As part of the my birthday/summer vacation, I had the pleasure of going on an impromptu backpacking trip to Kings Canyon National Park for a quick 3 day trip. I have to admit, I wasn’t excited at first. I worried about crowds, not getting a campsite or backcountry permit, unbearably hot weather and I thought it was too far a drive for a short trip, but it was my friend Joyce’s first backpacking trip. I wasn’t about to squash her excitement, so I took a deep breath and got on the bandwagon.
We pulled into Kings Canyon National Park Sunset Campground late Friday afternoon and quickly picked our home for the night surprised by the large number of site still available. After feasting on flatbread pizzas grilled over the fire, the temperature quickly dropped with the sun and we called it a night. As I zipped up my sleeping bag, I had to admit, so far everything had gone smoothly but there was still the walk-in backcountry permit to be had!
Next morning, I woke up early anxious for the day to begin. Joyce got us going with Oatmeal Pancakes covered in Fruit Compote, and then we quickly cleaned up with me leading the team like a drill sergeant to get our backcountry permit. Getting the permit ended up being a cinch, and to top it off, we were the only ones overnighting in Redwood Canyon.
Before we knew it, we were on the trail, walking under the canopy of the Redwoods with dappled sunlight caressing our faces. It was magical. The forest was hushed except for the occasional burst of bird song high up in the trees. With little elevation gain/loss this hike was effortless leaving our eyes to wander and take in the beauty of our surroundings.
We did the Hart Tree Redwood Canyon trail loop in about 4 hours and called it a day 0.5 miles down from the Fallen Goliath intersection. There we found nice flat spots to set our tents and lounged by Redwood Creek lulled to sleep by hundreds of flying lady bugs.
If you’re looking for somewhere to escape this summer, I highly recommend backpacking in Redwood Canyon. It is worth the drive, it’s perfect for an introductory/leisurely backpacking trip, the days are warm followed by cool nights, there are no crowds and the canyon is absolutely beautiful.
This year’s birthday has been fantastic, leaving me with the giddy tingles of a grade-school kid out on summer vacation. I hope your summer is just as wonderful.
LocationKings Canyon National Park, CA
Activity GuideBackpacking, Hiking, Trail Running, Horseback Riding, Stargazing
- $15 for backcountry permits and $5 for bear canister rentals at the Grant Grove Visitor Center
- 6.5 to 16 miles of trails in Redwood Canyon
- About 4.5 hour drive from Los Angeles
- No official campsites on the trail but there are many well-used flat spots for camping
- Hart and Redwood Creeks (to refill water)
- This is a fantastic place to escape the heat of LA in the summer. Besides hosting the worlds largest tree (by volume), Kings Canyon gives you a little taste of the High Sierras and also features a Yosemite-like valley.
- Even though bear canisters are cumbersome, I recommend using one, as there are no real branches to hang anything from in a true bear-proof manner.
- After hiking out, take a dip in Hume Lake about 11 miles down the road. There is parking, a picnic area and a trail that goes around the lake offering lots of private little nooks for a lake-side lunch.