…on the 180 headed East you’ll run into the Sequoia and Kings National Parks. Two parks that are butted up next to one another and absolutely stunning! This weekend Halo and I took a trip to the mountains for a hike. Our final destination was Zumwalt Trail which is a 1.5 hike around the Zumwalt Meadow. There’s an amazing waterfall along the trail that was going to be roaring with the recent snow melt. We were also wanting to scope out a campsite for Da Mommy when she comes in town and we go camping.
We hit the beginning of the park and stopped to look at the South Fork of the Kings River. It was definitely full from the spring snow melt. The Sequoia and Kings National Parks is located at about 6,500 ft above sea level and it’s really accessible. Geological side note: Halo explained the creation of these two national parks happened when a glacier came barrelling through leaving moraines in its wake and creating a “U” shaped valley until the glacier melted thus allowing the Kings River to etch out the rest of the parks in what you see as a “V” shape. This picture is from a “V” shape valley, thus was carved from the river. We were about an hour into out trip and Halo was pointing out the different granite and marble rock faces. It’s pretty interesting to actually see millions of years in geological evidence just on the side of the road! Here’s some pictures of the rocks we encountered:
This is a pure marble rock face that’s just on the side of the road and a cause of many rock slides.
This is a granite rock face with a cool geological formation. The white speck is actually a clump of marble. Geological side note: water erodes granite slower than it erodes marble. Marble and water interact with a chemical reaction. The water bores out the marble creating caves. Therefore it is likely this speck of marble on this granite rock face contains a cave somewhere within its depths.
The Giant Sentinel from a distance.
The Giant Sentinel from Muir Rock.
We travelled along the road and stopped to get out and take pictures. There was so much to see! We stopped by Grizzly Falls which was amazingly beautiful! The Park Ranger at the entrance told us to stop by there on our way to Zumwalt because of the snow melt. It’s just off to the left side of the road and really spectacular to look at!
After we visited the Falls we headed down to the Boyden Cavern. We didn’t go into the cave, but we will in the near future! It was awesome to stop by the entrance of the cave and see the Kings River flowing so hard it was white water all the way down! There were a bunch of signs warning visitors of the slippery rocks and that the river current was so strong you’d be fatally injured if you attempt to go in. It was highly recommended all stay on dry land! Boyden Cavern is one of four caves that are in the Parks, there’s only one other cave that is open to the public though, Chrystal Cavern (I believe). Here’s the Kings right outside Boyden Cavern:
After that we traveled along looking at the different campsites to scope them out. They are all closed until May 1st so we could only trek through them on foot. We have some ideas of good spots, but there aren’t any sites close to the river. We love car camping by the river so… we’ll see where we decide to take Da Mommy in June.
Back on the road took us to Roaring River Falls, the Zumwalt Trails and Road’s End. We were running short on time so instead of doing the Zumwalt hike we just stopped by all the spots and drove the rest of the way. At Road’s End we went out to Muir Rock and looked at the Kings, the river was a lot calmer here.
We past Zumwalt on the way back and drove to Roaring River Falls. It’s a little bit of a walk to get there, but on a nice day it’s really a great walk. I don’t say hike because the parks service has done a really good job paving the path and maintaining the area. And like Grizzly Falls, Roaring River Falls was absolutely full and beautiful!
After that we packed up and headed home. We were barbecuing some chicken that was marinating in a 10 clove garlic marinade and it was DELICIOUS!!
I’m going to have Halo give me more info on the geology of these two parks, the geological side notes were from what I remembered him telling me.
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