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Redwood Canyon

Kings Canyon National Park

August 25th, 2005

4.0 miles
800 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:44

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From Grant Grove, drive toward Sequoia National Park. After about 5 miles, you'll see a sign for a road to Hume Lake on the left; on the right is a dirt road. Turn right onto the dirt road to Redwood Saddle. Drive about 1.5 miles to the large dirt parking lot.   View Driving Map

The drive down the dirt road is great for the last half mile, as it passes directly under some towering sequoias. Pop open the sunroof and enjoy. This gives you a precursor of things to come, as even the parking lot has great views of sequoias.

Massive sequoia next to the parking lot

There were about 10 cars in the lot as we got a late start, nearly 2pm. There was plenty of space in the lot, though. There are two trails that start here. We took the left trail, heading down toward the Hart Tree and Redwood Canyon.

The trail immediately passes several beautiful sequoia trees, their distinctive bark glowing in the afternoon light. We slowly descended as we admired the forest. This is a much different experience than places like the General Grant Trail, or the Congress Trail, where you find yourself elbowing tourists who might have just gotten off a bus for a day trip. Partly because it's more obscure, and perhaps partly because of the dirt road, you'll find much more peace and solitude here.

Sequoias near the start of the hike

After a brief descent, we came to the first trail intersection. To the left, the trail continues on to the Hart Tree. We took the right fork, which roughly parallels Redwood Creek. This part of the trail is mostly typical Sierra forest, with some intermittent views of sequoias - both standing and fallen. One of the most impressive sights are the huge fallen sequoias you'll see on or near the trail.

Fallen sequoia

After a long descent, we reached the second intersection, which is a confluence of three trails -- the one we were on, the Hart Tree trail, and the trail heading right from the parking lot. Just beyond this intersection is a group of about 10 large sequoias right next to each other. Just beyond that is a creek crossing. We crossed the creek (over a large fallen tree) and settled down onto a small beach on the other side to relax.

Sequoia base near the creek crossing


While we were there, we saw several groups of hikers come from the Hart Trail, asking us how to get back to the trailhead. We directed them across the creek and onto the trail we'd just taken. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the waters of the creek before heading back the way we came.

Sequoias near the trail intersection

Quiet forest

After all that descent, you pay for it by having to climb up all the way back to the trailhead. If you can, I would time this hike so that you finish in the late afternoon. One of my favorite sights is sequoias glistening in late afternoon sun, and I was not disappointed as we neared the sequoias near the start of the trail.

Sequoias intermingled with other conifers

Sequoias glistening in the afternoon sun

More glistening

By the time we returned to the parking lot, all the other cars were gone. But we could still enjoy the sequoias from the lot, and looked forward to seeing the ones visible on the drive back up, as well.

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