Great Hike: Zumwalt Meadows
Sequoia and Kings Canyon are two national parks which share a border. They’re both vast, their histories are intertwined and they are run out of the NPS as one unit. Given I had one day to take in both of them I made a plan to skim the surface. No time for extensive hikes but I’d make every effort to pass though each of their five regions and visit its primary sites, as recommended by Park Rangers. First stop was the Visitors Center for advice on how best to spend my time.
Between the two parks, Kings Canyon has more distinct destinations to be admired while Sequoia is quieter and consequently better for hiking and camping. They share in common the lower Sierra Nevada mountains and its flora, importantly this includes the giant and ancient sequoias.
These giant trees are the reason for the founding of each park: the General Grant Tree in what became Kings Canyon NP and the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia NP. These two trees are among the oldest and largest in the world and the parks were established to preserve them and other old growth sequoia trees. These trees were under threat of being cut down by the unrelenting demand for lumber as California boomed during and after the gold rush. Several additions were tacked-on till in the late 1990s when the parks took on their current form.
In Kings Canyon I drove to road’s end at Zumwalt Meadow. I’m not normally one who enjoys a meadow but this one had a gloriously beautiful river running through it, lovely stands of trees and over it all hung tall glacier valley cliffs. Together they wove picturesque scenes which I happily shot. On my way out of Kings Canyon I did some (unintentional) four-wheeling along Cedar Grove, visited Grizley Falls, and paid my respect to the world’s widest tree: General Grant.
As you might suspect from a park named “Sequoia” the big story was of giant tees including the largest grove of the largest trees in the world. Along with the Giant Forest were other groves. One contained the General Sherman, the tree with the world’s largest diameter. There was no shortage of superlatives when it comes to these trees which live to be thousands of years old. On my way out of the park I hiked Moro Rock whose 400 steps took me up to heights with clear vistas.
I can’t say I did justice to these parks but I did have a full and fun day.by