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Kings Canyon National Park Grant Grove
Kings Canyon National Park Grant Grove - hiking, camping and information. Kings Canyon National Park was originally named General Grant National Park and was created to protect sequoias from logging. In Kings Canyon you can see pristine groves as well as a grove that was logged in the 1800s. Grant Grove Visitor Center and Village is on the west side of Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. This is where the third largest tree in the world is, the General Grant, which is also called "The Nation's Christmas Tree". The Grant Grove Tree Trail is only a half mile round trip with only a 30 foot climb in elevation on a paved surface. There are some benches along the way if you need to rest or catch your breath. Because of the sequoias, pines, and fir trees there is plenty of cool shade throughout the trail as is only just about every hike in the park.
Above: Picture taken at Kings Canyon Panoramic Point. Only a short drive to this beautiful overlook at over 7,500 feet high.
The National Park Service map of Sequoia and Kings Canyon doesn't get too detailed on every trail in the parks. And, we were not too sure of the trails in this area until talking to the girls at the visitor center, who successfully sold me a map of the Grant Grove trails for $3.50. We tried to avoid buying this map since the Foothills Visitor Center, but with nothing else to go by, for me, it was inevitable. We were told at the visitor center that the North Boundary Trail was not very popular; we're in. Unfortunately, there was no information about the trail on the brochure except the brown dotted lines.
We hiked from our campsite at Azalea Campground to the trailhead just past the start of the Grant Grove Trail and we were off. Away from tourists and on the trail less traveled. It was a little spooky at times with the big rocks and boulders overhead as we just read that mountain lions were in the park, though rarely seen, it was still a possibility that we weren't to keen on. We walked the trail to Panoramic Point. A half a mile to the Point I told Jason that I wish we could hitch a ride back down, my dream came true. When we got to Panoramic Point there was one pick up truck in the parking lot, and it belonged to a nice couple from California who gave us lift back down to the visitor center. We could have walked but with other issues at stake this was a blessing.
Above: Picture of Jason and Ben sitting in front of three giant sequoia trees in Grant's Grove. Early the next morning we hiked the North Grove Loop. It only took us an hour to hike around this easy 1.5 mile trail that goes around a meadow of sequoias. This trail is an old one-way road so it is wide enough to walk side by side. Because of the wet meadow there are many more sequoias here than on the drier hillsides. Sequoias require a lot of water every day and along the meadow they grow very rapidly. I would say the best of this trail was the blooming dogwood trees.
Above: Picture taken while hiking on the North Boundary Trail. You can see the bright green ferns we had to walk through.
Above: Picture of the winding Scenic Byway traveling from Sequoia to Kings Canyon National Park.
Jason's thoughts - So far of all the parks and places I have been this would probably be my first for testing Kelly and I's back country skills and hiking overnight for 2-4 days. These parks and forests are beautiful and had many more singing songbirds than other similar parks. Very serene and more peaceful than most areas of the country and I highly recommend them for scenic peaceful family fun where camp fires are allowed and bear boxes provided to protect all food stores. Well organized with the exception of signage which always suffers in public places. Having a fire every night of this trip made the 41 degree evenings quite manageable and fun. Also once your body has been engulfed in smoke for 2 hours you can't smell the fact that none of you have bathed in 3 days.
Kelly's thoughts - The dogwoods were beautiful, but I wish the azaleas would have been in bloom too while we were at the Azalea Campground and in this part of the park. As I look at my $3.50 map I realize that I have a strong desire to do every hike because I know with every step the scenery and terrain changes and the chances to see some real wildlife increases. However, I really am satisfied with the hikes that I have done.
Travel Info - The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is just as narrow and winding as in Sequoia as well as all roads getting into the parks. Location of Kings Canyon National Park. Click for more camping and hiking information of Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.
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