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kings canyon or redwood national?

11:38 p.m. on September 24, 2009 (EDT)
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deciding to go to one of these and trying to figure out if it is worth it to go all the way up to redwood for the redwoods after a week in yosmite, or just to go to kings canyon for the goliath redwoods there.... anyone have any advice? and is there even any good backpacking in redwood national? thanks PeACE and LOVE

12:14 a.m. on September 25, 2009 (EDT)
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241 forum posts

Note the books at the bottom of the page:


12:27 p.m. on September 27, 2009 (EDT)
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459 forum posts

On the west side, Kings Canyon NP, from a tourist perspective, is a single road that dead ends into a series of trails. Both Sequoia and Kings (SEKI) are a backpacker's park. There are more trail accesses to these parks from the east side, however.

Sequoia NP has a single road that skirts the western edge of the Park with access to a few trailheads that take you back to the other 90% of that park. Mineral King, now a member of Sequioa, has a road up to a series of trail heads (and spectacular scenery from the car).

Sequoia (and Kings) NP is home to the BIG mountain variety of redwoods. Sequoia has car access to some of these impressive giants. There is a difference in this type of redwood and the coastal redwoods. The coastal (lower altitude) types are like the queens of the ball, beautifully draped with wonderful tall vertical lines. The Sequoia NP variety, on the other hand, look like old war generals who have had a rough time of it.

Both are awesome.

For sheer beauty of the tree and a chance to walk on a path between them from grove to grove, I prefer the coastal redwoods.

If you have the time, leave Yosemite early spend the rest of that day in Sequoia and then move on up to Redwood NP. On the 101 north of San Francisco there are large groves of redwoods along the road on your way up to Crescent City.

There are a few longer trails available in Redwood NP


But nothing like what is avaiable in SEKI, Mineral King.

Except from Mineral King, it is a longer walk to the higher elevations from the west. If you have three days in Sequoia, Bear Paw Meadows on day one (and return on day three) with WOW scenery day trips to Hamilton Lake -- and even higher, Elizabeth Pass and Tamarack Lake (in that order). In Mineral King there are many trails for hikes to passes. All are fairly strenuous for a day hike but worth the effort. Kings requires a bit more of a walk along the river or a big hump up the northern trail to Glacier Ridge...that is not a sissy trail by any means.

It is starting to get cool in the higher reaches of the Sierra. You might encounter some early morn fog in Redwood NP. But, it could be award winning photo ops too.

8:13 a.m. on September 28, 2009 (EDT)
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king's canyon is gorgeous. the mist falls trail at end of the road is one of my all-time favorite day hikes, and there is a great spot to jump into the king's river off a nice rock near the trail head to cool off once you are done (provided that you are doing this in the summer, of course).

12:00 p.m. on September 28, 2009 (EDT)
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5,186 forum posts

The redwoods in the Sierra and on the coast are different species. Coast redwoods are Sequoia sempervirens and the Sierra redwoods are Sequoia gigantea. One of these is taller and one is more massive (total volume). I leave it to your hiking and research to discover which is which (it is worth it to visit several places that each is located to find out for your self by your own observation - note to readers: please do not spoil the excitement of exploration and discovery by posting the answer as to which is which, nor the information on where albino redwoods are to be found. Let each do his/her own discovery journey)

12:52 p.m. on September 28, 2009 (EDT)
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The giant sequoia is more correctly Sequoiadendron giganteum; Sequoia gigantea appears to be an outmoded name that is also not legitimate under the rules of botanical nomenclature.


-- yer friendly neighborhood plant physiologist

For some companion reading on your trip try Richard Preston's The Wild Trees: a Story of Passion and Daring.

1:48 p.m. on September 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Ahh, the elusive albino. What has not been mentioned about it is that the cone AND the seeds within are considerably bigger than either S. giganeum or sempervirens...they are also, like mules, infertile. That is the main reason, thankfully, that they are so rare. Each is a mutant in its own right. Another reason appears to be that the massive cone falling from such a height is almost always fatal to the squirrels and other foragers (including especially marauding beavers) on the ground. They seem to be drawn there by the very large succulent seed. There has been a suggested connection between the number of corpses, the apparent very good aim of the tree and an un-natural preference for rodent flesh.

