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Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Ventura, California
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Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Hi, we have planned a trip for next week to SeKi and will be taking two families with children aged 3-7. Our itinerary will be:

Monday: Leave Ventura CA and drive to Cat Haven just outside of park on the way in, set camp in Dorst, relax.

Tues: Grant Grove area then Crystal Cave in the afternoon (I know they are in opposite directions, but we are just kind of killing time til most of the party arrives)

Wed: Panoramic Point, Hume Lake to rent boats, lunch at Hume, then KC Scenic Byway in afternoon with stops at Yucca Point, Grizz Falls, Boyden Cave, Roaring River Falls, and do Zumwalt Meadow Loop. Perhaps a Wonders of Night Sky Ranger talk back at Wuksachi for the older kids at 9PM later that night.

Thurs: Explore the Giant Forest area including museum, Beetle Rock Nature Center, Moro Rock, Tharp's Log, and Crescent Meadow, plus Round Meadow if time allows. For dinner we are intrigued by the BBQ at Wolverton.

Friday: Head home to Ventura CA

Questions are:

Does this itinerary leave enough time for the activities listed?

Is there a better approach that we should consider?

What is the best time of day and location to "encounter" a bear or deer.

All of the people in the party are active and good hikers including the 3 year old.

Thanks!

Moro Rock
Geologic Formations, Hiking Trails
General Sherman Tree
Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Kings Canyon
Canyons, National Parks
Sequoia National...
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1. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

There were a few things that stuck out to me. The first is your schedule for Wednesday. I'm not sure how much research you have done on the Yucca Point trail, but it's more than just a quick stop unless you don't plan on hiking the full trail. Here is a good description of what the trail is like: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3NGJ. You're basically looking at a nearly 2 mile hike each way with almost 1,400 feet of elevation gain, so just that hike alone would take you into the mid-afternoon. Roaring River Falls and Grizzly Falls are both fairly quick, but the tour through Boyden Cave will be another hour, plus another ~2 hours to hike the Zumwalt Meadow loop, then the drive back out of the canyon will take you into early evening. I'm not saying it isn't doable, but that's a very full day and you might have to hurry to make the Wonders of the Night Sky program.

Also, as you mentioned for your Tuesday, Grant Grove and Crystal Cave are indeed in opposite directions. If you don't mind making the drive back and forth then that's fine, but one solution that might save time all around would be to do Grant Grove and Boyden Cave on Tuesday, and save Crystal Cave for Thursday since you'll be in the Giant Forest area already.

You can see bears and deer at any time of day, but morning seems to be a good time from my experience.

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2. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

I agree that wednesday is a very full day, and I personally took two days to see that side of the park. We go pretty slow though, and just this week let my 3 year old and 5 year old play in the water at Grizzly Falls for almost an hour. The tours at Boyden Cavern are on the hour, from my recollection, so you will want to be there just before so not to waste time.

My main reason for replying was just to say that this week we saw a bear mere feet from the path at Roaring River Falls at about 3 in the afternoon and a deer across the street from Grant's village at about 6pm. It was VERY exciting!

Lassen National...
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3. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Is seeing deer unusual? We have tons here, but it just hit me that when I'm in Tahoe even I rarely see them.

So Cal
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4. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Wednesday and Thursday seem to be the days you're packing things in because your entire party is there? If so, I would reconsider Hume Lake on a short visit. Boats and lakes are all over the place, but not the seqouia groves and Kings Canyon. If you cut out Hume, that makes your Wednesday much more doable.

Bears frequent meadows, but I also saw one just ambling through Giant Forest (probably on the way to a meadow). Luck of the draw.

Deer...now that you mention it, I haven't seen that many up there. Luck again?

Ventura, California
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5. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Thank you all for your responses. The Yucca Point trail was not really explained very well on the nps site and I thought it was a quickie like Grizzly and Roaring River Falls, but now that I have done further research, I think we will not attempt that portion of Wednesday. I have taken the comments into account and offer a revised plan....

