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The Rough Guide to Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon


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The Rough Guide to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon is the ultimate travel guide to three of the USA's best national parks. Discover America's highest waterfalls, Yosemite's lushest meadows and near vertical cliffs such as El Capitan and Half Dome. Find information on the world's largest trees in Sequoia National Park, along with black bears and fine limestone caves in Kings Canyon. Get practical advice on the best hikes, most comfortable camping spots, the finest hotels and great places for a rowdy beer. Full colour sections cover horse riding, snow shoeing and rafting as well as wild animals like bears, marmots and mule deer. Explore every corner of Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon with clear and accurate maps that will ensure you won't miss a gorgeous vista or wonderful campsite.

Make the most of your time on earth with The Rough Guide to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon.



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Published 02 May 2011
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EAN13 9781848369009
Language English
Document size 39 MB

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THE ROUGH GUIDEto Yosemite Sequoia & Kings Canyon Includes the 70 best hikes in the parks
YOSEMITE, SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON BodieNEVADA Ghost TownCALIFORNIA 395 HetchLeeMono Vining Hetchy Lake8 YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK Tioga Pass Groveland120 Yosemite 120 1 TuolumneYosemite Valley Village Meadows2 Northern Yosemite 8 2 1Southern Yosemite 3 Coulterville El 4 7 cover Yosemite PortalS I E R R A N E V A D A hikes and activities 3 Around Yosemite 8 Wawona 9 12cover activities and Mariposa Grove Mariposa practicalities in and 6 Fish around Yosemite Camp 49 13Sequoia and Kings 140 OakhurstCanyon national parks Merced 8
20 miles
Giant Forest
About this book Rough Guidesare designed to be good to read and easy to use. The book is divided into the following sections and you should be able to find whatever you need in one of them. The introductorycolour sectionis designed to give you a feel for Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon suggesting when to go and what not to miss, and includes a full list ofcontents. Then comesbasics, for pre-departure information and other practicalities. TheYosemite and aroundchapters cover the national park and surrounding areas in depth, giving comprehensive accounts of all the attractions, while thelistingssection gives you the lowdown on accommodation, eating, shopping and more, in and around the park. TheSequoia and Kings Canyonchapter describes the twin parks that lie a hundred miles southeast of Yosemite, along with eating and drinking options found there. Contextsfills you in on history, geology, flora and fauna, rock climbing and books, while individualcolour sectionsintroduce Sierra wildlife and outdoor activities in Yosemite. The book concludes with all thesmall print, including details of how to send in updates and corrections, and a comprehensiveindex. This fourth edition published May 2011. The publishers and authors have done their best to ensure the accuracy and currency of all the information inThe Rough Guide to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, however, they can accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by any traveller as a result of information or advice contained in the guide.
TheRough Guideto
Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon
written and researched by Paul Whitfield
Colour section
Introduction ............................... 4 What to see................................ 6 When to go ................................ 9 Things not to miss ................... 11 Basics 17
Getting there ............................ 19 Getting around ......................... 25 Hiking essentials ...................... 28 Health and backcountry  dangers ................................. 33 Travel essentials ...................... 35 Yosemite and around 47
1 Yosemite Valley ................... 49 275Yosemite .............  Northern 3Yosemite .............. 90 Southern 4 Day hikes .......................... 102 5 Backcountry hiking and  camping ............................ 130 6activities ............. 139 Summer 7 Winter activities ................ 147 8 Around Yosemite ............... 151
9............... 171 Accommodation G Eating and drinking ........... 187 H Organized events and  entertainment .................... 194 I Shopping .......................... 199
Sequoia and Kings Canyon 201
J Sequoia and Kings Canyon  national parks ................... 203 Contexts 229
History of Yosemite ................ 231 Geology, flora and fauna ....... 238 Rock climbing in Yosemite ..... 246 Books .................................... 250 Glossary................................. 253 Small print & Index 257
Active Yosemite colour section following p.144
Wild Sierra colour section following p.240
Hang-gliding in YosemiteScrambling on Matthes Crest, Yosemite
| C O N T E N T S
| I N T R O D U C T I O N
 Introduction to | W H AT T O S E E | W H E N T O G O Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon Yosemite National Park and the conjoined Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks are the gleaming granite jewels in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, thick with lush meadows and dense forests of pine, fir and cedar. They’re all within half a day’s drive of Los Angeles and San Francisco, so visitors are plentiful – yet the parks are diverse and massive enough to soak up the crowds, allowing you to appreciate their immense beauty and find solitude if you look for it. More gushîng adjectîves have been thrown at Yosemîte Natîonal Park than at any other part o Calîornîa – but however excessîve the hyperbole may seem, once you enter Yosemîte Valley you realîze ît’s actually an understate-ment. Sîmply put,Yosemîte Valleyonly a – small part o the park but the one at whîch most o the verbîage îs aîmed – îs one o the most dramatîc pîeces o geology to be ound anywhere. From massîve, 3000t clîfs streaked by cascadîng wateralls 4 to the subtle colourîngs o wîldflowers, the varîatîons wîthîn ît can be both enormous and dîscreet.
