By Jordan Nicholson
The weather in the Central Valley as of late has been quite sunny and warm. Pretty soon, the threat of rain won’t be an excuse to put off that epic hike you’ve been meaning to do since Christmas. It’s safe to say that it’s time to take a hike.
Nestled in the giant redwoods of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park lies one of my favorite scenic trails in the area, the Redwood Mountain Trail, which is roughly a 10-mile loop. The trail weaves its way through dense trees, beautiful vistas and is sometimes referred to as the “grove within a grove.”
This particular hike combines two trails together to cover the 10-mile distance, the Fallen Goliath Trail and Hart Tree Trail. When you begin the hike, there will be a wooden sign posted at the trailhead, showing the entire route so you decide whether you’d like to cover the entire distance or not.
This particular area is home to a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation, including a young sequoia population. It is known as one of the most densely populated redwood areas in the world. The switchbacks throughout the trail will take you through the forest and lead you to the top of Sugar Bowl Grove, where the density of the red woods is pretty magical. I highly recommend bringing a camera.
Overall, I’d say this hike is easy to moderate in intensity. There will be moments of incline along the trail but there are many points of flat land throughout, where you can rest and explore the dense thicket of trees.
To get to this trail from Fresno, travel east on Route 180. You will drive about 50 miles until you reach the Big Stump Entrance Station for Kings Canyon National Park. From there, drive about 1.7 miles until you reach a three-way intersection and turn right onto Route 198 towards Sequoia National Park.
Drive about 3.6 miles and then turn right down Redwood Saddle Road. Look out for a sign for Redwood Canyon at the top of a dirt road, which you will drive down roughly 1.5 miles to a split.
Turn left and drive the short remaining distance to the parking lot. The parking is free and there is access to restrooms at the trailhead as well.
To be on the safe side, I’d recommend bringing a map, just in case directions are not your strong suit. It may be over an hour to get to this hike, but believe me, it’s worth it.
Feel free to make it an all day event. You’ll be surrounded by giant redwoods, so be sure not to bring any homework whatsoever. It’s time to start enjoying the natural wonders in our backyard so bring some friends with you and have a great weekend.