California is a state with natural beauty that stretches the entirety of the state to each of its borders. It is also a state where the beauty above ground in some areas pales with the beauty below ground. Like a sunset on an unknown beach, each of these areas offer solitude, otherworldly beauty, and in some cases, some of the most unique terrain on the planet. Even if you've never explored a cave before, each of these spots will interest and intrigue you, and provide you a great introduction to the world below your feet.
While it’s a hidden gem for backpacking, mountaineering, hiking, and many other things, Kings Canyon is a remote location to visit. Because of its location, many visitors lump in a day trip to Kings Canyon when visiting Sequoia National Park. While I think that Kings Canyon deserves a visit of a lot longer than just one day, there are plenty of things to keep a visitor busy from sunrise to sunset.
While these trails are amazing, and very popular with summer backpackers, these large expanses of open wilderness and long distances also dissuade many casual visitors to the park. In this respect, many people incorrectly assume that as most of the park is wilderness, they must be a wilderness expert as well to brave Kings Canyon. While it is true that one should be properly prepared before heading out into the backcountry, it’s also true that Kings Canyon has a number of trails for all skill levels that visitors can attempt. Case in point is the park’s most accessible – and popular trail, Zumwalt Meadows, which, with a little effort, can be combined with another trail to view a spectacular waterfall.
Long time readers of this blog know that I was raised on a diet of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and adventure as a child. It should therefore come as no surprise that I wanted to live in a cave during part of my childhood. But once I read The Time Machine, I developed an irrational fear of morlocks and the I-want-to-live-in-a-cave-phase was over. Even though I never lived in a cave, I know a spot where people have lived – and died in a cave: Boyden Cavern, in Sequoia /Kings Canyon National Park.