Friday, December 6, 2013

Kings Canyon Park:The Bubb’s Creek Trail

Wilderness Permit Station At Road's End

The Trailhead for the Bubb’s Creek trail is at Road’s End. This is literally the end of Highway 180 in Cedar Grove. There is a wilderness permit station at the trailhead, which is the lowest point in the trail at about 5,000’. Bubb’s Creek flows into the South Fork of the King’s River. Some of the other Kings Canyon trails come off from the Bubb’s Creek Trail including the Sphinx Creek, Wood’s Creek, East Lake and Center Basin Trails. To the east (upstream), it turns south near Lower Vidette Meadow (9,600’). It is a trail with a generally gradual climb except for switchbacks soon after the Baily Bridge at about 2.5 miles and again after Junction Meadow.

My experience with this trail is that there are not too many views, other than the Sphinx and Mt. Bago, until after Junction Meadow (12 miles). This is because you are still deep both in the woods and in the canyon. Even a Satellite Phone does not have connectivity in these areas.  There is however, lots of wildlife including coyotes, deer, bears and even Bighorn Sheep at the higher elevations. I have seen more bears between Road’s End and Junction Meadow than the rest of the park combined. Most of the time, along the trail, there is ready access to Bubb’s Creek for water.

At Lower Vidette Meadow, the Bubb’s Creek trail merges with the north and southbound JMT. The creek continues south (upstream) toward Forester Pass with the headwaters above tree line at about 11,300’.

The Sphinx
Mt. Bago

Bubbs Creek

At Junction Meadow, I  turn south, cross Bubb’s Creek and head to East Lake (9,472’). I did this hike in 2012 as a day hike from Road’s End. It is about 27 miles round trip.

Crossing Bubb's Creek Late In Season!

I have tried to get to East Lake on three different occasions. In order to cross Bubb's Creek, it has to be a low snow year in the Sierras and it is necessary to cross in late summer. Otherwise the depth and flow rate is too dangerous to attempt a crossing. I lost the trail near the creek on the return trip and had to retrace my steps to find it again.

Bridge Over East Creek

East Lake

Bubb's Creek With Junction Peak In the Back Along The JMT

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