Deer Meadow Trailhead

Area Status: Open

Located towards the end of the Big Meadows Road, the Deer Meadow Trail takes you up into the southern edge of the Monarch Wilderness and offers some excellent views into Kings Canyon. It is part of loop connecting to the Kanawyer Trail in the Boulder Creek area, but some sections of the loop were severely impacted by wildfire and have not been repaired. This is a great isolated area for both short day hikes and easy overnight backpacking trips.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Best Season: Summer.
Busiest Season: None.
Water: No reliable water sources. Bring water!
Restroom: No.
Information Center: Contact the Hume Lake Ranger District at (559) 338-2251 for updates.

General Information

General Notes:

 This trail is open only to the wilderness boundary. The Monarch Wilderness is still closed until further notice.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

NOTE: This area was seriously affected by the 2015 Rough Fire. Due to safety concerns, the Monarch Wilderness will be closed to the public until further notice.

There is a short 2+ mile day hike from the trailhead up to the ridge above Deer Meadow. Chances are that you will not see anyone and enjoy plenty of solitude. Bring water!

Status: Temporarily closed
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate


NOTE: This area was seriously affected by the 2015 Rough Fire. Due to safety concerns, the Monarch Wilderness will be closed to the public until further notice.

Also a victim of the Sheep Fire several years ago, the higher sections of this trail past the ridge above Deer Meadow itself are basically gone and in need of a lot of maintenance. The old loop connecting to Boulder Creek and the Kanawyer Trail is very difficult to navigate. Most of the trail signs past the wilderness boundary were burned up and/or destroyed by the fire (and there was additional damage during the Rough Fire). However, from 2013-15 some trail work has been done along the first section the trail and so this area is in much better condition. The 2+ mile climb up to the ridge does gain some altitude but is not exceptionally difficult and is a very good day hike or an easy overnight trip. The views from this ridge, looking west and north into Kings Canyon, are excellent. On the way up look for Deer Meadow and the remains of the old cabin. There are also some great views into the heart of the Jennie Lakes Wilderness to the south from the rocky section of the trail.

Once you pass the campsite overlooking Kings Canyon (heading north), near the Monarch Wilderness boundary (the sign is pretty chewed up, but recently was put back up) the trail basically disappears and is not easy to find or follow. There are also fire fighting lines from the fires, which add more confusion. Further along, at the trail junction that splits west down to Boulder Creek and northeast down into Kings Canyon, both trails are all but gone, particularly the old trail that used to head north down into the canyon. We recommend that you not venture too far past the campsite at the ridge. Also, there is no reliable water source in this area, so make sure you pack plenty of water, particularly if you are planning to stay overnight on the ridge.

The more adventurous hikers can look for the small and remote Deer Meadow and Agnew Groves of Giant Sequoias in this area.

Best Season: Summer.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
4.9 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
7,765 ft.