12S01 – Sierra NF

12S01kingsriver

Kings River, Sierra National Forest
Road #12S01 – Lower Kings

Located in between Kings Canyon National Park and Pine Flat Reservoir. Graded dirt road w/ trailhead parking & camping; Primitive car camping, vault toilets, some areas accessible by small RV. Campfire permits are required.

Long, (sometimes rough) dirt road, that parallels the north side of the Kings River. Dirt road used by families, fishermen, kayakers, campers, mountain bikers, rafters and rafting shuttle buses, seasonally. May be gated and closed off to the public in wetter months of the year.

Bear Wallow Trailhead
Kings River Trailhead

kingscampsites

click to enlarge

Forest Route 12S01 crosses the river and leads to the south side of the river, near Green Cabin Flat. Mill Flat Campground is back this way.

Road 12S01 gains in elevation, turns to high-clearance, continuing up McKenzie Ridge thru a small slice Sequoia National Forest to the highway Kings Canyon National Park. 4×4 may be needed in wet/snowy weather.

flats of kings

Lake Kaweah

wildflowers

Sequoia Foothills Reservoir, CA SR 198
Kaweah Lake

Southern Sierra lake located on Kaweah River, near the mouth of Mineral King Canyon. In between the western Sierra foothills and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley. West of Sequoia NP, east of Visalia, California.

Crystal Cave
Mineral King
Sequoia National Park
Three Rivers
Visalia

The small town of Three Rivers is just up the road from this small reservoir & their slogan is the ‘southern gateway’ to the Sequoia National Park.

There are several recreational reservoirs that are situated at the base of the Sierras, along the western slopes. The Kaweah River transports snowmelt deep from the Sierra Nevada mountains, down to the San Joaquin Valley (Central Valley), for human consumption, households, and agriculture.

Lake Kaweah California

elevation: 1945′
surface area: 1200′
vegetation: minimal trees, scrub oak, wildflower foothills

fishing –

  • bass
  • bluegill
  • catfish
  • crappie
  • trout
  • recreation –

  • backpack
  • bike
  • boat
  • camp
  • canoe
  • hike
  • houseboat
  • kayak
  • sail
  • swim
  • waterski
  • CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    Horse Creek Recreation Area
    Horse Creek Campground
    76 camp sites

    Kaweah Rentals

    Kaweah Marina has patio boats, fishing boats, and paddle boards available for rent. Reservations are needed in summer for weekends and holidays. 559-597-2526

    Kaweah Houseboats

    Privately owned house-boats can be seen on this lake, although none are available at the marina for rent. Some can usually be found for sale on visalia.craigslist.org

    Weather: Lake Kaweah Dam

    US Army Corps of Engineers
    PO Box 44270
    34443 Sierra Drive
    Lemon Cove, CA 93244
    559-597-2301

    Gateway

    Sequoia Highway 198 has many side routes worth exploring: Mineral King Road will get you to amazing scenery, but there ARE NOT ANY Sequoia groves up that way; Crystal Cave, open for tours is located near the south entrance of the National Park; and a lesser known campground in this area is called South Fork, off on a residential side route canyon – South Fork Drive (Road #348); Located on the quiet South Fork of the Kaweah River.

    Sequoia Maps:

  • Mineral King Map
  • Golden Trout South Sierra Map
  • Golden Trout Trail Map
  • Kings Canyon High Country
  • Sequoia Kings Canyon NatGeo
  • Sequoia Kings Canyon NP Map
  • Sequoia National Forest Map
  • Sequoia Atlas

    1933 River Kaweah
    Three Rivers is small community located along the Kaweah River.

    North Fork Drive: North Fork of the Kaweah River is a seldom traveled dirt back road that leads from the east side of the lake @ Hwy 198, northbound (along the North Fork of Kaweah River), straight into the backdoor of Sequoia National Park’s ridge line highway @ Dorst Campground. The original town of Kaweah (elev 960′) is along this route. Many small dirt roads to explore up this way and a good topo map is advised.

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    Eshom Campground (on western border of NP), a small slice of Giant Sequoia National Monument land, Redwood Creek and a trailhead called Redwood Saddle are all back up in here. Have a few good maps to cross-reference while traveling back roads and trails. This major dirt route is often closed and gated by the rangers during wet, winter months.

    Kaweah River Sequoia

    nearby destinations:
    Lemon Cove, CA
    Mineral King, CA
    Sequoia National Park
    Three Rivers, CA

    lake_kaweah

  • 4S12 – Inyo NF

    rockcreekroad

    Rock Creek Road

    Rock Creek Lake, Eastern Sierra, California

    Inyo Forest Road #4S12
    also known as Inyo Road 12, and also Rock Creek Rd.

