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Jennie Lake

Jennie Lakes Wilderness

Jennie Lakes Wilderness Links:

July 2nd - July 4th, 2000

13.4 miles
2720 vertical feet
10 hours, 53 minutes
Rating: 10/10

Directions: From Fresno, drive east on Highway 180 toward Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Just after the park entrance, take the right fork toward Sequoia (as opposed to the left fork toward Kings Canyon). Drive 7 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 14S11, toward Big Meadows. Drive 4 miles, past Big Meadows, and turn right onto the dirt road just past the bridge over Big Meadows Creek. Stay on the main dirt road the whole way, for about 1.5 miles. You will see a lesser road to the right and then left; ignore them. 4-wheel drive is appreciated here, but a sedan is okay.   View Driving Map

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(Note: the trail route above was created post-hike using electronic maps and was not created using GPS, so it might not be completely accurate. It's probably pretty close, though.)

The rangers at the Grant Grove visitor center assured us we could leave food in our car at the trailhead (bears weren't a big problem). One of them brought out a map which showed Jennie Lake as a 7-mile hike. This didn't jive with the 5 miles I'd seen everywhere else. It wasn't until later that I realized the 7 miles was from the Big Meadows trailhead, while we were starting from the Fox Meadow trailhead, which accounted for the discrepancy.

The drive to the Fox Meadow trailhead is not for the timid. It's paved most of the way, but the last 1.5 miles is on a bumpy dirt road. To make matters worse, we took a wrong turn up an even worse road which brought us to a dead end. If you read the directions from a popular hiking book, it says to make a left and then an immediate right. This is completely misleading, however, as what you really need to do is continue straight on the main dirt road, avoiding the fork off to the right, then the fork off to the left immediately following. In a sense, the directions are correct, but they're completely misleading. We took the second left fork (thinking it was the first left turn) and that was our mistake.

A 4 wheel drive would definitely be in order the next time we go here, but we eventually made it to the trailhead in one piece. There were already about a dozen cars already there, although 3 of them left just as we were getting ready to start our hike. One of them said to us "have fun!" And we would.

Just for kicks I measured our blood oxygen saturation. I'd recently purchased a pulse oximeter and was interested in trying it out. The parking lot sits at 7880 feet, and we'd slept at about 4500 feet elevation the previous two nights. My blood oxygen saturation reading was 91%, and Jean's was 84%. This probably doesn't mean much, but it might be useful to know these values in the future.

1Fox Meadow Trailhead to Jennie Lake 5.21600490
2Jennie Lake to Unnamed Peak over Jennie Lake and back 3.0630630
3Jennie Lake to Fox Meadow Trailhead 5.24901600

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