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Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

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Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby mangomegan » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:22 pm

Just took our kids on their very first backpack: we took the water taxi across Echo Lakes and hiked to Tamarack Lake. Stayed for 2 nights, and had a great time! My son (age 5, almost 6) did fine, but probably couldn't do much more than the 1.5 miles we hiked (though we started late in the day; with many rest stops, he could probably go a bit farther.) DD (age newly 9) loved it all and could have hiked much longer!

DH and I did several trips in King's Canyon before kids, and we love the area. We'd love to get back there with our kids. Any suggestions? We love to get out of the trees (especially since we live in the redwoods :)) and enjoy lots of granite...

We're thinking of a three-night trip.

Thanks!



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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:09 pm

When? Now is pretty bad time. Evacuations and unhealthy air quality due to smoke, and all.
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby mangomegan » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:05 pm

Oh, really good to know--thanks. We have time between September 6 and 12.
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:36 pm

I would take them to Twin Lakes in Kaiser Wilderness.

All my favorite SEKI hikes into high granite are far too strenuous and none are 1.5 miles in. Twin Lakes is about 2-3 easy miles from Sample Meadow trailhead, in subalpine with lots of granite.

Another short one would be 20 lakes basin at Saddlebag Lake. Loads of alpine scenery. The ferry knocks off the three mile hike around the lake - hike a mile in and camp.
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:52 pm

mangomegan wrote:Just took our kids on their very first backpack: we took the water taxi across Echo Lakes and hiked to Tamarack Lake. Stayed for 2 nights, and had a great time! My son (age 5, almost 6) did fine, but probably couldn't do much more than the 1.5 miles we hiked (though we started late in the day; with many rest stops, he could probably go a bit farther.) DD (age newly 9) loved it all and could have hiked much longer!

DH and I did several trips in King's Canyon before kids, and we love the area. We'd love to get back there with our kids. Any suggestions? We love to get out of the trees (especially since we live in the redwoods :)) and enjoy lots of granite...

We're thinking of a three-night trip.

Thanks!

Seki granite country is not all that conducive to a kids trip owing to the degree of difficulty getting in from the W side (ie Roads End) or the E. side (various E side passes). The best Seki beginner trips can be had out of the Wolverton-Lodgepole area, where you can get up into the very nice alpine country without too much hiking (in contrast to E side or Road's End). From Wolverton you can make your way toward Pear Lake and with two more nights you can venture up to the Tableland or to Moose Lake. You can do three night trips out of the Marvin Pass (or neighboring entries) to Seville L. etc. but I don't think this is any better (in terms of scenery and setting) than forested "west flank" destinations N of Seki (such as John Muir Wilderness out of Wishon Res, or Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, or Kaiser Wilderness, or Ansel Adams Wilderness). With three nights an east side kid-friendly option that can be considered would be to work your way up to Bishop Pass then over to Dusy Basin (genuine Kings Canyon NP with terrific scenery) and then back.

Other options for kid friendly alpine granite country are east side entries out of Onion Valley, South Lake, Sabrina Lake, North Lake, Little Lakes Valley or Saddlebag Lake country.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby tim » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:12 pm

I took my youngest son to Paradise Valley at 7 (almost 8) (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9327) but its not trivial and is still in the trees. Quite good for an early (or late?) season hike though. Later that year we did Lake Ediza from Mammoth (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9980) and our friends took their 6 year old, but its a pretty tough trip for a young kid. And last year (when he was 9) we went to Seville and Lost Lakes (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11765). Again, quite hard work (though not quite as much as Ediza). This year we found lots of people at Eagle Lake (out of Mineral King, see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13373) doing their first backpacking trip (including a family with three kids the youngest of whom was about 6 or 7), but even though it is short, its a tough climb.

I liked Skelton and Pika Lakes out of Mammoth the year before, when he'd just turned 7 (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8103) which has good swimming and excellent views. Indian Ridge and North Dome in Yosemite is even shorter (he was still 6 then), but is really for early season when there is water around (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7702).

And with my older two I did Cathedral Lakes to Sunrise Lakes when they were 8 (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4512). Then Rancheria Falls (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5136) and the Iva Bell Hot Springs loop at 9 (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5344) and Miter Basin at 10 (see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6526). Miter Basin over Cottonwood Pass is actually not as difficult as you might expect if the kids cope well with altitude because you can break the trip conveniently into 4-5 mile chunks via Chicken Spring Lake and Soldier Lake (though I wouldn't jump to that this year, especially with the smoke).

Like you we've done Desolation Wilderness from Echo Lakes as an introductory trip (to Lake Aloha on 4 occasions so far with different groups!)
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby mangomegan » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:24 am

Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the responses!

We are now considering the Dinkey Lakes loop--looks like the perfect amount of mileage.
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:34 am

mangomegan wrote:Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the responses!

We are now considering the Dinkey Lakes loop--looks like the perfect amount of mileage.



The Willow Meadow trailhead has a rough, rough, rough road. Low clearance vehicles make it up there, but that last mile - ugh. I get rides from other people with trucks or high clearance vehicles. You can anticipate it will take a full hour from the turnoff from Dinkey Creek Road. There are huge holes in the pavement, then after you lose the pavement, washboarding and occasional big rocks. After the turn up the final stretch of road, roots, rocks, and bone-jarring holes.

There is also variable amounts of smoke blowing over from the Rough Fire, which as the crow flies is not all that far away.
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby mangomegan » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:17 am

Do you think the 20 lakes or twin lakes options may be better, in terms of smoke? I'm not following the fires this year at all.
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Re: Kid-friendly backpacking in Kings Canyon?

Postby tim » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:36 am

mangomegan wrote:Do you think the 20 lakes or twin lakes options may be better, in terms of smoke? I'm not following the fires this year at all.


Current smoke impacts: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/CASNF/20 ... 2209-0.pdf
And a good set of webcams to follow: http://rockyags.cr.usgs.gov/dashboards/WebCam.htm

Tahoe may be the best bet right now (though all could change by September)
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