    Majestic mountain scenery. Popular paved route that leads from US 395 up to Rock Creek Lake, on the edge of granite wild lands; lake is situated above 9000′ elevation and the hiker trailheads are further up, beyond the lake at over 10,000 feet. Steep canyon, large canyon, rocky granite canyon, high elevation.

    Super scenic drive, but open less than half the year, due to deep snow. Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. Inyo National Forest

    North of Bishop, CA
    South of Mammoth, CA
    SW of US Highway 395

    hikes horse camp bike

    backpacking
    camping
    fishing
    hiking
    horseback
    trailheads
    wilderness

    A popular and favorite place for summer camping, fishing and hiking. Backpacking, horse trails, high elevation lakes, mountain passes, peaks, wilderness areas. RV campgrounds, tent camping, car camping. Mountain biking in vast canyon, near campgrounds and creek. No bikes in the Wilderness (up and above Rock Creek)

    Autumn colors, aspen groves usually best in early October. Snow closure in winter months (Nov-May).

    snowyautumn

    elevation 7072′ @ Tom’s Place, CA (US Hwy 395)
    elevation 9682′ @ Rock Creek Lake
    elevation 10,272′ @ Trailhead Parking (end of road)

    UP, UP, HIGHER & AROUND LAKE
    One lane, paved route gets narrow, but keeps on climbing. Road #6S05 continues up – past Rock Creek Lake and ends at hiking trailheads, paved parking lot and a few picnic spots.

    iris meadow

    Iris Meadow Campground NFS

    12 NFS Campgrounds in this region, starting with one at the highway, several along the way and the campgrounds at Rock Creek Lake.

    No campfires are allowed in this canyon – outside of a developed campground. Not much in the way of primitive car camping options either, except for strapping on a backpack and heading into high elevation wilderness.

    rockcreeklake

    Rock Creek Lake

    Rock Creek Campgrounds

    Inyo National Forest
    John Muir Wilderness

    Trailheads along Rock Creek Road #4S12

    • Upper Hilton Lakes
    • Tamarack
    • Lakes Valley (Little Lakes)
    • JMT – John Muir Trail

    Rock Creek NFS Hiking Trailheads (download PDF)

    Eastern Sierra Maps:
    Inyo National Forest Map USDA
    John Muir Wilderness Maps
    Mammoth Lakes Map by NatGeo
    Mono Divide High Country Map

     

    rock creek lake

    Rock Creek Lake, first snowfall (Autumn)


    looking for another place called ROCK CREEK in California? (we are working on that)

    1S23 – Inyo NF

    inyoroad1S23

    Inyo Forest Rd #1S23

    Walker Lake & Mono Pass
    Bloody Canyon Trailhead

    North of June Lake Loop, off of Road #1N17

    also known as Little Walker Lake trailhead

    1 mile walk downhill to Walker Lake; very steep trail with 800′ elevation decent.
    Vault toilet & one campsite at parking lot.

    trailheadcamp

    Trailhead camp for backpackers who arrive late. Nearby Parker Creek offers more in the line of free camping, more creeks, private setting.

    Slim pickins on campsites, means have a plan B or C ready in case these few ideal canyons are full. Minimal camping spots, down on the main drag Road #1N17

    Bloody Canyon leads further up the steep ravine to Upper & Lower Sardine Lakes.

    walkerlake

     

    Walker TH

    Bohler Canyon near #1S19 (locked gate)
    private property along some portion of this lake, so be aware of signage

    Grant Lake California

    grantlakefall

    Grant Lake, California

    elevation: 7,136′
    surface acres: 1000

    Grant Lake is the largest of the lakes on the famous June Lake Loop, the far north end (top) of Hwy 158. Eastern Sierra

    Often windy, barren hills surround much of the lake; Good fishing and easy access all the way around lake. High desert, with big open skies and great views. Public boat ramps (dirt).

    Graded Dirt Road #1S29 skirts the north end of this lake. Dirt Road #1S30 wraps around the back (east) side, while the paved highway skirts the western shoreline.

    Grant Lake Marina
    760-648-7964

    Full service marina, fishing boat rentals, boat launch ramp, gasoline & a market.
    Grant Lake Marina Campground w/ 70 camp sites. Usually open from late April through mid October.

    AUTUMN COLOR: Some pockets of aspen near this lake, but most aspen groves are deeper on the loop.

    curveatlake

    Picnic areas, hiking, back roads.
    Views of Mono Lake.

    Near north end of Grant, a Gravel Road #1N17 leads north from Hwy 158, thru BLM lands. Several short canyons w/ lakes and creeks; fishing, picnic spots, numerous hiking trailheads, some primitive campsites.

    Silver Lake is next door.

    nearby towns:

    June Lake, CA
    Lee Vining, CA

    junelakeloop

    Back of June Lake Loop

     

    area maps:
    Inyo National Forest USDA
    Ansel Adams Wilderness Maps
    Mammoth Lakes Map by NatGeo