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Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?

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How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 08, 2010 07:16AM
Instead of going to Yosemite this year, my family is going to go to Sequoia and, hopefully, Kings Canyon.
We will probably stay in Three Rivers. Any suggestions on a motel there?
Any suggestions on things to see in Sequoia; I haven't been there in 20 years or so.
We'll see General Sherman Tree in Giant Forest, maybe Crystal Cave, ... Thanks.
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 08, 2010 09:34AM
The drive from Three Rivers into the park is not bad, if you plan to spend most of your time in Mineral King, near the Kaweah River, Potwisha, and other southern parts of the park. If you are going all the way up to Lodgepole, Wolverton, and beyond to Kings Canyon most of the time.... The Generals Highway between Lodgepole/Wolverton and Hospital Rock is a hellacious twisted road between Hospital Rock and Lodgepole. Get stuck behind the RVers and it's slower. They put a length limit on you for that stretch.

Most of the things I love to see are in the higher elevations in the park. The Ash Mountain end is a lot of low elevation stuff - going to be hot in summer. We do our hiking and exploring there in early spring.

High in the park, the groves of trees are always good to walk in and enjoy - my favorite is Redwood Mountain, the largest grove, you can hike 10 miles and never leave the grove. You can do a short hike down the canyon floor or do one of two six mile loops up either ridge. The groves of tiny sequoias are neat to see - anywhere from a foot to 20 feet tall. The wildflowers in the small meadows along the trail are really beautiful right now. We were just there yesterday and only saw six other people on the trail, other than the fire crews cutting deadfall out of the way.

There are a lot of shorter hikes too - Big and LIttle Baldy, Buena Vista trail, Moro Rock - that give you great views. The Lakes Trail is really popular for a reason, it's another great scenic hike. If that's a little much for you try Tokopah Falls out of Lodgepole.

Kings Canyon will be hot in the bottom but there are some short nature walks in the shade at Roads End, and hiking up to Mist Falls is a short but spectacular hike, with some mist on your face as a reward.

Can't comment on Three Rivers but I know there are places to stay. (living in fresno area has spoiled me smiling smiley )The bakery is quite good btw.

Also, to throw a kink in things further, there's a lot of roadwork being done in the park. http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/road-conditions.htm

I would be tempted to do as you plan and spend a lot of time in Mineral King - another long winding slow drive, but awesome scenery. But I'm a hiker. smiling smiley Most of the non-hiker activities are going to be along the generals highway.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2010 09:48AM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 08, 2010 09:00PM
Quote
AlmostThere
The Generals Highway between Lodgepole/Wolverton and Hospital Rock is a hellacious twisted road between Hospital Rock and Lodgepole. Get stuck behind the RVers and it's slower. They put a length limit on you for that stretch.

Kings Canyon will be hot in the bottom but there are some short nature walks in the shade at Roads End, and hiking up to Mist Falls is a short but spectacular hike, with some mist on your face as a reward.

I would be tempted to do as you plan and spend a lot of time in Mineral King - another long winding slow drive, but awesome scenery. But I'm a hiker. smiling smiley Most of the non-hiker activities are going to be along the generals highway.



Whenever I go into the park up to the High Country through the S entrance, I either get there late at night (after 10 PM) or early in the morning (before 8 AM). The hellacious twisted road is actually a fun drive if you have it to yourself and especially if you drive a manual transmission car. It's more fun going up than down, but down is enjoyable too.

Any RVs that you may encounter during the day are usually travelling at -5 mph (ascending or descending, it doesn't matter) and seem to be engaged in some sort of mysterious competition as to who can remove the most material from their brake pads when descending. (Don't those things have a lower gear that they can put it in rather than the standard automatic "Drive" gear?)

Highly recommend both Kings Canyon and Mineral King.
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 09, 2010 07:25AM
We will be driving from LA (Glendale) to Three Rivers to spend the night, go into SEKI for the day, then come back for another night.
Start out early the next morning (~7 AM) for the drive.
Will bring breakfast to eat there. That way the kids (8 and 12) and wife don't barf their breakfast from the windy drive.
Since I have never been to Kings Canyon: Would it be better to drive all the way there, then hit some of the Sequoia sights on the way back.
Approx how long to get to Kings Canyon spots from Three Rivers?
avatar Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 09, 2010 07:07PM
Quote
snorkus
We will be driving from LA (Glendale) to Three Rivers to spend the night, go into SEKI for the day, then come back for another night.
Start out early the next morning (~7 AM) for the drive.
Will bring breakfast to eat there. That way the kids (8 and 12) and wife don't barf their breakfast from the windy drive.
Since I have never been to Kings Canyon: Would it be better to drive all the way there, then hit some of the Sequoia sights on the way back.
Approx how long to get to Kings Canyon spots from Three Rivers?


