California Travel Articles
Cedar Grove Area of Kings Canyon
- Canyon Viewpoint:
The "U" shape of Kings Canyon, apparent from this point, provides evidence of its glacial history. The turnout is located on the main road, 1 mile east of the Cedar Grove Village.
During the roaring twenties, wealthy Santa Barbara businessman George Knapp commissioned lavish fishing expeditions into Kings Canyon. This small cabin was used to store quantities of his extravagant gear. A short walk to the cabin begins at a turnout 2 miles east of Cedar Grove Village.
Roaring River Falls:
A refreshing and shady five-minute walk leads you to a forceful waterfall rushing through a narrow granite chute. The easy, paved trail begins at a parking area 3 miles east of the Village turnoff.
This one-hour loop trail, just over one mile long, is one of the most scenic in Kings Canyon. It affords magnificent views of high granite walls, a lush meadow, and the meandering Kings River. A booklet for the self-guiding nature trail is available at the trailhead. The trailhead parking area is 4-1/2 miles east of the turnoff to Cedar Grove Village.
Giving visitors a feel for the first "highway" along the canyon, this 3 mile, rough dirt road provides a leisurely drive along the river. Please note that the River Road is a one-way, westbound road with a maximum vertical clearance of nine feet. It is suitable for cars and mountain bikes, but not campers, RV's or trailers.
Don Cecil Trail
The Don Cecil Trail climbs the relatively cool north-facing slope of the canyon. This historic trail was the major access route to Cedar Grove prior to the completion of Highway 180 in 1939.
Sheep Creek Cascade:
A moderately strenuous hike up the forested Don Cecil Trail provides views of the Monarch Divide and leads to a shady glen on Sheep Creek. This two-mile round trip takes about 1 1/2 hours and gains 600' in elevation.
Beyond Sheep Creek, the climb to Lookout Peak provides an incredible panorama of the park's backcountry. This strenuous, all-day hike is 13 miles round trip and climbs some 4000' to the summit.
Hotel Creek Trail
The cool of the morning is the best time to hike this trail, which climbs up the relatively dry, south-facing side of the canyon.
Cedar Grove Overlook:
The trail switchbacks up through chaparral to a forested ridge and a rocky outcrop. This strenuous hike will reward you with a gorgeous view up and down Kings Canyon. A round trip of 5 miles with a 1200' elevation gain, this hike takes 3-4 hours to complete.
Hotel Creek - Lewis Creek Loop:
If you continue 1 1/4 mile past the turn-off to Cedar Grove Overlook, the Hotel Creek Trail drops down to join the Lewis Creek Trail. This area was burned in 1980, in one of the largest fires these parks have experienced in recent years. The last 2 miles, from the Lewis Creek Trailhead back to your starting point, follow a trail above the roadway. This 8-mile round trip takes an average of 5 hours and gains 1200' to the highest point.
This sandy trail follows the glaciated South Fork Canyon through forest and chaparral, past an impressive show of rapids and cascades, to one of the largest waterfalls in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The first part of this 8 mile round trip is relatively flat; during the last mile to the falls, the trail gains 600'. The average time for this trip is 4 to 5 hours.
Information provided by:
National Park Service