Trees, green grass and water!
This is a 7 day, 6 night backpack through King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in the Sierra Nevadas. The loop begins and ends at Lodgepole Campground. On Day 1, we began the hike about 1pm on the Twin Lakes Trail. We hiked about 4 miles through deep forest to Cahoon Gap at about 8,000 feet for our first night. Camping is allowed only in areas that have previously been camped and fires allowed only in existing fire rings. There were frequent water sources (to an Arizona hiker) and campsites at every trail junction; mosquitos abounded in late July, so we often opted to camp slightly away from the water sources. Deer were also abundant and quite tame; actually scavenging at campsites. Day 2 we hiked up to the beautiful Twin Lakes and over Silliman Pass and 10,200 with spectacular views, then down to a trail junction near Comanche Meadow at 7,400 feet at mile 14. Flowers abound in green meadows in this area and we traversed on Day 3 along Sugarloaf Creek, lunching at a spectacular stream, fording both Sugarloaf and Ferguson Creeks. We got our feet wet on these crossings, but most of the small streams were crossed dry.
We camped by Roaring River, then headed into Deadman Canyon on Day 4. There is a ranger station with a cool tree stump toilet. The forest thinned as we gained in elevation to about 9,000 passing through the spectacular wet and green Lower Ranger Meadow, where our highest pass became visible. We camped at Upper Ranger Meadow - another great campground by a flowing stream. On Day 5 we trudged the upper portion of the canyon and over Elizabeth Pass at 11,400 feet, (mile 31.7 of the trip) then down the other side through flowered meadows. This was the toughest day as we ended at Bear Paw Campsite down at 7,500 feet. This was a crowded campsite where packers come up the High Sierra Trail. A better choice might be to camp near Tamarack Lak or push a little further to Buck Creek. Views again were spectacular. Once we neared Bear Paw we were back in the forests of Sequoia National Park. Day 6 was fairly easy on the High Sierra Trail to a campsite near Mehrten Creek, the closest camping allowed to the large Sequoias. The High Sierra Trail is well maintained and level with only a slight dip at Buck Creek - very welcomed after our other high passes! On Day 7, we hiked through the rim of the large Sequoias to the trailhead at Crescent Meadow, then dropped our heavy packs and took the shuttle to examine the very largest of the trees - amazing. This was a very beautiful backpack. My only complaint would be that we didn't see enough lakes - if you camped at Tamarack, that would solve that problem.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.