The Grant Grove Area
Kings Canyon National Park
This page covers the sequoia groves near the main entrance to Kings Canyon National Park, including Grant Grove, Redwood Mountain, and the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
Heavily-developed Grant Grove has campgrounds, an extensive trail network, a lodge, convenience store, and restaurant, and the privately-owned mountain cabins of Wilsonia, all in a 2.5-mile-wide block of Kings Canyon National Park. The best scenery in the area is on the Grant Grove Trail, a half-mile paved loop that passes by perhaps a dozen giant trees. Outside this short trail, the rest of the grove isn't nearly as impressive. Most nearby trails pass through rather mundane pine forest, although east of Highway 180 the landscape rises toward a ridge with lusher woodland and some nice views. Some trails east of Highway 180 are little-used and are heavily overgrown or have disappeared completely.
Sharply contrasting with Grant Grove is the minimally-developed Redwood Mountain Grove. The world's largest sequoia grove, Redwood Mountain has a backwoods feel; its trails are ideal for day hikers who want to avoid the more touristy parts of the park.
Immediately north and south of Sequoia National Park is the Sequoia National Forest, which contains about half of the world's sequoias. Unfortunately, national forests are essentially government-managed timberlands, so most of the sequoia groves in this area have been logged. Perhaps the most controversial logging occured in the 1980s, when numerous stands of the old-growth pines, firs, and cedars that grow within the sequoia groves — in fact, the majority of trees within the groves — were clearcut. In 2000, part of Sequoia National Forest was designated the Giant Sequoia National Monument to better protect the sequoia groves, but the monument is still part of the National Forest and smaller trees can still be logged as part of the forest service's fire suppression practices.
The National Forest has an extensive road network sprinkled with numerous campgrounds and privately-run retreats, including the Sequoia High Sierra Camp, which may be the nicest place to stay in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon area. By and large, though, the National Forest facilities don't look as nice to me as the national parks'. In hunting season (fall) the rolling hills echo with the nearly continuous sound of gunfire.
*** Redwood Mountain (10.0 miles, 2200 feet)
*** Grant Grove (0.4 miles, 50 feet)
*** Evans Grove (3.8 miles, 980 feet)
* North Grove (1.9 miles, 390 feet)
* Bearskin Grove (1.7 miles, 240 feet)
* Lockwood Grove (1.2 miles, 140 feet)
* Little Boulder Creek Grove (2.3 miles, 140 feet)
© 2011, 2014 David Baselt