Skip to main content

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks (Fall Season)

I had a long weekend off and decided to hit the Sierras to take some folks I know around three National Parks.  In this case Saturday consisted of two National Parks; Kings Canyon and Sequoia.  I made my way up CA 180 east from Fresno to a very cold morning in the Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park.  Despite being signed, CA 180 technically doesn't exist with in the bounds of the Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park.






I actually did a historic brief on CA 180 east of Fresno to the bottom of King Canyon back in May on the AAroads web forum:

CA 180 Kings Canyon Highway on AAroads

What I find really interesting about CA 180 is that it was apparently envisioned as a Trans-Sierra Highway.   By 1934 when CA 180 was created there was significant logging interests within Kings Canyon itself.  The prior logging operation at Hume Lake really drove road development along the Grant Grove corridor which at the time was General Grant National Park.  By 1940 Grant Grove was absorbed into the newly created Kings Canyon National Park which essentially shut down any hopes of logging or having CA 180 cross the Sierras.  I'm greatly paraphrasing the history of CA 180 and the Grant Grove area, it really a fascinating history on what really could have been.

Given that my passengers were visiting Kings Canyon National Park for the first time I took them to the General Grant Tree.  The Grant Tree is a Redwood Sequoia and is the second largest tree in the world by volume.






Across CA 180 behind the John Muir Lodge is the Panoramic Point overlook of Kings Canyon.  Kings Canyon is cut by the branches of the Kings River and is about 8,200 feet.  The Panoramic Point Overlook is about 7,500 feet above sea level, Hume Lake can be seen directly below.






We made our way down to Hume Lake Road.  There is a hidden overlook of Kings Canyon at about 6,000 feet which has a great view of CA 180 below.





Hume Lake was created by impounding Ten Mile Creek and was once the site of a log flume that ran to Sanger.  Hume Lake Dam is the first multiple arch concrete dam in the world and it holds the lake surface to a elevation of approximately 5,200 feet.  Hume Lake Dam was completed in late 1908 which was used by the Hume-Bennett Lumber Company to store logs.  The logs would run from Hume Lake on a flume that extended all the way to Sanger.  The Sanger Depot Museum has a large article detailing the history of the Hume-Bennett log flume. 

Sanger Depot Museum History of the Flume

Today Hume Lake is operated as a Christian Camp and is just outside of Kings Canyon National Park within Sequoia National Forest.



As the weather was warming up we headed south on Ten Mile Creek Road to the Generals Highway.  Rather than  rehash the history of the Generals Highway (which is extensive and fascinating) I'll just refer to one of my previous posts on this blog:

History of the Generals Highway

Crossing into Sequoia National Park I took my group to the General Sherman Tree which is the largest tree in the world by volume.









The next southbound stop in Sequoia National Park was Moro Rock.  Surprisingly there was no shuttle bus to Moro Rock which is odd on a Saturday.  There was some cloud cover at about 13,000 feet which could be observed easily from the top of Moro Rock along with some really clear views of the Kaweah River, Generals Highway, and San Joaquin Valley below.







It was a rare southbound drop down the Generals Highway for me as usually find myself heading northbound instead.  Grades are essentially a sustained 8% and the elevation drops quickly from about 6,500 feet at the Sherman Tree Grove to about 2,500 feet at the Foothills Visitor Center.











Exiting Sequoia National Park on the Generals Highway takes you to the start of CA 198 in Three Rivers.  I always like to take pictures of the 1922 Pumpkin Hollow Bridge and nearby Salt Creek Bridge.





The last stop of the day was at Lake Kaweah.  The water is about 20-25 lower in the lake than it was back in April, in fact it resembles more of a river more than a lake.  The Terminus Dam and the older alignment of CA 198 was well above the water line, I suppose it is to be expected with 110F degree days repeatedly through the summer.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

US Route 199

I was planning on driving US Route 199 for the third time this weekend.  However "external factors" have pushed my visit to US Route 199 back for the time being.  While I can't do a driving log for US Route 199 at the moment I can still write about it's history.


This blog will be slightly different from the usual flair for Gribblenation.  Generally I have a stockpile of my own road photos from which to draw from.  In the case of US Route 199 I was far more focused on hiking photos during my first two visits in 2014 and 2016 than the actual highway.  At some point I will add a series of modern driving log photos but for the time being I will draw from numerous other sources to illustrate US Route 199.


Part 1; the History of US Route 199

Present US Route 199 is a 80.05 mile highway which connects US Route 101 in Crescent City of Del Norte, California northeast to Interstate 5 in Grants Pass of Josephine County, Oregon.  US Route 199 is one of the original US Routes and …

Trans-Sierra Highways; California State Route 108 over Sonora Pass

In the fall of 2016 and late summer of 2020 I took a series of drives over mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Both traps culminated by way of crossing over the Sierra Nevada Mountains westbound by way of the 9,624 foot Sonora Pass on California State Route 108.  
California State Route 108 ("CA 108") is a 99 mile east/west State Highway which originates at US Route 395 in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  CA 108 crosses the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the 9,624 foot Sonora Pass and terminates at CA 99 co-signed with CA 132 in downtown Modesto.  CA 108 has a 21 mile unconstructed segment which would extend it to Interstate 5 near Crow's Landing if completed.  
Part 1; the history of Sonora Pass and California State Route 108Much of the early history of Sonora Pass is described by way of two informational plaques at the actual Pass.  The first documented crossing of Sonora Pass was in October of 1841 by way of a course slightly due nor…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…