Rae Lakes Loop – Kings Canyon National Park

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Judy, Bettina, Suzanne, Maria and Kelly on day 1 between Mist Falls and Paradise Valley.

Destination: Kings Canyon National Park, Rae Lakes Loop

Date: August 24 – 31, 2014

HikeCampHikers: Maria, Judy, Kelly, Suzanne, Bettina

Travel Time from Austin:
Flight to San Jose on Southwest Airlines: 3.5 hours
Drive from San Jose to Kings Canyon National Park: 3.5 hours

Trip Planing: We met 3 times for planning the trip. In March we applied for the wilderness permit. Once we had the permit we met to plan the itinerary. And we met another time to divide up the shared equipment and weigh our packs.

Trip Training: We each have our own workout routines. Bettina and Suzanne are rowers, rowing and training for rowing keeps them in great shape. Myself, Maria and Kelly each run, ride bikes and hike to keep in shape. But to prepare for this trip we made time to get together and hike with weighted packs 4 or 5 times before we went on the hike. We can’t get the altitude training in Austin that we encountered in Kings Canyon but the heat of the summer in Austin made it very challenging.

Trip Itinerary:
Pre-hike: Fly to San Jose and spend the night at Cedar Grove Lodge

Day 1: Roads End to between Middle and Upper Paradise Valley.
Day 2: Paradise Valley to Woods Creek Crossing
Day 3: Woods Creek Crossing to Rae Lakes
Day 4: Rae Lakes to Vidette Meadow
Day 5: Vidette Meadow to between Charlotte Creek and Sphinx Junction
Day 6: Between Charlotte Creek and Sphinx Junction to Roads End

Post-hike: Eat burgers, drink a cold one and spend the night at Cedar Grove Lodge. In the morning drive back to San Jose catch the flight back to Austin.

Park and Trip Map:
This trail allows for options on where to camp and we had a few different ways we thought we might do the trip. The itinerary above was the one that we went with for a variety of reasons and it worked out perfectly for us. Each day the scenery was beautiful and offered something different from the day before. Each camping spot was spectacular in it’s own way. We were challenged as far as hiking goes each day but none of us felt like we were pushed beyond what we were prepared to do.
Here is a link to a map of Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Below is a detail of the map with our 5 night/6 day hike highlighted:

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Food Notes:  Food storage is required since this is Bear Habitat. Some of us used a Bear Vault and Suzanne rented a lightweight canister from Wild-ideas.net. Some of our favorite foods of the trip included Mary Jane’s Farm selection of backpacking food, Wheatsville Food Co-Op‘s bulk Pea Soup with chorizo sausage, Whole Food’s Turkey Jerky, Epic Bars, Wild Garden Hummus to go, Jif peanut butter to go and Arnold Sandwich Thins, beef sticks, dried apples, banana chips, biscotti cookies all from Trader Jo’s.

Birds of the Trip: American Dipper, White-headed Woodpecker, Chickadee, Western Tanager and Rufous Hummingbird.

Photos:

See all the photos from the Rae Lakes Loop Trip here

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7 thoughts on “Rae Lakes Loop – Kings Canyon National Park

    • Hi! We had a range of temperatures – it was hot, high 80s, and sunny in the day in the lower elevations. At night I was cold and had just about all of the clothes I brought on – it was in the low 40s or maybe high 30s. The rest of the group was okay at night, my problem was a lightweight sleeping bag. It rained (even hailed our evening at Rae Lakes) and was chilly in the higher elevations during the day.

  1. Nice!!!! Sounds like you all had a great trip. Great pictures too. I believe I’m going to do this trip next summer myself. Thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I think your main picture of the 5 of you is actually on day 1 between Mist Falls and Lower Paradise Valley. I think I know the photographer 🙂 minus the 5 of you.

    Never stop moving!

    • Thank you Dennis! We did have a great trip and I highly recommend doing it – remind me which person you are – are you the one who recommend the camping spot between middle and upper paradise valley? If so, that was a great spot and thank you for the tip and for taking the photo.

      • Oh and I will change the caption on the photo. I need to get to the blog as soon as we finish a trip or I start to forget what photos were taken where. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. My brother-in-law and I played leap frog with your group most of the first day and part of the second. I took picture of you all not long after leaving Mist Falls.

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