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  1. #1
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    Default Backpacking Sequoia Kings Canyon

    I have never been to Sequoia-Kings Canyon (SEKI) and would love to start backpacking around but I do not know anything about it. Is there any guide to backpacking SEKI? Any hiking guide for the novice? I am tired of crowded Yosemite and I am craving for peace and solace. Any information will be appreciated: How to get started backpacking SEKI. Thank you.
    Julio

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    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The place to start

    https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/backpacking.htm

    Check this URL, and try to match your hiking ability with the difficulty of a trail.
    https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/traildesc.htm

  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    IF you are a fairly experienced hiker/backpacker, take a look at the Sierra High Route (not to be confused with the High Sierra trail, maybe worth looking at as well).

    The SHR roughly parallels the JMT through SEKI and places north, and when we hiked it 3 years ago, we basically owned it (meaning we saw no one). The SHR does touch the JMT in a couple places, then promptly leaves it, and when you are on the JMT briefly, of course you'll see lots of folks.

    To this day, and I've hiked all over the country and the world, the SHR is my favorite all time hike, though I hear the Wind river HR in WY is right up there and look forward to that one soon.

    The SHR southern terminus is in Kings Canyon NP.

    Another aspect of the SHR is that there are many variations of it, and of course, you can make your own. The "SHR" is merely a suggestion, download the route, put it into Caltopo, Google Earth or whatever and start browsing it.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Besalu View Post
    I have never been to Sequoia-Kings Canyon (SEKI) and would love to start backpacking around but I do not know anything about it. Is there any guide to backpacking SEKI? Any hiking guide for the novice? I am tired of crowded Yosemite and I am craving for peace and solace. Any information will be appreciated: How to get started backpacking SEKI. Thank you.
    Julio
    I would consider the Rae Lakes loop; lots of info/youtube vids if you search. The trail is about 45 miles if you do the whole loop, but you could also hike in part of the way and turn around. There is a lot of elevation change (starts at 5,000 ft, climbs to 12,000), but it is scenic the entire way and is not technically difficult. You join the JMT on the top and there are other addons (such as staying at Rae lakes 2 nights and exploring that area, which is amazing) you can do if you want.

    When we went 3 years ago there was a bridge out (well documented by the park), making a pretty decent creek crossing, but hopefully that is fixed; other than that, it was smooth sailing for myself and my wife who is fit but doesn't like overly technical hiking.

    Rushing mountain water/waterfalls and mountain views almost the entire way.

  5. #5
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    The Rae Lakes loop is very popular and you may not find the solitude you seek.

    I recommend entering from the Owens Valley trailheads to the east of the park.

    Falcon Guides' Hiking SEKI​ is a good guide book.

    SEKI may be the best backpacking national park in CONUS.
    Be Prepared

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloud View Post
    The Rae Lakes loop is very popular and you may not find the solitude you seek.
    I recommend entering from the Owens Valley trailheads to the east of the park.
    Falcon Guides' Hiking SEKI​ is a good guide book.
    SEKI may be the best backpacking national park in CONUS.
    The Rae Lakes loop does book up early, but when we did the loop (mid-sept) we saw a couple people at the parking lot and then only passed a couple people on the parts of the loop that were not part of the JMT (ie: Rae lakes itself on the JMT had some other tents, but the rest was not). The camping was also by ourselves except at Rae where there were several tents.

  7. #7

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    I've done several trips to SEKI, including the JMT and High Sierra Trail. Practically in SEKI, but not justidictionally, is the Jennie Lakes Loop. Because it's in national forest, there is no permits required. It's a 20mi loop with two lakes, and connects to trails that will take you to Lodgepole. The trail head is only about 20min from Grants Grove as well. I took my then 8y/o in a week long hike there a couple years ago. There are lots of trails to explore in SEKI. I recommend getting a good topo map of the park and studying it over a cup of coffee. You'll find some trip ideas quickly.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

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    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    ...though I hear the Wind river HR in WY is right up there and look forward to that one soon.
    Rob, not sure if you already have a group you regularly go with, but if you decide to explore WRHR further and need crew, let me know. It's been on my list, but a HR is not something I'd want to tackle alone.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  9. #9
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Rob, not sure if you already have a group you regularly go with, but if you decide to explore WRHR further and need crew, let me know. It's been on my list, but a HR is not something I'd want to tackle alone.
    Cool! Let's see how next summer shapes up. I was thinking mid-late august is a fine time, bugs are mostly gone, leftover snow is melting fast, etc. BUT, I might try to hike the CDT next summer, depending on spring COVID considerations. But then again, many CDT hikers opt for the WRHR in lieu of the classic CDT through those parts.

