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Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park covers hiking, camping and information on this alternative to Yosemite. Sequoia National Park Foothills hikes goes through lush vegetation of California's native flora, oaks, chaparral, and river gorges. The foothills are hot and dry, however, the mid-elevation sequoia groves present warm days and lovely nights. All of the roads and amenities are open all year. Hiking the Paradise Creek Trail and Middle Fork Trail can be easily reached from the Buckeye Campground. As with all the hikes in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon areas you can just keep going and going. Of course you would need a backcountry permit but I found the trails in this park to tempt me further and further. Many hikes connect to another and yet another so keep an eye out for signs pointing you back to your car. We found the signage on our hikes to be placed well so you don't get lost.
Poison oak on foothills trails is active all year. In Spring the leaves grow in groups of three with shiny green leaves. It has red leaves and white berries in the fall, and bare stems in the winter. If you touch any part of the plant you need to wash the skin and clothes right away.
Above: Picture of Castle Rock from the hike. There are many angles of Castle Rock with every turn of the trail. Stunning.
Hiking the Paradise Creek Trail to the Middle Fork bridge is a fabulous hike for those who want to see past the highways and campground but don't want to get too involved in a deep hike. The trail to the bridge is open so that you will not be brushing up against any plants. Beyond the bridge the trail is unmaintained and then grows faint, but you can walk across big rocks paralleling the creek passing waterfalls and swimming holes without getting too far off course. Click for more pictures and how we travel and live here for $20 a day.
Above: Picture taken while hiking Sequoia National Park's Middle Fork Trail.
As for the Middle Fork Trail, even if you are camping at Buckeye Campground, I highly suggest driving up the dirt road 1.3 miles to the trailhead. This trail eventually intersects the High Sierra Trail that leads to the high country and requires a backcountry permit if that is your plan. Otherwise, this is an out and back trail to Mehrten Creek which is 3 miles one way. The view of Castle Rocks will be the first awesome sight you see then turn and look at Moro Rock. Keep an eye out for snakes, quails, and the Western Tanager.
Above: Picture taken not far from where we spent our first night, Buckeye Camp
Above: One of the many waterfalls we came across while hiking the Middle Fork Trail.
Jason's thoughts - Ben was not real interested in being on this camping trip at times and he made sure with much evidence that we knew that. On our third day out camping we stopped at a new campsite. He crawled out of the van and turned to face me immediately as if to say "I just want to get back in". I said "Ben find a nice padded flat spot to put your tent up". His head swiveled around and he looked just behind him, 4 feet from the van and said, "Found it", without ever moving his feet.
Kelly's thoughts - The Paradise Creek hike was a nice short hike to the waterfalls and deeper water spots. The Middle Fork Trail was tempting me further, I didn't get enough of this trail. I saw a quail and her baby chicks right at the edge of the trail. The Western Tanagers were flying all over the place, they are beautiful to see with their wings spread. Remember, I am dubbed "The Birder". I thoroughly enjoyed being able to make a camp fire at all the campgrounds throughout the parks. Though I am totally over roasted marshmallows, hot dogs, and canned soup for a while.
Above: Picture of California King Snake that we came across while wondering not far from our campsite at Buckeye.
Travel Info - The Buckeye Campground cannot accommodate trailers or RVs. The campground does have flush toilets and separate handicap bathrooms, nice camping area with spacious spots accommodating tents and class b vans, no firewood on the ground. The Foothills is on the south end of Sequoia National Park. Location of Sequoia National Park. Visit Kings Canyon National Park for more camping and hiking information as well as Sequoia National Park Lodgepole.
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