Scenic Sequioa campsite, moderate hike

10:12 a.m. on June 2, 2016 (EDT)
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Hi! We're traveling with 2 children, 7 and 9 years, they are good hikers, we walked the Grand Canyon last year with them rim to rim over 3 days. So we're looking for a scenic campsite to hike to and use as a base for a few days further exploring in Sequioa or Kings in September. Really like the look of Franklin Lake or Precipice Lake area but we are traveling in an RV and can't get it up to Mineral King trailhead, and I can't find any public transport going to Mineral King. Does anyone know of any transport into Mineral King? Or can you recommend another hike/campsite we can do in Sequioa? around 6 miles per day is good, and we like the granite alpine cirque lakes and big sequioa's. We're from New Zealand. Thanks for your help!

10:51 a.m. on June 2, 2016 (EDT)
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You might look at a loop from Horse Corral Trailhead to Jennie Lake, Twin Lakes, Ranger Lake, Seville Lake, and home.   This takes you to some lovely lakes, about 6 miles per day, and includes the Jennie Lake Wilderness as well as some of SEKI.  Stunning views from Silliman Pass and Ranger Lake.

 

We've got a trip report on this on our website:  backpackthesierra.com

 

And we have a bunch of other options as well...

12:27 p.m. on June 2, 2016 (EDT)
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Sounds like you plan to park the RV and hike to a wilderness campsite. There are lots of possibilities in Sequoia/Kings Canyon.

One area I have always enjoyed is going up the South Fork of the Kings River past Cedar Grove. In many ways, this is like a quieter version of Yosemite Valley - much less crowded. From the end of the road, there are lots of possibilities. You hike up the canyon and take one of the branches - Paradise Valley, Bubbs Creek, etc etc etc. You can choose short or long hikes.

One hike that you might consider for some day in the future when your kids are adults is to hike from the end of the road up Bubbs Creek to Kearsarge Pass . This requires splitting your party into one group leaving a car at the road end in the South Fork of the Kings River, and the other car on the other side of the Sierra in the town of Independence (or park at the Kearsarge parking area).

On your way into the canyon, there is Boyden Cave. This is a "commercial" cave, in that you pay a fee for a tour. It is a fantastically beautiful cave that your children would enjoy. There are a number on caves in the area that I have explored. But these require training at spelunking and experience, plus most are gated, so you would have to register and prove your capabilities.

Along the canyon, there are a number of trails that lead to exotic places like the Silver Spur (a ridge), Gorge of Despair, and so on.

3:02 p.m. on June 3, 2016 (EDT)
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Thanks for your help. These are some good ideas, and the backpack sierra website is great. Because my partner and I will have to carry all the camping gear and food we'd ideally like to walk in and set up a base camp at an alpine lake, and then explore from there with only day packs. We don't mind a steep climb to get there. If you have any other ideas I'd be interested to hear. Thanks a lot!

6:35 p.m. on June 3, 2016 (EDT)
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Where is Lambertiana?  That would be the right person to ask.

10:30 a.m. on June 4, 2016 (EDT)
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OK.  With that in mind, I vote for Piute Pass into Humphreys Basin.  Hike up over the pass, camp at Upper Golden Trout Lake. (about six miles?).  From there you can explore more lakes than you can count.  Good fishing.  Small creeks/ponds for the kids to play in.

Beautiful hike in and out, with plenty of places to stop along the way.  

This is out of Little Lakes Valley, east side of the Sierra...

For that matter, Little Lakes Valley is also great...and a much easisr hike!

11:19 p.m. on June 5, 2016 (EDT)
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Good suggestions, above. 

Another: Pear Lake, out of Lodge Pole (via Hwy 198).

Six miles, moderate incline to 9,500'.  Very scenic hike to a very pretty lake with multiple day hike options.  On a clear day hike to the overlook off the shoulder of Moose Lake into Buck Canyon.  Well worth the effort; and Moose also has great fishing.  Pear has a composting latrine, both a convenience as well indicating this is a popular destiny. 

