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Hike Route From Road's End
The trailhead for this hike is literally at the end of road (Road’s End) past Cedar Grove. It is about a 2.5-hour drive from Fresno, CA on Highway 180 (Kings Canyon Highway). When you get to the park continue left on 180 at the junction with the General’s Highway which heads south. Continue past Grant Grove, past Cedar Grove, past Hume Lake to the end of the road. All the while you will be descending one of the deepest canyons in the U.S. At Boyden Cave you will begin to climb again. The trailhead elevation is about 5,000’ with about 800 feet of gain outbound. The trail is about 8 miles round trip and took me about 6 hours. I was glad to get an early start at 7:30am. Most of the climb is in the last two miles outbound. Don’t stop climbing until you see the sign that indicates “Mist Falls”. If you have a head net, bring it. ‘100 proof Deet’ may do a good job with mosquitos but seems to be a gnat attractant. They were everywhere and made the hike less pleasurable.
The Rough Fire that burned over 85,000 acres in Kings Canyon two years ago is very evident. The fire burned an historic lodge to the ground but Hume Lake Christian Camp was spared. You will notice all the burned trees and logs as you hike along the south fork of the King’s river, which is below and away from the trail.
There is a turn off to the left marked by a sign indicating 2.7 miles to the falls. There is a footbridge worth walking to not far past where you begin the climb. This bridge is at the confluence of Bubb’s Creek and the south fork of the King’s River. Bubb’s Creek and Woods Creek (above the Mist Falls) are major tributaries of the south fork of the Kings River. Gardiner Creek flows in from Gardiner Basin just below the falls.
I have passed this way before coming down from to backpacking trips. This is the most water I have seen in the falls and assume that a month or so ago the falls had a great deal more water yet. The suspension bridge over Woods Creek was damaged and the bridge over the Kings River was washed away this year. Those doing the Rae Lakes Loop have to ford the Kings River.
I you don’t have a means of purifying water for resupply, bring plenty with you. The later you begin, the more you will need.
Kings River In Cedar Grove Area
Along The Falls Trail Climb
Confluence of Middle Fork And South Fork Kings River
Wilderness Permit Station
From The Bridge At Confluence Of Bubb's Creek And Kings
People At Base For Perspective
Kings River Below Highway 180
Highway 180 Descending
Kings Canyon From 180
Here is a link to a YouTube movie I created with the photographs and video clips.