Crescent Meadow Trailhead
Crescent Meadow from Tharp's Log Trail before the High Sierra Trail splits off.
The Crescent Meadow Trailhead is the starting point of the 72 mile long High Sierra Trail along with a number of others. It harbors a large picnic area which many families come to...well, picnic meaning the parking lot to quickly fill up during the summer months when most visitors come. Get here early or come in winter when there are fewer people.
Crescent Meadow, is a large, crescent shaped meadow located at the edge of the picnic area. It is looped by an unnamed trail which starts just beyond the picnic area itself. It can be hiked within an hour as a pleasure walk for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors but is on a limited schedule. Please do not hike into
the meadow itself. It is in a state of regenerating growth after being trampled by unwary visitors.
Another trail named Tharps Log goes around the south side of the meadow for 0.8 miles to Tharps Log, a fallen sequoia converted into a living quarter in the 1800's. It is now a popular visitor attraction year-round.
Absolute solitude is very rare here in the Crescent Meadow area. For that, it's best to try hiking at least a portion of the High Sierra Trail. This backpacker favorite is the most common way of reaching and climbing world famous Mount Whitney from the west. Most dayhikers only reach Eagles View, a signed lookout of the Great Western Divide as well as being an interesting vantage point of Moro Rock. It is only 0.5 miles to the lookout and is a worthwhile view in peace.
Crescent Meadow in Autumn. Image by David Hickey.
Crescent Meadow is at the end of the road which leads to world-famous Moro Rock. To reach this road from Visalia, head east on CA-198 through the town of Three Rivers. It enters the park at 2,225 feet then almost immediantly goes through a series of loose switchbacks all the way up to 6,650 feet and a sign for Moro Rock. Follow the sign and turn right. Continue on to the end of the road past the almost always filled lot of Moro Rock to Crescent Meadow Parking Lot.
The previous route goes through plenty of switchbacks. Although they are considered very loose, it is not recommended for the inexperienced driver. Instead, Drive north from Visalia on CA-65 to CA-180 and turn right. Continue straight and take the right fork at a Y-shaped intersection. Coninue headed south past Giant Forest to the sign for Moro Rock. Again, drive to the end of the road.
Permits, Fees, Passes, Ect.
A $20 fee is charged at the entrace of the park. It is good for 7 days. An annual pass may also be purchased for $40. Permits are required for overnight backpackers on the High Sierra Trail and may be obtained at any ranger station in the park.
Camping is allowed 2 miles away from the meadow on the High Sierra Trail. No camping allowed until you get beyond 2 miles of the trailhead.
External LinksSequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
- SEKI's official site which includes links to the most recent updated info about the trailhead as well as any fee changes.