-Monday: Travel day same as original

-Tues: Grant Grove area for a couple hours of exploration, then up to Boyden Cavern for the tour, and pass by Hume Lake for a quick peek to pre-plan our Thursday. This day we are essentially waiting for the majority of our group to arrive. Dinner at BBQ at Wolverton.

-Wed: Explore the Giant Forest area including museum, Beetle Rock Nature Center, Moro Rock, Tharp's Log, Crescent Meadow, and visit Crystal Cave. Perhaps a Wonders of Night Sky Ranger talk at Wuksachi for the older kids at 9PM later that night.

. -Thurs: Panoramic Point, Hume Lake to rent boats, lunch at Hume, then KC Scenic Byway in afternoon with stops at Grizzly Falls, Roaring River Falls, visit Cedar Grove Visitor Center, and do Zumwalt Meadow Loop in the afternoon.

-Friday: Head home to Ventura CA

I am hoping that this sounds like a better approach than the previous one.

Also, does anyone know the operating hours and pricing of the boat rentals at Hume Lake? I couldn't really find anything on the web except that the pricing is "reasonable" or "inexpensive".

Thanks again!

Los Angeles
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6. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Wednesday will now be your favorite day, I predict.

I don't remember the price of boats at Hume, but I know we rented one a decade ago and found it very reasonable. Kids do like boats and lakes, that's for sure, although my kids also liked Lodgepole Creek (near the bridge), better than the Lake (they could raft, wade and splash around, not as much of a way to do that at Hume Lake).

Haven't seen deer in Sequoia or KC for three or four years, but where we did see them was at Dorst in the various meadows there.

Sequoia National...
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7. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Your new itinerary sounds very solid! I'm sure you and your family will have an incredible time. Let us know how it goes!

Orchards, Washington
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8. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Just remember(and this is very important): Bears Bite!

San Diego...
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9. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

Deer are crepuscular, meaning they are out at dawn and dusk, so look at meadows in the late afternoon to sunset for deer. Bears are completely random sightings, but every time I've been to that park I've seen at least one.

The Grant Grove is popular, so I would try to go there very early in the day or very late in the day, to avoid the most crowds.

Someone on this forum said the snack bar at Hume Lake is great with low prices. Whatever you do, don't stop at Kings Canyon Lodge, even for the ice cream that is advertised by signs along the road. The people working there are disturbing. Stop to look at the antique gas pumps if you are interested in those, but just keep going, don't go inside. Unless you long to be an extra in a psycho-drama-horror film. I'm pretty sure you can get ice cream at the store at Cedar Grove.

Panoramic Point faces east, and the main point of the view is of the peaks of the eastern part of the park. For that reason I think the view from Panoramic Point is much better in the afternoon or late in the day. I would not go there early in the morning because you would be looking at the sun and wouldn't see the peaks well. I would try to schedule that for late in the day. The road to Panoramic Point is very poorly marked and only appears on one sign, as far as I know. First locate the John Muir Lodge, then take the very narrow road that goes uphill behind the lodge. If a car is coming down the road, pull to the side and let them pass you. When you reach the parking lot for Panoramic Point, it's another 300 yards walk to the point itself.

The Cat Haven tour takes about 1 hour; I think they start on the hour, a docent leads the group around on a loop tour and talks about the cats and answers questions from the group. You can't walk around on your own. I think it's still $9 for adults, I forget what for kids. It is best in the morning (I think they open at 10 am) as the cats will be more active in the morning. And around 10 they are fed, so they are excited. (Not fed live animals or anything, it's ground meat they buy at a grocery store). In the afternoon, especially if the day is hot, the cats will be sleeping or at least sedentary. So I would try to plan the Cat Haven visit for a day when you can be there at 10 am.

Edited: 14 July 2012, 07:54
10. Re: Quick trip plan review and a question about bears please...

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