Friday, June 9, 2017

Kings Canyon: Viola Falls Day Hike

Dale Matson
Beginning elevation: 6,500’
Viola Falls elevation: 5,945’
Total elevation gains 784’
Hike total distance 4 miles (2 miles to Viola Falls from trailhead near Grant Grove.
Grant Grove is about 1.5 hours from Fresno CA on Highway 180.
Hiking time: about 3 hours total taking photographs along the way.
Hike rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Viola Falls

There are different approaches to this hike but I recommend getting a 4-dollar trail map of this area at the Grant Grove Visitor’s Center. Viola Falls in not even indicated on my topographical software maps. It is a simple matter to park in the Grant Grove parking lot, walk across Highway 180 and pick up the Sunset Trail to Viola Falls. Additionally, there is a general store at Grant Grove where we bought treats for ourselves following the hike.
Outbound the trail descends about 800’ to the falls. I prefer a trail that ascends outbound but that is my personal preference. We had bug spray but did not have to use it. There is a nice creek crossing beneath a wooden footbridge along the way that can also provide water for resupply if you have a means to purify it. I suspect that it may dry up later in the season however. The same maybe true of Viola Falls and perhaps that is why it is not on my topographical maps. The trail is well signed and the footing is excellent and pine needle covered except for a few spots.
Our oldest grandson Jamison hiked with us. Being fit from playing soccer, the trail was easy for him. He may have travelled an additional mile “bouldering” on rock outcroppings as we hiked. Having an enthusiastic “Jamo” along, I was imagining the next generation of hikers. Kids love the forest and Jamo spotted two deer on our return from the falls.
 When we got to the falls, they were a bit smaller than I had imagined but a wonderful place for lunch. Of course the nicest lunch spot and the best spot for photographs was on the other side of the creek. Jamo had already hopped over a couple of rocks, staked out a spot and awaited Sharon and me. That was a different story for us however. We both struggled to climb over the two boulders to cross the stream and got one wet foot each. I had thrown my daypack over to Jamo so I wouldn’t have to carry it in addition to my two cameras. The water bottle flew out and into the creek. It began to float down the creek and Jamo rescued it for me. How did we ever do these hikes without him before?
After a lunch break, we did the strenuous hike back up to Grant Grove with the treats in our minds as a finishing reward.

 Head This Way

 Sharon And Jamo Across Small Ravine

 Sequoia At Center

 Small Creek Crossing

 Double Sequoia With Jamo At The Base
Trail Junction Here Also

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