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Need some advice on backpacking in Sequioa/KC NP

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Need some advice on backpacking in Sequioa/KC NP

Postby devman27 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:29 pm

Hey everyone,

Myself and two other experienced backpackers were going to be backpacking in the Sequoia/King's Canyon National Park area for six days (Sunday, August 31 thru Friday September 5: part of Labor Day weekend - yikes!). We were looking to do a loop of anywhere from 65 to 85 miles over the six days.

None of us have ever been to this area of the country before. Are there any particular trails or parts of either park that you'd recommend we hit up? Is there one park you'd recommend over the other (I have no idea how they differ)? I have a map of the parks and have noticed that the trail network in these parks is extensive, so myriad loops present themselves. We were thinking of doing something similar to the Colby Pass Loop detailed here: ... 111?page=8

Any input that can be offered will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your help,

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Re: Need some advice on backpacking in Sequioa/KC NP

Postby Timberline » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:11 pm

Hey, Devman,
You can get lots of great advice from experienced backcountry travelers here, so I won't try to make a specific recommendation, other than to say you probably have more choices than you can deal with in the short lead time remaining 'til your planned arrival date. I take some clues from your mention the Colby Pass Loop. If you haven't already, I suggest you do a search in the backpacking sector of this site on Colby Pass; you'll get a variety of perspectives on the possibilities of this route.
No matter what route you choose, you can't go wrong in this country!
Best of luck for a memorable adventure! :nod: :thumbsup:
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Re: Need some advice on backpacking in Sequioa/KC NP

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:38 pm

Two questions: 1. Do you have wilderness permit reservations yet? 2. Do you have experience in and a desire to do off trail hiking?

The Colby loop is a very fine on-trail route to do. In my estimation, though, the aspects that make Seki's backcountry so special are the endless possibilities for off trail trips, so it is worth considering trip plans that include off trail hiking if you find that type of adventure appealing.

Regarding wilderness permits you must keep in mind that Labor Day weekend is the most popular weekend of the entire year in the Sierra. Sunday entry certainly beats Saturday or Friday, but it is still Labor Day weekend, so if you are planning to pick up a first-come first-serve wilderness permit, bring a "playbook" of options that you can audible to at the line of scrimmage should your first option be quota'd out. In Seki you have so many options that, with a bit of advance planning, your playbook can look like the West Coast Offense v.9.1.2.
Last edited by giantbrookie on Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Need some advice on backpacking in Sequioa/KC NP

Postby cgundersen » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:48 am

Hi Devman,
The two preceding responses hit the nail on the head, and I'd add that because there remains a small, but tenacious fire burning in Kings Canyon, you're better off staying further to the south (namely, in Sequoia).As GB pointed out, you may need backup options, and in that context, keep in mind that you can access the High Sierra trail from Wolverton as well as Crescent Meadow. Then, a nice feature of that Colby loop is that it gives you a long warm up of pretty much level walking (the first ~15 miles from Crescent Meadow or Wolverton) until a final climb up to Hamilton Lakes with the walls of Valhalla staring at you. From there, the ascent to Kaweah Gap includes Precipice Lake; a famous subject of some classic Ansel Adams photos. From Kaweah Gap, you get into the heart of the Sierras, and it should be incredible. Another bonus is Kern hot springs, which you'll hit about mid-way on your trip, and it's hard to describe the feeling of a hot soak in the wilderness. As the article mentioned, once you head for Colby, you should run into very few other folks, and the scenery will remain mind boggling. Good luck!
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