That study, too, is waiting funding.

PS: Wear a hard hat while looking as they are at times difficult to find and like a chameleon, are not, depending upon the season, ALWAYS albino.

Be wewy wewy cafull.

The cones in the tree are not a give away. They appear minuscule soo far away. This is very much like most things in these enchanted forests. Things in retrospect appear much farther away then they really are.

12:38 p.m. on September 29, 2009 (EDT)
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...Sequoia gigantea appears to be an outmoded name that is also not legitimate ....

Are you saying that the Old GreyBearded One is outmoded?

Or are you saying that the sequoias are close relatives of rhododendrons (Sequoiadendron giganteum)? Don' look like no gigantic flower to me!

Next thing you will be saying that Douglas fir (pseudotsuga) not only is not a fir, but is some kind of fake tree not even related to Western Hemlock (tsuga)! Hey, ya seen one tree, ya seen'em all (that's what Ronald Reagan said). [amusing thing I ran across in the house-building project - most architects, carpenters, and lumber yards are not aware that "fir" is not from fir trees, though they think it is because it is from Douglas fir; several assured me that it is from red fir and white fir].

Aside from the horticulturalists micro-classifying everything, the biggest risk in the redwood forests (both coastal and Sierra) these days is not from falling cones, but from folks conducting agricultural experiments with what they claim are medicinal plants that require heavy armament as part of their agricultural implements - be very cautious about wandering off-trail in both redwood forests.

1:03 p.m. on September 29, 2009 (EDT)
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I have a Coulter pine cone in my office, probably about 10 in. long and pretty hefty. I'd love to see the red squirrels that feed on those babies -- from a safe distance!

10:44 a.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I live fairly close to the redwoods park,portland oregon,so for me Kings Canyon would be my choice,dont get down that way often.Either way you cant go wrong.The sad part about the redwoods is the clear cutting that comes right up to the park boundries.From awesome giants to mowed down mess within yards of each other.

11:57 a.m. on December 8, 2009 (EST)
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Me and my wife ended up going to all three national parks and had one of the most amazing trip yet.

10:55 a.m. on December 9, 2009 (EST)
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459 forum posts

Sooo, what did you see and what did you like best about each.

You have the same decision process as I do. HECK! Drive all night and we'll see them all. :)

12:58 p.m. on December 9, 2009 (EST)
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we first went all the up to gold bluffs beach and hiked the 12 mile loop... breathtaking coastal redwood and the beach was a nice break of scenery even though it poured rain the whole time and had gale force winds when we stopped to camp .... AMAZING. Then we went down through san francisco for some reason.. and headed to kings canyon did a 2 day through redwood mountain grove.. seen a couple black bears and we think lion scat and camped underneath these 4 HUGE sequoia's. from there we headed to yosemite for the 6 night 7 day trip. hiked up the falls then to half dome stayed the night , then to tenaya lake which we got unexpected snow (2 inches only thank god) halfway there that forced us to stop and make fire to keep from freezing to death and stay the night saw a couple more bears then climbed clouds rest just short of summit due to really high winds. hiked out to a sierra camp cant remember which one off the top of my head .... camped there then headed to half dome but ropes were down and it was really icy from earlier snow so we didnt climb but clouds rest was more impressive anyway. hiked down mist falls way altogether we didnt do 6 nights i think 5 because when it snowed we switched our route due to big snowfalls in high altitudes had a bear break into the car next to us in the valley on our last night there some dipshit left food in the car ... camping in the valley was depressing as all hell after being out in yosemite back country. ALL in all we want to go back soon SOOON!!! we are doing appalachian trail next year though so that will please us i think :)

5:40 p.m. on December 10, 2009 (EST)
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Sounds like you had a lot of camping and fun in that relatively short time. Thanks for taking the time to tell everybody about it.

When you come back to California and the Sierra give us a hollar. There are trails that add considerably to what you've already seen.

And, you haven't even started on the Eastern Sierra...(where the good stuff is) :)

12:19 p.m. on December 11, 2009 (EST)
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will do sounds great i think the tetons will be the first thing we do when we get back from the AT :)

April 21, 2014
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