Not just Harley owners but anyone who ride a motorcycle would love the trip we took Tues. CA 245 ran straight past beautiful, well-kept orchards, but once in the foothills we encountered the tight weaving curves bikers love. The small corner of Kings Canyon National Park has its share of twists and curves, but the ride through Sequoia National Forest in Giant Sequoia National Monument on CA 180 is spectacular. Not only does the road weave around tight mountain curves for thousands of feet, but the view from the top is jaw-dropping. My tiny pictures can’t even begin to convey the beauty that unfolded mile after mile as we ascended the mountain then rapidly descended 5000 vertical feet to the Kings River canyon floor. Even the haze that covered the mountains at a distance didn’t diminish the WOW factor.
That’s our road next
The road turned east, ( where it became Kings Canyon Scenic Byway), and ran past the antique gas pumps at Kings Canyon Lodge. The Lodge was burned in the 2015 fire and has not been rebuilt.
Descending into the canyon required hugging the side of the mountains.
Wonderful rock formations—”castle” rocks,
green with minerals,
tremendous pressure waves in the strata. Awesome!
California may be in a drought, but Kings River chuckled and churned right along.
We finally re-entered Kings Canyon National Park. The powers that be have placed one little (almost) square corner of Kings Canyon on the western edge of Giant Sequoia Nat Mon. The rest of Kings Canyon is north of Sequoia NP. This road ran for about five miles east into the park and stopped at Roads End (backcountry) Permit Station. From here the only access to the rest of this vast and rugged park is to hike it.
This is pretty much what you see if you drive Kings Canyon.
Back we went past the beautifully folded mountains, until just before 180 turned south again.
We turned at the Hume Junction Gate for a different view of Giant Sequoia as we headed back south.
Sneak peek of Hume Lake there in the distance.
A few miles along this less-traveled road, we were rewarded for our choice with our first view of wildlife bigger than a squirrel or bird.
What do you see? More than one?
At Hume Lake we fed the Eagle (gas) and ourselves (chocolate). This stop is a large complex which includes not only gas pumps and mini grocery, restrooms, and the lake, but also a gift shop, ice cream shop, lodging, chapel and a very nice swimming pool for people staying there.
After a day of tight climbing turns, we were ready for some long sweeping curves through cool shady lanes of beautiful tall trees.
The Hume road dropped us back into the little western square of Kings Canyon on CA 180 again.
Past the big stump at the Big Stump western entrance and we said goodbye to the Sierra Nevada Parks for a while.
From CA 180 we opted to take CA 63 south to complete our loop back to Visalia. Once again we rode through miles of fruit orchards, with a couple of vineyards and a corn field or two thrown in. This road ran straight south, but the towns and orchards kept the ride from being boring.
Our loop trip took 7 hours to ride about 200 miles. The weather cooperated by being about 10d. cooler. At our highest, about 7000’, the air temp was about 60’—very pleasant.
We count the Sierra Nevada parks as must see—especially by bike. Car drivers will have to take advantage of the turnouts to appreciate the scenery. Bikers can take it all in 180 d. as they ride. Any way you do it, these wonderful parks are worth the trip.
Next blog we will be somewhere else. Come back again to see where.
Louise and Duane