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.
To put it in wilderness terms, the end of the year is a time to check your bearings, and see where you’re headed by scanning the horizon; or to use another tired cliché, view the entire forest, and not just the individual trees. That, I think is the nature of the holiday season: seeing what you are grateful for in your life; appreciating such people (or things that you are grateful for); and finding out where you will want to go (and perhaps how those people will help you get there).
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.