Through ît all runs theMerced Rîver, meanderîng among wîldflower meadows where mule deer graze, whîle black bears secretîvely orage the surroundîng woods. It’s a place that can be experîenced on a varîety o levels: many people just spend a day în Yosemîte, doîng a quîck, thrîllîng whîp around the top attractîons; others return requently to photograph, hîke, explore, observe the wîldlîe or just soak up the atmosphere. Many o the same qualîtîes are equally abundant înSeuoîa and Kîngs Canyonnatîonal parks, a hundred mîles southeast o Yosemîte. Glacîated granîte peaks and domes rîse above conîerous orests, whose groves are presîded over by the gîantest o thegîant seuoîas. Elsewhere, rîvers have cut deep înto the rock, nowhere more so than înKîngs Canyonîtsel, reputedly the deepest valley în the US.Hîkîngthe maîn attractîon îs în these parts, eîther gently strollîng around the meadows among huge trees, or headîng of or days înto the vast backcountry. Taft Point, Yosemite
Fact file Roughly fifty miles by forty miles, Yosemite National Park covers 1169 square miles, about the size of Rhode Island. Over 94 percent is designatedssenredlwi. Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks are larger, jointly covering1355 square miles; 87 percent is designated wilderness.
Sequoia National Park was America’s second national park (after Yellowstone) and was created on September 25, 1890. Yosemite National Park followed just a week later on October 1. Yosemite was declared a United NationsWorld Heritage Siteon October 31, 1984.
Yosemite receives 3.9 million visitorsa year (down from 4.2 million in 1996), while Sequoia and Kings Canyon jointly get around 1 million.
Yosemite varies inaltitudefrom 2000ft in the west to the 13,114ft summit of Mount Lyell on the park’s eastern boundary. Sequoia and Kings Canyon have a similar range, topping out at the summit of Mount Whitney (14,497ft), the highest point in the Lower 48 states.
| I N T R O D U C T I O N
| W H AT T O S E E | W H E N T O G O
FeetDorothy Emigrant | I N T R O D U C T I O N |STANISLAUSLake LakeYOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK 12000 NATIONAL Twin Barney Twin k FORESTLakes eLake Lakes e 10000r TOIYABE C slk CraigNATIONALe Crownre a 8E0M0I0GRANTC Fn Peak CrownFOREST RichardsonLakee e WILDERNESSOtter r Peak Point G Lake 6000 Hoover Little Otter Price PeakWilderness 4000EdythPACIFIC CREST TRAILk e Lakee Bearupr C e 2000LaketLundy u i P Quarry Lake Lake W H AT T O S E EekLake ePeak rkVernon Benson Ce rre C LakeongRodgersINYO ao EleanorerSaddlebag l FMount GibsonLake ENATIONAL  Lake n oFOREST y n Pettit Peaka Hetch HetchyC ia HETCH HETCHYin Domeg irTioga V Hetch Hetchy ReLserCvonirte Peak GRAND CANYON OF rPoint e v i R  | W H E N T O G OeTioga THE TUOLUMNE RIVER nT mu luoTioga oluLake m uPACIFIC CREST TRAIL n TeLembert RPass Hetch Hetchy iv e rDomeTioga Pass Entrance StationTUOLUMNE Tuolumne120Entrance WHITE MEADOWS ePeak kStation e r oWOLF C d o wL ttony CMayeMammoth o l l TIOGA ROADPeak LakeTIOGA ROADCathedralC Mount Unicorn a SkPeakn oeHoffmann Peak TenayaLy 120ueo I tr herAn CLakeRr FokivTEvelyn uuR TolmneetR iI Lake Big Oak FlatU mkM eeEntrance StationeN r H C YoYsOSEMITEJOIrelandJO Tuolumnea y aH GroveVALLEYePACIFICMCREST TRAIL nLakeN MercedTU I R MercedT GroveA R HalfLake IL Yosemite Village Florence Dome LakeMount Bunnell r ive MR erced LyellThousand Sentinel Glacier Point BIsland rDome Point Arch Rock STANISLAUSForestadI i EntrancealLake i NATIONALlvl eoMount Starr u Stationi l FORESTEl PortalGLACIERPOINTROADt e CKing rCMount r eeek140e Clark k YosemiteCHINBQUAADPINGERAnsel Adams WestPASSWilderness uthFo oOstrander Sr k M Lake e r c e d Chain R iMoraine v Lakes e rMountain WAWONA cedRiverSIERRA er rkM Fo SouthNATIONAL SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST South Entrance FOREST StationMariposa Grove 0 5 miles Fish Camp 41
What to see even mîles long and just one mîle across,Yosemîte Valleyîs where you’ll find some o the world’s most amous granîte archîtecture – FallSstoppîng the lot. Thîs îs the geographîc, spîrîtual and busîness heart o încludîngHal Domerock clîmbîng’s holy graîl, and El Capîtan– as well as many o Amerîca’s tallest wateralls, wîthYosemîte Yosemîte Natîonal Park, wîth most o the accommodatîon, over hal o the
