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Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

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Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby flyzapper » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:47 pm

I'm planning a backpacking trip with some friends for early September, and we were wondering if there is a route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole. On all maps, I can see the Don Cecil trail from Cedar Grove to Lookout Peak, but while the National Park map shows the trail continuing to Marvin Pass, where we can connect with a trail to JO Pass, the USGS map does not show any trail. I have attached both maps, and you can see the difference.
Does anybody have experience hiking this route? Is there a trail, or would we need to use the roads from Lookout Peak to get to the Marvin Pass trail head before we can get back on the trail?
Also, is there a good camping spot somewhere between Lookout Peak and Marvin Pass? We are hoping to spend our first night on the trail in that area, preferably close to a water source.
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Re: Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby seanr » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:26 pm

I have seen and have read about, but have not hiked the Don Cecil trail. The big question to me is why start at Cedar Grove on such a trip? The decent views are from Lookout Peak and Mitchell Peak (and those are good, but overrated by media/Stienstra/Brown). I have driven to and hiked Lookout Peak (road becomes good dirt, but goes all the way to SEKI park boundary) as well as Mitchell Peak (the latter from Marvin Pass TH). I've boondock camped along the dirt road up to Fox Meadow TH with an outstanding car camping vista (and then hiked Jennie Lake and Jennie Peak--pretty nice, but not super outstanding). There are also Forest Service campgrounds and other dispersed camping opportunities not yet mentioned all over up there if you need them.

Yes, if you start up higher I suspect you should easily be able to reach nice backcountry sites away from the roads (which are somewhat remote in the first place) on the first day. I suggest potentially saving some driving time and more importantly, avoiding the significant, yet unremarkable climb up to Lookout Peak from Kings Canyon at the start of your trip, by parking at Lookout Peak, Marvin Pass TH, or Rowell Meadow. There are different tastes, opinions, and situations, but I think you could see better scenery from Mitchell, and closer to JO Pass, Silliman, Alta Peak area, and Pear Lake. You may also have heard great things or tried backpacking east or north from Cedar Grove. Be aware of drought conditions for potential use of smaller streams. Edited for clarity and additional detail.
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Re: Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby flyzapper » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:55 am

Hi seanr,
Thanks for the info. If we start at the Marvin Pass trail head, is there much water available in the area? There appear to be some meadows and streams in the area, but I'm not sure if I would rely on them this year (especially in September). We are meeting up with some friends at Lodgepole on a specific day, and we wanted to hike from another starting point in the park to get to Lodgepole. Cedar Grove seemed like a possible starting location, but it seems like it might not be the nicest route (especially if we need to use roads between Lookout Peak and Marvin Pass trail head. Do you (or anybody else) have any recommendations for a ~30 route from another trailhead in the area to Lodgepole?
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Re: Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby seanr » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:15 pm

I don't know what the stream situation will be like near Marvin Pass, but I recall it being a very dry area aside from the nearby named meadows (as you noted, no guarantee of those being very wet). I will guarantee water along Stony Creek (closer to Lodgepole) but the trail doesn't hug the main creek and it is a longish hike up to Poop Out Pass to start a trip. There will also be water at Weaver Lake (off your suggested route) and Jennie Lake near JO Pass. Also near JO Pass/Marvin Pass/Silliman Pass, I recall seeing (on a map) significant creek areas and Seville Lake as well. I bet you'll like the scenery more by Silliman, Pear Lake, Moose Lake, Alta, Tokapah, and Tablelands. Search Pear Lake on here. Other options, possibly too long or difficult involve the HST, Mineral King, or the canyons running south from Roads End/Cedar Grove area beyond/east of the possible Marvin Pass-JO Pass route you could stick with. Many/all of these would have plenty of water sources, but that doesn't mean they are right for your group. Some could be strenuous and/or cross-country routes with challenging terrain and route finding. Look some up and ask about things that sound within your mileage and ability. There are folks here who know the area much better than me, but we need to know more about you and your group to give good and safe suggestions (there is a form Maverick always points people to that lets us know your situation and then, later, a ReConn/Itenerary Form available for you to leave for your emergency contacts once you decide on and start your trip). I don't backpack much right now and mostly have avoided Lodgepole the last decade due to dog restrictions (I dayhike; sometimes with dogs and sometimes far).
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Re: Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby Silverfox » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:05 pm

Not knowing enough about your group, but you may want to consider starting at Road's End in Kings Canyon and then go over Avalanche Pass into Roaring River. Go through the Sugarloaf Valley, that section is relatively flat and water is available. Then head up through Silliman Pass, lots of lakes to camp at along that route, and then make your way down to Lodgepole in Sequoia National Park. Its about 39 miles or so but more scenic and more water along the route.

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Re: Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby oldranger » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:50 pm

Yes the Don Cecil trail connects (at least it did in 1990). But unless there is significant rain lakes and bubbs, sphinx, roaring river, Copper creek in deadman canyon are likely the only dependable water sources on your possible routes.

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Re: Route from Cedar Grove to Lodgepole? (Don Cecil Trail?)

Postby flyzapper » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:59 pm

The information so far has been helpful. We are thinking of starting at Fox Meadow trailhead and making the first night at Weaver Lake or either Rowell Meadow trailhead or Marvin Pass trailhead and making Rowell Meadow our first night. Does anybody know if there is water available at any of the three trailheads or at Rowell Meadow itself?
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