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Cycling in Sequoia/King's Canyon Parks?

Old 11-09-10, 04:31 PM
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Cycling in Sequoia/King's Canyon Parks?

Will be road-tripping from Vegas to the Bay Area this weekend with my girlfriend and we're currently planning on spending the weekend in Sequoia/King's Canyon National Parks...to go cycling (road) and/or hiking.

I know they're definitely not cycling havens, as the parks are mostly backcountry and so, it seems, any riding to be had is riding on the same roads as visitors in cars. Also, depending on one's route, there can be some really stiff amounts of climbing.

I think we can put together a couple of really nice rides by spending on day on the ~6000 foot high plateau that comprises the bulk of Sequoia. And then maybe a second day riding down King's Canyon Scenic byway and back. Seems like we can do at least two really nice rides not exceeding 60 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing.

What I'm wondering and would love to hear an opinion from someone whose been recently is: are the park roads at Sequoia/King's Canyon any more or less dangerous than "normal"...with regard to other vehicles on the road.

I think we'd love to ride amongst the giant redwoods, but we're also open to suggestions as to other places to do some riding "on the way home" to the Bay Area from Vegas...

P.S. Steephill has a nice write-up on a two-day ride through Sequoia/King's Canyon:
https://www.steephill.tv/galleries/20...uoia-kings-np/
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Old 11-09-10, 05:55 PM
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The roads are narrow, but the speed limit throughout much of the park is only 25mph. And it seems like there are more Euro-tourists there than in Yosemite, and they are typically more cyclist-aware than your typical Texan or Saharizonan. The road quality is terrific in many places, but terrible in a memorable few. The best part is riding through the dense section of the forest, and it gets really quiet, dark and chilly, even on a hot summer day. I remember feeling sorry for the poor saps who had to drive through there, because there were no pull-outs for them to pull aside to enjoy it.
Bring your granny gear and be ready for some steep sections!




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Old 11-09-10, 06:13 PM
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One of the most beautiful and rarely visited developed ares in the Sierras is Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Drive all the way to the trail head where 180 ends in a cul de sac. Get your bikes out and ride as far back along the Kings River as you can. Cedar Grove is a glacial canyon just like Yosemite ,except it wil be your own private park specaily on a week day. From Trail head to Boyden Caves is 15 or 20 miles, mosly flat with some rollers. So 30 or 40 mile easy round trip in your own private national park with epic alpine setting. Dont know what else you could want.
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Old 11-09-10, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
The roads are narrow, but the speed limit throughout much of the park is only 25mph. And it seems like there are more Euro-tourists there than in Yosemite, and they are typically more cyclist-aware than...
Thanks for the feedback...happy to hear that, apparently, cars ought not be buzzing by too fast (and I'd imagine, in November, traffic ought to be lighter anyway).

Gorgeous pictures; that pretty much cinches the plan...like you say...nothing sillier than not being able to really take in or photograph a vista because there's no road turn-off where you can park a car.

We'll both be riding on road bikes w/triples, and while I'll have a rack and a pannier or two, that'll only be for carrying additional clothing layers and food...so I think we ought to be able to handle the climbing to the extent that we take it as part of the experience and an acceptable price to pay for the views.

Originally Posted by curiouskid55
One of the most beautiful and rarely visited developed ares in the Sierras is Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Drive all the way to the trail head where 180 ends in a cul de sac. Get your bikes out and ride as far back along the Kings River as you can...
Sounds amazing...on the itinerary for sure, now. This is the Boyden Caves site you're talking about?:
https://www.caverntours.com/BoydenRt.htm

Looking at a map to the park (https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisi.../parkRoads.pdf), it seems you're saying to drive East as far as we can, then ride West, back to Boyden Caves...I'm guessing we can do it in the reverse...park at Boyden and ride out East until it's time to turn back?

Either way, sounds amazing. One last question...the river trail...I'm assuming it's bike-legal, but will we have problems riding it on road bikes with slick tires? Don't mind hard-packed dirt road, gravel, etc., but rougher than that and maybe we'd rather do a hike along the river...
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Old 11-09-10, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55
One of the most beautiful and rarely visited developed ares in the Sierras is Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Drive all the way to the trail head where 180 ends in a cul de sac. Get your bikes out and ride as far back along the Kings River as you can. Cedar Grove is a glacial canyon just like Yosemite ,except it wil be your own private park specaily on a week day. From Trail head to Boyden Caves is 15 or 20 miles, mosly flat with some rollers. So 30 or 40 mile easy round trip in your own private national park with epic alpine setting. Dont know what else you could want.
I've cycled many miles in and out of Cedar Grove. It's an E-ticket ride to Boyden Caves from Cedar Grove, when I was in high school I used to give tours through Boyden Caves. The only problem is the hwy is closed at Barton Flats, halfway between Grant's Grove and Cedar Grove, November to April for the winter. You won't be able to get to Cedar Grove until next spring.
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Old 11-10-10, 01:52 PM
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Yeah sorry about that been living in Southern California so long for got about the seasons. Its not a trail, beautiful paved road with wide shoulders.
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Old 11-16-10, 02:11 AM
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So, it turns out that we were in the park on the last weekend before the Cedar Grove area got shut down (12pm today, the 15th of November).

We further lucked out with a pretty warm, and bright sunny day...it turns out that we *do* get fall colors in California...in the Sierra. There were only a smattering of people taking advantage of the last day Cedar Grove was open, so autos on the road were almost a non-issue. We could ride side-by-side for most of the time and, when cars passed, they passed with a wide berth.

We decided to park at Boyden Cavern's parking lot (an employee said it was cool), but there's various other picnic grounds or turnouts in the vicinity for parking an auto. From Boyden, it's something like 15 or 16 miles to Road's End. The first half of it is basically gradual climbing punctuated with brief flat-ish reprieves...no steep grades, just a gradual climb of around 1000 feet over the course of 6 or 7 miles. Once you transition from Sequoia National Forest to King's Canyon National Park, the terrain gets more rolling...but I still think it's cumulatively uphill...maybe another 500-800 feet.

Which means the ride back is largely downhill coasting...fast enough to be fun, gradual enough that you don't have to concentrate on handling so much and can enjoy the scenery.

We took the main road instead of the riverside small road/path to the Cedar Grove Village because the bridge that linked the two was out. But, I think if you go through Cedar Grove Village to the bridge, you get a nice, flat ride right by the river before linking up with the main road to go to Road's End.

It would be a major treat to ride from Grant Grove to Boyden Cavern, because that's pretty much 30 miles of pure descent...about 3000 feet's worth. Would be amazing to do that kind of distance, with that many twisties, and pretty much never have to pedal. Yesterday was pretty much perfect, as the car traffic was so light and the road was dry. We decided not to do the descent because...well, we didn't feel up to climbing 3000 feet over 30 miles at the end of the day. My girlfriend offered to let me do the descent and meet me at the bottom to drive me back up, but...well, it was her birthday and if anyone was going to play sag wagon, it should've been me.

Riding between and around King's Canyon and Sequoia is doable but a pretty major commitment to climbing. We weren't quite up to it and so we had a non-bike day during which we drove from Grant Grove to Giant Forest in Sequoia and did a big day hike...which was great in its own way.

Anyway, thanks again for the info and suggestions...we had a great time. A few pictures from Cedar Grove...

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