Day 4 — Kings Canyon and the Grant Grove

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After breakfast in the 3-month old restaurant at Grant Grove Village, I spent most of day touring the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 180). The road, built in the 1930’s, descends about 3000 feet into Kings Canyon before rising  to an elevation of 5000  feet at Road End. This road connects the Grant Grove with the High Sierra Section of Kings Canyon National Park (created in 1940), although the sections in the canyons were not added until 1965. The area between the two sections was part of Sequoia National Forest until 2000 when it became part of the newly created Giant Sequoia National Monument. 

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The road first travelled along ridges scarred by the 1955 McGee and 2015 Rough Fires with views of the Converse Basin, the world’s larges Sequoia grove, throughly logged over in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The descent into the canyon began at Junction Point, with its view to the junction of the Middle and South Forks of the Kings, 5000 feet below. Pictures.

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Once in the Canyon, I stopped occaisionally to  view the canyon walls and two waterfalls. Photos.

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I then stopped to hike the 1.5 mile Zumwalt Meadow loop. Although billed as an easy hike, the first portion of the hike through the fallen rock below the Grand Sentinel involved a bit of scrambling and uncertain footholds. Once I came into the flat damper area along the river, I had to constantly wave away the gnat swarms from my face.  At Road End, the gnats defeated my patience as I observed backpackers returning from their trips into the backcountry. Pictures.


I left the gnats and returned to the Grant Grove area in mid-afternoon. Pictures.

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I finished with another whirl around the Grant Grove trail (also taking in the side loop to the fallen Michigan Tree) before dinner. Pictures.

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