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    Kings is extremely rugged!! If you're not experienced, I would suggest hiking from Glacier Pointe, (just above of YV) & doing the Red Peak Pass loop back to YV @ 50 miles, or you can go over Vogelsang & into TM stretching it out a bit further. This is will give you the isolation you are desiring but has easier access.
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  11. #11
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    Default Points to ponder

    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Rob, not sure if you already have a group you regularly go with, but if you decide to explore WRHR further and need crew, let me know. It's been on my list, but a HR is not something I'd want to tackle alone.
    Take a head net!!! I could have sold mine several times over for 50.00. If this winter's snowpack is heavy, wait till early August, or you will need an ice axe if you venture up. I have been there two summers in a row, just got back. I did the High Sierra Trail last summer treading snow on and around Mt Whitney second week of August. Water froze at Big Arroyo Cabin and Crabtree Meadow, think about it. Summitted Whitney @ 27 degrees with a 20 knot wind on August 13. There are many water crossings with me putting river sandals on @ most and thanking myself for having TWO trekking poles. Water was plentiful, night skies were spectacular. I would not go alone, and it is well known thru out the National Park Service as the steepest terrain of any Park. Off trail is treacherous. There are bears, lots of bears, friends like marmots, squirrels, birds and they are ALL looking @ your mandatory bear canister. Mine is covered in reflective tape, makes it easier to find when it got rolled uphill a quarter of a mile @ 3 o'clock in the morning. Full brim hat, best sunglasses you can afford, prefably mirrored, bandana around the neck, solar gloves(fingerless), long pants, lond sleeve shirt, big brick battery, and I used and loved my solar panel. Once you leave there, you will never be the same. SEKI gets in your bones, and after living in Colorado. It is my crown jewel to date. Hope you find it yours as well, contact me, I mighty go. I wouldn't hesistate.

  12. #12

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    SEKI offers some amazing backpacking and you're sure to not be disappointed regardless of what you choose to do there. For those recommending the Sierra High Route for someone who is specifically looking for novice recommendations...really? The Sierra High Route is absolutely fantastic. However, there is not much of it that is on any actual trail, it goes over a tremendous number of very high passes, some of which are somewhat technical. The route finding can be demanding. There are times where you may occasionally need to execute a 4th class move or two. It's as far from a novice trek as one can get in California.

    The High Sierra Trail is likely a much better option.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Rob, not sure if you already have a group you regularly go with, but if you decide to explore WRHR further and need crew, let me know. It's been on my list, but a HR is not something I'd want to tackle alone.
    I'd like to get in on this too.

  14. #14
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    I'd like to get in on this too.
    Sounds good! As far as head nets/bug go, we've found that after mid August, the bugs are not an issue in WY. July? Forget about it.

  15. #15
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    Default Those 'mosquitoes'

    I was just there and the middle 2 weeks of August last summer. Worst mosquitoes I have ever experienced outside of Alaska. It weighs nothing, why not?
    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Sounds good! As far as head nets go, we've found that after mid August, the bugs are not an issue in WY. July? Forget about it.

  16. #16
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Match View Post
    I was just there and the middle 2 weeks of August last summer. Worst mosquitoes I have ever experienced outside of Alaska. It weighs nothing, why not?
    Interesting, I was in two separate places in WY, cloud peak area the the Cirque of the Towers area the third week of this August and had zero bugs. different body chemistry I suppose! Or I was in higher elevations, which makes a huge difference, but you're right, 1 oz of insurance!

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