campground and got up early to do the 8 mile hike to Mist Falls. You might remember me complaining about not having seen a black bear during the whole time. Well, about 200 meters before reaching the Mist Fall a Black Bear was on the trail and of course it was behind a bend so that I almost walked into it…
Luckily the bear was even more surprised than I was and went down to the river. I backed up a bit and waited for it to clear the path. Unfortunately, after sipping some water the bear came back up to the trail and started to trot towards me. A slight panic started to rise in me… I kept walking back the trail for a bit and then went down to the river myself to circumvent the bear, which worked.
My planned lunch and photo break at the fall was not as relaxed as I was hoping for but I think I got at least one good picture. I tried to snap one of the bear but I was clearly not focused on the task as you probably can see 😀
On the way back there was no sign of the bear and other hikers coming up didn’t see it either.
Plan for the next day was to hike in the Redwood Canyon, the largest grove of Sequoia trees in the states. A beautiful and awe-inspiring forest. Words can’t describe how these trees make you feel!
After a night camping in the National Forest I drove the Generals Highway to the Sequoia National Park. The first stop was to admire the General Sherman Tree and walk the Congress Trail. Surprisingly just next to the Sherman tree was another Black Bear foraging the underwood. The Sherman tree is the biggest tree on earth by volume and believe me, it’s huge 🙂
Sequoia NP has many other famous sites to offer, the Auto Log, the Tunnel Log and Moro Rock. After visiting all of them (I didn’t dare to drive through the Tunnel log since it’s officially 2.438m (8ft) high and last time I measured the Landy was 2.43…) I went to the most remote part of the park, Mineral King.
The Mineral King Valley got mostly famous through Disney who wanted to build a Ski resort there. After years of legal battles, Disney dropped their plans and the valley was made part of the National Park.
The Mineral King road is another beautiful mountain road, for American standards a very narrow road with many single lane sections. It’s also quite steep and doesn’t have any guard rails with nice drops where the road ends.
My plan was to hike to the Monarch Lakes the next day, but I met some people from LA and New Orleans with whom I spent the evening. It was their last evening and they didn’t want to take down all the cans of beer, bottles of whisky and, yes there was also a plastic bag of wine.
The next morning my head didn’t really feel like hiking and the cold temperatures drove me down back to the coast. Thus, I haven’t seen much of the Mineral King Valley but what I’ve seen was gorgeous and I can only recommend going there.