S a n J SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON o a qMcClure u in RMeadow iv e r 0 5 miles Dinkey Lakes O Wildernessw John Muir e n 395 Wildernesss Courtright 6000R Reservoiri v I N Y Oe John MuirLe Conter 12000N A T I O N A L WildernessCanyon F O R E S T JOHNMUIRTRAILPACIFICCRESTTRAIL 8000 Wishon OWENS VALLEY Reservoir 10000 10000 S I E R R A12000 N A T I O N A L F O R E S Tr e iv R s g n i K Kings Riverk r o F h t u Feet o S 8000 K I N G S C A N Y O N Kings River6000JO H N12000 PA C IFIC N A T I O N A L P A R K 4000MonarchM U IRI N Y O C R EST10000 WildernessTN A T I O N A L R A IL F O R E S T 8000 TR A IL SEQUOIA Cedar 180 NATIONAL FORESTKearsarge Grove 6000 GAINT SEQUOIA NATIONAL MONUMENTPass KINN GO SCANY Bub Hume Lake C bs4000 re e kONION VALLEY Grant Grove 2000 Roaring Big Stump0 River Entrance 198 Stony Creek GREAT WESTERN DIVIDE Tyndall Creek LodgepolePear Lake Mount Alta Peak PearWhitney Wolverton Lake Bearpaw Whitney Giant Forest Meadow MoroPortal 12000 RockCrabtree AshS E Q U O I A N A T I O N A L P A R K Mountain Rock EntranceCreek Foothills Mineral King Three R2i0v0e0rs Lake Kaweah 198 4000 6000 k RattlesnakeCree I N Y O N A T I O N A L 10000 8000 F O R E S T
Golden Trout Wilderness
campgrounds, a maze ohîkîng traîlsor all abîlîtîes and a transport hub or shuttle buses out înto the rest o Yosemîte. Innorthern Yosemîte, everyone flocks to subalpîneTuolumne Meadows(pronounced Too-ol-uh-me), perched at 8600t wîth a crîsp, elemental atmos-phere, stunnîng landscapes and some o the park’s finest hîkes. Walk to the raggedCathedral Range, a place much loved by Yosemîte’s early champîon, John Muîr, who was the first to scale the dramatîcally poîntedCathedral Peak. The spectacle contînues însouthern YosemîtearoundWawona, lîttle more than a lovely old wooden hotel and campground set besîde a meadow. It has
| I N T R O D U C T I O N |
 | W H E N T O G O
Getting the most out of Yosemite | I N T R O D U C T I O N | No temple made with hands can compare with the Yosemite. Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life. John Muir,The YosemitePacked as Yosemite is with superlatives, it’s hard to know where to start your visit – especially if you’re not here for long. What follows is a brief list of some of the most popular and worthwhile sights and activities. W H AT T O S E E Two hoursIf you’re just driving through, be sure to loop around Yosemite Valley, take photos from Tunnel View then either take a quick look at the giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove or drive the Tioga Road east through Tuolumne Meadows. Half a dayMake straight for Yosemite Valley and stroll to the base of  | W H E N T O G O Lower Yosemite Falls, hike some or all of the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and gaze up at El Capitan from El Cap Meadow. Full dayDo all the half-a-day activities, add in the walk to Mirror Lake, visit the museum and Indian Village and, if driving, admire the late afternoon views from Tunnel View on the Wawona Road, then continue to Glacier Point for sunset and the stars after dark. Two to three daysKeen hikers shouldn’t miss Half Dome, but they might also fancy the Four-Mile Trail or Upper Yosemite Falls Trail. Less ambitious visitors could float down the Merced River then repair toThe Ahwahneefor a drink or a meal, and everyone should make side trips to Tuolumne Meadows and the Mariposa Grove at Wawona. Over three daysAfter three days in the park, you’ll begin to feel like a local; consider hiking out to one of Yosemite’s less visited corners (perhaps Hikes Y16, Y32 or Y42, covered in Chapter 4), taking a rock climbing course (see p.141) or visiting an area outside the park.
Ranger talk at Glacier Point, Yosemite
a dîstînctly low-key eel enlîvened by the proxîmîty o theMarîposa Grove, one o the most awe-înspîrîng orests o gîant seuoîasound anywhere. The îmmedîate vîcînîty o Yosemîte ofers rîch pîckîngs, too, notably the other-worldly tua towers rîsîng romMono Lake, to the east, and the pîcture-perect ghost town o Bodîe nearby. West o Yosemîte, the Tuolumne and Merced rîvers ofer some exhîlaratîngwhîtewater ratîng, whîle south o the park the wîld and rugged beauty o the Sîerra contînues înto the John Muîr Wîldernessand the wonder-ully remoteMono Hot Sprîngs.