Kings Canyon NP Day Hikes


Sep 30, 2014
Just back from five days of day-hiking in Kings Canyon, most of it out of Cedar Grove. We’d never really spent a few days just to focus on this area until now…

We arrived the evening of Memorial Day, which meant that the crowds and had left, and the whole area had a rather subdued feeling to it. Sentinel Campground, except for one ugly incident (more on that below) was absolutely idyllic–spacious, quiet, and well-maintained. The first day we hiked Zumwalt Meadows to Roaring River Falls and back—and had that trail to ourselves until we hit the crowds at the falls themselves. A great way to get acclimated to the moderate elevation (about 5,000 feet.)

Day two had a real adventure in store, as we hiked up the Hotel Creek Trail (dripping hot in the sun and the temps in the low 90s). But that was only the beginning. We then clambered over a bunch of downed trees to get out to the Cedar Grove Overlook, and then bushwhacked our way through the remains of a trail down to the Lewis Creek trail. After that, it was clear sailing down to the Canyon floor, where we ate lunch and then had a delightful bear encounter on the trail back to the campground.

Day three was along the South River trail–much better than the usual sandy slog via the Bailey Bridge–to Bubbs Creek, and then up that trail beyond Sphinx Creek for fabulous views up Paradise Valley, down Kings Canyon, and straight up at the sheer granite of the Sphinx and its friends. The only sad part of this day was the discovery that someone had taken some of our gear from our campsite while we were gone. Terds.

Day four was a bit of a break, as well only did a morning hike up the Don Cecil trail to get views of the Monarch Divide and Mts. Gardiner and Clarence King, and then took the afternoon off to loll along the river on the North River drive. I even did some very ineffective fishing for a couple of tiny trout.

And day five had up driving up out of the park, stopping to hike the North Grove and Dead Giant Loops to see more magnificent Sequoias. All in all we did about 35-40 miles of day hikes, and really fell in love with this area–often thought of as front country, but we saw no more than six people on any of the trails we took.

The full report, complete with a link to the photo blog, is on our website:


Colorado Plateau is calling...
Feb 3, 2017
Sorry about your gear. We had some people steal our laundry in a hotel in Phoenix a couple of years ago during Christmas holidays. Idiot even wore the Seahawks shirt of mine the next day. Hotel couldn't do anything about it.
Sounds like you had a fun time despite that.


Colorado Plateau is calling...
Feb 3, 2017
We did have a great time--and the rangers in the campground and law enforcement (yes, we reported it) could not have been more helpful.

Sorry about your experience, but as a forty-niners fan., maybe that shirt wasn't a great loss...
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
norwegianxplorer Mt Whitney Virtual Hike via Horseshoe Meadows & Mt Langley, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park Backpacking 1
norwegianxplorer Big SEKI loop, Sequoia Kings Canyon Backpacking 1
norwegianxplorer Bear Standoff and Bluff Charge in Kings Canyon yesterday June 30th Backpacking 16
K Kings Peak Trip Trip Planning 6
Muddy Waters Stevens, Fold, Escalante River, Fools, Kings Mesa Trip Reports 3
WasatchWill A Birthday Along the 'Kings Castle' Loop Backpacking 11
Mike K Kings Peak Via Garfield Basin Backpacking 18
Ehouston24 Uintas Loop (Red Castle/Kings Peak) Trip Planning 14
DrNed Red Castle Kings Peak Henry's Fork Take Two Backpacking 8
JackBurns Kings Peak at 50 General Discussion 13
Skiwi Kings Peak in mid July? Trip Planning 5
Perry Injured Utah Hiker Rescued Near Kings Peak General Discussion 9
Kishenehn Kings Peak in 1930 ... General Discussion 2
Ben uintas, kings peak from swift creek th Backpacking 5
Parma Kings Peak (August 2014) Backpacking 32
Nick Missing Hiker on Kings Peak General Discussion 3
WillisBodillus Kings Peak (7/31-8/2) Backpacking 7
peakbagger1971 Kings-Emmons ridge Trip Planning 1
Dave Kings Peak, Uintas (August 2-3, 2010) Backpacking 14
futurafree Grand Canyon norovirus General Discussion 6
H location of thirteen faces-horse canyon Utah Hiking & Camping 4
Bob Teton Canyon Bear General Discussion 3
scatman Big Willow Canyon - June 11, 2022 Hiking & Camping 33
TrailScot Dripping Canyon to Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa, Utah - March 2022 Hiking & Camping 5
Janice Cottonwood Fluff in Canyon Country General Discussion 4
H Horse Canyon needles district Utah Off Road 0
Nethos Into Dark Canyon Backpacking 12
D Fox Canyon Escalante? General Discussion 6
Bob Slickhorn Canyon System - 6 days Backpacking 22
Kerrie at Thru We Go Grand Canyon Backpack/Packraft Loop at New Hance Backpacking 11
SeanIsADesertRat Old guys backpacking in Dark Canyon Backpacking 17
H Access to Grand Gulch via Water Canyon Trip Planning 2
montanaclimber Bechler canyon as an out-and-back Trip Planning 9
M What's your rain forecast comfort zone for canyon hiking? Trip Planning 4
M Grand Canyon NP, Royal Arch Route Backpacking 0
VegasHikeLife Paria Canyon 2022 Trip Planning 0
T Snow Canyon Loop Hiking & Camping 1
westy Grand Canyon-Parashant NM, Parashant canyon Hiking & Camping 4
fossana Yellow Rock, Pollock Arch, Hackberry Canyon loop (GSENM) Hiking & Camping 8
marquis20 Day 1: Grand Teton Wilderness and Black Canyon of the Yellowstone - June 2021 Backpacking 0
westy Grand Canyon-Parashant Trip Planning 2
Rockskipper Application Period Open For 2023 Private River Trips Through Grand Canyon National Park General Discussion 0
T Harris Wash/Silver Falls/Choprock/Fence Canyon Loop MLK weekend 2022 Backpacking 8
F Hammond Canyon, UT trip planning Trip Planning 9
regehr Lower Horseshoe Canyon and Big Spring Trip Planning 7
J Lake Mead NRA and Sloan Canyon NCA summit and vista hikes. Nov 21-25, 2021 Hiking & Camping 0
J Death Valley Natl. Pk. Upper Monarch Canyon plus. Dec 1, 2021 Hiking & Camping 1
J Pahranagat, Desert NWR, and Arrow Canyon Range to start Nov. 2021 Desert time Hiking & Camping 6
OwenM Hiking Horse Canyon? Trip Planning 4
TrailScot Lake Powell and the 'return' of Glen Canyon General Discussion 18

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.