Kennedy Meadows Trailhead

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

NOTE: This area was severely impacted by the 2015 Rough Fire; some sections were completely burnt out. Due to safety concerns, the Monarch Wilderness will be closed to the public until further notice.

Providing access to some of the spectacular hidden gems near and within the Monarch Wilderness, The Kanawyer and Evans Grove Loop Trails are in a remote section of Giant Sequoia National Monument. The Kanawyer Trail begins at the Kennedy Meadow trailhead (off the Burton Road past Quail Flat) and winds through manificient Giant Sequoias, Incense Cedars, Pines and Firs, and then down sharply into the Boulder Creek drainage past a Manzanita-covered ridge, where Yucca, Pinyon Pine and numerous wildflowers appear. The Evans Grove Loop Trail begins off the Kanwayer Trail once you enter Evans Sequoia Grove, and also via the OHV-only old 13S05 Road beginning behind Hume Lake. See if you can find the old railroad bed in Evans Grove. This isolated wilderness area offers spectacular views into Kings Canyon and serene solitude down at Boulder Creek.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Best Season: Summer.
Busiest Season: None.
Water: Boulder Creek is the only water source. Bring water!
Restroom: No.
Operated By: Forest Service.
Information Center: Contact the Hume Lake Ranger District at (559) 338-2251 for updates.

Recreation Map

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NOTE: This area was severely impacted by the 2015 Rough Fire. Sections of the trail are entirely burnt up. Due to safety concerns, the Monarch Wilderness will be closed to the public until further notice.

Overview (from 2014):
Recently almost impassable due to downed trees and overgrowth, the past two seasons have seen extensive trail work in this area. It has been cleared of numerous downed trees, and extensive brushing and tread work has also taken place since 2013. A very short ascent from the trailhead will take you past excellent views south and east into the heart of the northernmost section of Sequoia National Forest. After a quick mile or so you drop into the Evans Grove of Giant Sequoias. Continuing on about a ½ mile you will pass two old signposts (signs long gone) at junctions that lead west into the heart of Evans Grove. Immediately after the second one, you will arrive at the new Monarch Wilderness boundary sign. Beyond the boundary a very sharp descent begins that takes you straight down the canyon to Boulder Creek. See if you can spot several other Giant Sequoia Groves (Agnew, Deer Meadow, Kennedy) east and south across the valley. The total hike is a short 3.5 miles in distance, but very strenuous particularly when climbing out of the canyon with a full pack - it’s over a 2,500 foot elevation change in about a mile. A couple of campsites (far too) close to the creek offer the only flat ground for overnight camping. Please be very conscientous about the Leave No Trace ethics being this close to water.

This difficult hike, however, is a botanist’s delight because with the drop into the canyon, you will pass through almost every Sierra altitude range after leaving the trailhead at Kennedy Meadow. It is also the only hike in the Monarch or Jennie Lakes Wilderness where you pass directly through a Sequoia Grove. Enjoy White and Red Firs, Jeffrey and Ponderosa Pines, Sugar Pines, Incense Cedars, and Grandpa Sequoia along the higher elevations. Follow the marking on either of the two signposts you pass in Evans Grove and head west into the heart of the grove for an excellent day hike among the Giants. As you descend into the canyon you will pass Black and Live Oak, the rare Single Leaf Pinyon Pine, Mountain Mahogany, Yucca, and Quaking Aspen. In the heart of Summer, abundant wildflowers also blossom in the canyon. The hike will be further rewarded when you arrive at the always flowing Boulder Creek, one of the best water sources and swimming areas in either of our Wildernesses. Fill up your water here!

Some tread and water bar issues remain on the steep slopes of the trail and it can be quite exhausting. Bring plenty of water and pace yourself as you descend and ascend. But the trail is now much more easily passable and you are generally assured of complete solitude (minus an occasional black bear!)

Note: after the creek and the old washed out bridge (going east up towards the Deer Meadow Trail) the trail basically disappears due to the Sheep Fire several years ago and is not passable. We recommend that you do not venture far past the creek. There was also additonal damage in this area from the Rough Fire.

Day Hiking

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

This area offers an excellent day hike through Evans Giant Sequoia Grove. An easy loop from the Kennedy Meadow trailhead, you can spend the afternoon exploring the un-logged eastern section of the grove. Further to the west there was extensive logging and you can even see the old abandoned railroad bed that was going to bring the railroad to the east end of the grove. Once you enter the grove on the Kanawyer Trail, look for the unmarked junctions that will take you west into the heart of the grove and eventually connect you to the old road.

For longer hikes into the canyon, only very experienced and strong hikers should attempt to get down to Boulder Creek and back in a day. Though not far distance-wise, it is a very strenuous hike coming out of the canyon and can take hours with a full pack. