Sequoia & Kings Canyon - Campsite research

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Sequoia & Kings Canyon - Campsite research

by skhanna » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:38 pm

Hi all,

First time poster. This site/forum has been a great tool for helping me research and plan a 2018 trip to Sequoia & Kings Canyons for Scouts. We have three to four routes drafted for three different hiking patrol capabilities, readiness and permit availability.

Route 1 - General Sherman Tree TH, Alta Trail, High Sierra Trail to Hamilton Lake, down to Redwood Meadow, then out via Middle Fork Trail
Route 2 - Big Meadows, Comanche Meadow, Lost Lake, Ranger Lake, Silliman Pass, Twin Lakes, Lodgepole
Route 3 - Big Meadows, Sugarloaf Trail, Elizabeth Pass Trail, Lone Pine Meadow, then out via High Sierra Trail
Route 4 - Rae Lake Loop

I've yet to find a source of information that helps address the one of my biggest open questions, campsite location/descriptions and sizing for number of tents eg: 5-6. I've mapped all the bear boxes which gives me a good idea of some campsites, and plotted others per below based on trip reports and other sources.

I'm looking for a source of information on campsite location, size. If one doesn't exist, then personal experience to fit a Patrol of Scouts 11-12 in size would be helpful.

Campsites options
- Mehrten Creek, Nine Mile Crk, Buck Creek along High Sierra Trail, open questions on camping along Middle Fork Trail
- Rowall Meadow (or just before), Comanche Meadow, Ranger Meadow (Deadmans Caynon), Lone Pine Meadow (Tamarack Lake)
- Ranger Lake, Seville Lake, Clower Creek/Cahoon Gap,

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Re: Sequoia & Kings Canyon - Campsite research

by SpazzyMcgee » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:21 am

Campsites in the backcountry are often informal, especially if not near bear boxes, and often times you might have to judge suitability based on size, condition etc once you are there.

If you are near a bear box there will undoubtedly be room for 11-12 people.

If you are not near a bear box you will have to use your best judgment. Based on the map, is the planned area in a very steep forested canyon that gets no traffic? Might be harder to find a site big enough. Is it by a lake with lots of meadows/forest edge, and flat? Probably plenty of room. Unlikely that you will find specific "campsite location/descriptions and sizing for number of tents" in any publication. For most of SeKi away from the bear boxes, a description like "nice sites located at west end of lake" is all you're going to get.

You also might consider purchasing a book that would give you a preset itinerary, eg ... 0899974147

Good luck!

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Re: Sequoia & Kings Canyon - Campsite research

by asmrz » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:03 pm

Just a note. When my wife and I did the High Sierra Trail (modified) some years ago, the campsites close to the bear boxes were inundated with people. You would be hard pressed to find a spot near them. The boxes were usually full of stuff and difficult if not impossible to use. But there was at least one bear box on every campsite after c.c. 8-10 miles on the trail.

A quarter mile from these places, there was nobody around. We purposely never used those areas near bear boxes.

Bring a proper bear canister and/or hanging set up and don't expect bear boxes to be there for you. If you are careful with storage of your food etc. you can do easily without them.

A bit more info on the general area can be found here

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Re: Sequoia & Kings Canyon - Campsite research

by MCGusto » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:36 am

Starting in the Jenny Lakes Wilderness (Big Meadows) would most likely be the easiest for securing permits for a big group. If you plan on heading over to Seville Lake, etc., and crossing into Kings Canyon you'll have to get a permit, and those permits are only issued from the Ranger Station in Grant Grove, NOT in Lodgepole. In any case, Big Meadows is a pretty popular spot for bigger groups, and every time I've been up there to hike the Jenny Lakes loop, there are a lot of scout groups. I know it wasn't on your original list, but the there are ample spaces at Weaver and Jenny Lakes for big groups, and you wouldn't have the hassle of attaining permits.

Anyway, to echo what was already said about the HST, yes, most of the main campsites will be pretty packed, and it may be difficult for all tents to be super close to the bear boxes. If you call the ranger station, they'd be able to tell you how many spots are at each site. And no car shuttle, but seeing as you have a bigger group, you'll probably have multiple cars anyway.

I know for sure Merhten Creek is pretty small, and most people consider it too close to the trailhead anyway. Buck Creek, if I'm remembering correctly, had a lot of space if you travelled up-canyon along the creek. (You won't find designated campsites, but I did see bigger groups heading that way and camping for the night).

That entire area is just amazing, especially the hike up to Hamilton Lake and beyond, if you choose to go further. Hope that helps! Good luck!

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