It's not really clear from your post how many days you intend to spend in the park(s). Only two? If so, you are better off scrubbing Kings from this trip since the drive down into the canyon is approx. 2.5 hrs. from Three Rivers (it's about an hour from the W entrance coming in from Fresno on SR180). It would be better use of your time playing tourist in the major Sequoia attractions both days or perhaps going over to Mineral King on one day.
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 11, 2010 01:52AM
It's not really clear from your post how many days you intend to spend in the park(s).

One full day, for sure. Getting up early from Three Rivers, then not getting back until late at night.
Instead of going to Kings, just do Sequoia and try Mineral King?
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 12, 2010 09:39AM
Quote
snorkus
We will be driving from LA (Glendale) to Three Rivers to spend the night, go into SEKI for the day, then come back for another night.
Start out early the next morning (~7 AM) for the drive.
Will bring breakfast to eat there. That way the kids (8 and 12) and wife don't barf their breakfast from the windy drive.
Since I have never been to Kings Canyon: Would it be better to drive all the way there, then hit some of the Sequoia sights on the way back.
Approx how long to get to Kings Canyon spots from Three Rivers?

Go to Sequoia and do the short hikes - the Baldys, Moro Rock, Hospital Rock, the groves of trees, the overlooks, the museum, all that stuff. It will take you all day. You may get to spend more time looking at things that way than if you try to cover the entire two parks and end up driving 8 of your daylight hours away, navigating switchbacks and curves slowly....

If the kids are hiker kids things like Tokopah Falls might be do-able. If they are not hiker kids you might have difficulty getting them around the shady groves of trees.
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 12, 2010 09:11AM
Three Rivers has a Holiday Inn Express which is great and not that expensive. As everyone else has told you, the drive into the park from Three Rivers is pretty much hell if you go after 7:30 am. From the park entrance to the Lodge with no traffic will take you 40-45 minutes. However, if you're stuck behind a big rig or RV, forget it. Count on 75 mins. It's very twisty and impossible to pass in most spots. It can very frustrating and VERY hot in the summer heat.

I highly recommend the Alta Peak hike in Sequoia, one of my all-time favorites hikes. It's 14 miles with about 3800 elevation gain. It has great intermediary views, great summit views and is a grand hike.
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 12, 2010 09:13AM
One cautionary note about Mineral King: be careful of the marmots earing through your radiator hose underneath your car if you go hiking. This has never happened to me at MK, but I have had to drive two other groups of hikers down because their car was dismantled by marmots up there. This is a real concern, not a trifling one. The Vistors Center even has a pamphlet highlighting this risk.
avatar Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 12, 2010 12:37PM
Quote
Ulysses61
Three Rivers has a Holiday Inn Express which is great and not that expensive.

I hope it's better than the Best Western. But I doubt it could be worse.
avatar Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 12, 2010 12:52PM
My most favorite drive in the Sierra is 198 out of Visalia, up the switchbacks. NOT DOWN the switchbacks. Manual transmission, Mustang GT. First and second and sometimes third gear, drop to fourth when you see the "Entering the Giant Forest" sign and let the car purr through, roll down the windows, turn off the radio...best done in early November around 7 a.m. when ice hints at you, but good any time in a really fast car
Re: How is the drive from Three Rivers to Sequoia?
July 13, 2010 12:32PM
We stayed in Three Rivers 3 years ago. It was broilingly hot (110 F or so) at the bottom, but very pleasant in the higher elevations. We stayed for three nights, so two days activity in the park. With two young kids, we found the most fun we had was stopping to swim at a swimming hole along the drive up at a location a park ranger pointed us to. We had so much fun, we went back the second day for a more leisurely picnic.

I would prefer to stay in the park, but it was very doable to stay in Three Rivers. Just head out for the day and come back at night.
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