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Zumwalt Meadow

Kings Canyon National Park - Cedar Grove area

Kings Canyon Links:

July 1st, 2000

1.5 miles
50 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:18

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From Fresno drive east on Highway 180 into Sequoia/Kings Canyon. After entering the park and paying the entrance fee, stay on the left to go toward Cedar Grove. The road twists and turns down the mountain from Grant Grove to Cedar Grove. Look for the Zumwalt Meadow trailhead parking area on the right, just before Road's End. Note: You may want to stop at Grant Grove first, for a short break; the drive from there takes about an hour. Grant Grove has a visitor center, gift shop, small grocery store, and restaurant. There are no gas stations inside the park, so be sure to fill up in Fresno.   View Driving Map


The parking lot was nearly empty when Jean and I arrived at about 10am. The parking lot is set on the south side of the road, and on the north side of a fork of the Kings River. High granite walls rise steeply on either side of the canyon.

Zumwalt Meadow

We started the hike by crossing a large footbridge over the river. From there, the meadow lies to the left. We took the right trail fork (we'd return on the left fork), and soon met up with a guided nature walk led by a ranger. The group (about 15 people) were hushed as they watched a lone deer staring at them from the middle of the meadow.

The trail begins in pleasant shade. But after we passed the group, it climbs gently over rocky terrain under the warmth of the sun. Here we got brief glimpses of the meadow below before the trail quickly descended. We then followed the trail left, along the eastern edge of the meadow.

Granite walls above Zumwalt Meadow

Here we found a beautiful small shaded beach just off the trail. It was perfect for skipping rocks and just relaxing. We lingered there for several minutes while groups of people passed without even noticing us there.

Private beach

After enjoying the peace and quiet, we continued along the loop trail, again passing the large group of people. By this time, there were many more people on the trail, and we had to weave our way through them. Eventually we reached a section of the trail which actually passes through the meadow on wooden planks. The view is gorgeous from here, as we can see the high granite walls backing the bright green meadow.

Zumwalt Meadow

Unfortunately, large numbers of mosquitoes were also enjoying the view, and we quickly continued back across the foot bridge and back to the now-completely-filled parking lot.


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