According to the park service web page there is tram service that probably passes close to the trailhead.

Ed

7:23 p.m. on June 6, 2016 (EDT)
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If you want about six miles/day, how many days are you willing to invest in getting to the destination lake?  Franklin Lake is six miles from the trailhead, but Precipice is almost 20.  

What size RV will you be driving?  I see trucks on the Mineral King road occasionally, so I know it can be done.  You would just have to drive slowly and use turnouts to let cars pass you.

Franklin is a great destination, just beware that camping is on the shelves on the east side of the lake, there isn't a big flat area at the outlet like most Sierra lakes have (although you can also camp below the dam).

You could go to Emerald or Pear Lake and explore that area, including the tablelands above Pear.  You can't reserve permits in advance for that trailhead, but if you get there early in the morning (before 7AM) you can usually get a permit.  And you would be able to drive up the main road into the park for that trailhead.

A little longer (two days in) would be going up Bubbs Creek from Road's End to East Lake.  It is 13 miles from the trailhead; stop at Charlotte Creek on the first day.  East Lake is beautiful, and you can dayhike up to Lake Reflection (no official trail, but easy going).  Lake Reflection is on the must-see list.

If you really want to get to Precipice, I would suggest taking two long days to get to Hamilton Lake (17 miles), or three days if that is too far for the kids to do in two days.  Two day plan would be Bearpaw on the first day, then Hamilton on the second.  Three day plan would be Mehrten Creek on the first day, Bearpaw on the second, and Hamilton on the third.  From there you could dayhike up to Precipice Lake, and then up to Kaweah Gap and even explore Nine Lake Basin.  

8:53 p.m. on June 6, 2016 (EDT)
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balzaccom said:

OK.  With that in mind, I vote for Piute Pass into Humphreys Basin.  Hike up over the pass, camp at Upper Golden Trout Lake. (about six miles?).  From there you can explore more lakes than you can count.  Good fishing.  Small creeks/ponds for the kids to play in.

Beautiful hike in and out, with plenty of places to stop along the way.  

This is out of Little Lakes Valley, east side of the Sierra...

For that matter, Little Lakes Valley is also great...and a much easisr hike!

 Ahem.  I AM getting old.  And nobody else noticed this.  But Piute Pass is out of the North Lake trailhead, not Little Lakes Valley. 

10:10 p.m. on June 8, 2016 (EDT)
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I'm with lambertiana in checking out  the first part of the High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadows (west side of Sequoia) up to Bearpaw Meadow for  a base camp gets you to the start of one of the most beautiful scenic Sierra trail areas.   Base at Bearpaw gets you day trips to Elizabeth Pass, Tamarack Lake, Hamilton Lake and Valhalla.   Bearpaw is a long first day and can be broken up by staying at Mehrton Creek or Buck Creek.   Not a lot of altitude gain the first day.

In September it will not be as popular or crowded. 

Bearpaw Meadows is a B&B. The best part of it is they have a bar with a killer view from the barstools.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.57318,-118.59145&z=14&t=T&

Near Crescent Meadows is a trail head out of Wolverton or Lodgepole.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.60023,-118.69882&z=14&t=T&

This trail head takes you up to spectacular alpine lakes and some very nice cross country at altitude.

12:12 a.m. on June 13, 2016 (EDT)
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Balza, could you tell me a little bit more about this loop you've described above? I investigated on the website backpackthesierra.com and couldn't find the trip log involving this moderate, backpacking loop around the jennie lake wilderness...

My wife and I will be up there the first week of August and were looking for something exactly like you've described: scenic, moderate, about 4 days, loop. Any help would be appreciated, thanks so much!

7:23 a.m. on June 13, 2016 (EDT)
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Start out towards Rowell Meadow, then head up to Jennie Lake the first night.  Second night over JO Pass. Down into Twin Lakes, over Silliman Pass to Ranger Lake.  Day three to Seville Lake, day four home.

If you search our site for "Silliman" or check out the destinations page for Kings Canyon, you see photos and trip notes.

December 5, 2019
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