planning on a trip into sequoias

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by penny, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    we had plans to travel to the east coast fall through a couple of times now. I think we lack the incentive to follow through, really.

    But a trip west is shaping up fast. We are planning a trip to CA coast, somewhat northern. Two of our three kids are meeting at the beach for a week, and have invited us to join them. seeing grandkids together and grown children together trumps all else, so of course we will gladly go! Then my brother and his wife have just finished rebuilding a home from the Lake Isabella fires, and we want to stop and see them, with a housewarming gift! Somewhere in this trip, I long to camp in the redwoods. We have a forest service map, and are pouring over it for days, picking just the right spot. Have decided to disperse camp around either trail of 100 Giants, or dome rock or a little east around the Freeman Creek Grove. This is a new frontier for us, although I spoke to a very helpful forest service person today. We hope to avoid the weekend and find a good spot among the giants. suggestions welcome!
     
  2. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell Member

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    I wish I could steer you to that magical campsite but it's been years since we were in either area. If you are anywhere near Fort Bragg, the Skunk Railroad is a lot of fun. Notwithstanding that I love trains, riding in the open cars through the forest is awesome.(1)

    In Northern California there is a route called the "Avenue of the Giants". This roughly parallels Highway 101 through Redwood NP. I had to go back and check but I think the road to the "Trail of 100 Giants" in Sequoia NP is unnamed. Both areas are incredibly scenic. In Redwood NP, we were lucky to get a misty/rainy day, with occasional rays of sunshine. It made for a very special time for everyone.(2) See also (3).

    If you are heading down towards Lake Isabella, you might think about Kings Canyon and/or Mineral King. Mineral King is a hiker's paradise. Note the trailer length limitation for Mineral King will be strictly enforced. Be sure to check for any warnings as to mice or marmots - they have an affinity for chewing car parts.

    Northeast of Lake Isabella is the Golden Trout Wilderness. Lot's of great dispersed camping. Another note - if heading East, inquire about road conditions for Sherman Pass and 9 Mile Canyon Road. I've never been on that particular road. I do know that it connects you to the 395, the gateway to the Eastern Sierra.

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Western_Railroad

    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedediah_Smith_Redwoods_State_Park

    3. Articles as to the different types of Sequoias.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoia_sempervirens

    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Trout_Wilderness
    and
    https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sequoia/home
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  3. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Sounds like y'all are in for a busy and great time making memories and having a great adventure. I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip. Good Luck and happy camping
     
  4. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    thanks, nine oaks, it is starting to shape up like a memory maker for sure.

    David, thanks for the great info. a train ride like that sounds incredible! will look into it for sure. We will begin our trip from Lake Isabella, as that is where my brother lives. He took me up to the trail of 100 giants aa few years ago, and I've been wanting to go back and spend time in that whole area ever since. I'm afraid we won't be getting into the northern part of the forest this trip however. I know there will be more than enough to experience this time. A fall trip to that area may get us up in the really giant trees in the North end. Thanks!
     
  5. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    A trip near Lake Isabella will not take you to Redwoods- the trees here are Sequoias.
    The area near the Trail of 100 Giants is about an hour north of Lake Isabella itself. There are FS campgrounds and dispersed camping all along the Kern River from Kernville 22 miles north to Johnsondale. There, the road leaves the river and continues up the mountains to the Trail of 100 Giants. There are campgrounds and dispersed camping along this stretch as well.
    The best dispersed camping is in the "numbered" campsites along the road that leads to Lower Peppermint Campground. #3 (I think) is amid the trees and has a creek running through it. Lower Peppermint campground is an F/S camground with pit toilets, and sits above Peppermint Falls (Spectacular in Spring of a good water year).

    Where are you coming from? It matters in terms of how you get here. If you are coming from the East, using US 395, I would strongly recommend against Sherman Pass Road and 9 Mile road, unless you enjoy steep, curvy, mountain roads. These roads will test your TV to the limit (and maybe beyond). The drop in from Sherman Pass is a 20+ mile downgrade with numerous curves. Use Walker Pass (HWY 178) instead.

    What time of year are you coming? It is HOT in Lake Isabella in the summer. The valley itself regularly sees 105-110 from June through September. It is cooler up at altitude, near the TO100G.

    If you want to be closer to Lake Isabella, you can camp right on the lake at the Main Dam, but it is pretty ugly. Just dry sand along a half full lake.
    There are a couple of dry campgrounds up on the Greenhorn Mountains (just west of Lake Isabella) along Rancheria Road. They are pretty nice, and at around 6000 ft, a lot cooler than down at lake/river level, and about a 40 minute drive to Lake Isabella.

    If you have specific questions about a specific area, I can probably help. I have been flyfishing the Kern river for 25+years, and have a cabin up in Alta Sierra in the Greenhorn Mountains.
     
  6. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a lot of fun. But toasty. I prefer coastal redwoods in the summer!

    As far as I know, both species of Sequoia are considered "redwoods", so you're good on that front. :)
     
  7. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the good info! My brother lives in Lake Isabella, hence the visit to that location. we hope while there to get into the forest for a few days of camping in the groves in the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest. I've been to the trail of 100 giants and was impressed. I know the big guys are in the north end of the park, but that is a whole other trip. For this one, we are spending that time in the area around my brother's and then on to the beach to meet up with kids and grandkids. This trip is taking place in June, and we have reservations in Cayucos.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  8. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and McFlyfi, we are coming in on 395 from the east, but headed to Lake Isabella first. Then we will take 99 up along the Kern river. Do you know if the camping around Lower Peppermint is open again? We had heard it was closed, whether due to snow or restoration, I can't seem to find out. We also hoped to camp around Freeman Creek Grove. Thanks for the help!
     
  9. Mogimus

    Mogimus Active Member

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    Not sure I can add much more than the great info already mentioned but I will add that there has been some closures since last year to some dispersed campgrounds up that way. Specifically that I know of, along Forest route 22S82 going from Johnsondale towards Lower Peppermint Campground, Camp 1 through 4 are closed and will remain closed this year. Camp 5 will be partially open though. You mentioned you talked with a ranger so they should have mentioned this but if not, call them to make sure that the area you choose will be open for camping.

    Also, just in case the timing is right, we are having our 4th Annual Rally up that way around Independence Day

    http://www.popupportal.com/threads/4th-annual-2019-sequoia-national-forest-rally.123354/
     
  10. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    That I don't know. Your best bet would be to call the Kernville Ranger Station- 760-376-3781.
     
  11. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    thanks! we probably will call end of May. by then the road closures and "summer schedule" should be better determined.
     

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