Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kings Canyon National Park, 5/02/2016

Today we made plans to make the long drive to Road's End in Kings Canyon National Park. It is about 90 miles (each way) from the Ash Mountain Entrance near Three Rivers. John always says I have to see EVERYTHING (and he's right) and that included Road's End. But we both wanted to see this part of Kings Canyon, especially after seeing the video at the Visitor Center about the massive canyon and rock formations created by glacial activity.

There are overlooks along Generals Highway where we stopped to take in the breathtaking views of the massive canyon walls and King's River

Tiny spring flowers look like a colorful blanket over the hillsides. 

Loved this view into Kings Canyon with the snow-capped mountains...

Grove Center Visitor Center was not yet open for the year, but we talked to some rangers there who told us to be sure to check out Roaring Falls en route to Road's End.  There is a parking lot at the trailhead shortly after you cross the bridge over Roaring River. A paved path follows the river to the water fall where the river seems to just squirt out of the rocks. You can feel the spray on your face when standing on the banks of the river. Glorious!

Next we stopped at Zumwalt Meadow that is surrounded by granite cliffs and peaks next to the Kings River. Jessie Agnew and his employer, D.K. Zumnwalt acquired 120 acres of land here around 1890. Zumwalt, an attorney for Southern Pacific Railway, was instrumental in making this a protected forest. There is a trail that leads to the meadow and a loop trail around it. Ahhh, so very beautiful, peaceful, and serene. 

This was the site of a Native American village approximately 500 years ago and a plague dedicated to Agnew and Sumwalt. 

The trail continues on a bridge over the river. In the background is North Dome, granite carved by glaciers, rising 3,600' from the canyon floor to an elevation of 8,717.' 

This area was once a lake bed that was formed when rocks created a natural dam as the glaciers melted. When the lake gradually evaporated over hundreds of years, this lovely meadow was formed. 

Road's End is at the far eastern edge of Kings Canyon and is the beginning of various trails into the Wilderness of the park. Background permits can be obtained by backpackers that can hike hundreds of miles along marked trails through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

We retraced our journey along Generals Highway to the turnoff to Hume Lake. A ranger had advised us that because it is in the Sequoia National Forest that our dog was permitted on trails there. After a long day in the car, we knew our doggy, Sadie, would enjoy some outdoor time.

We have seen many Steller's Jays  in the area and finally snapped a couple of photos of them.

After almost 200 miles of driving, we returned to Three Rivers and our RV home with that wonderful feeling of contentment that comes from spending time in nature (even when it takes some time to get there). I know these are sights I may never see again in my lifetime and it was awesome!

Admission to both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is $30/vehicle for a 7-day pass. There are many campgrounds in both, but some are closed for the winter. Check online for details about the seasonal opening dates for visitor centers and campgrounds and other park details. 


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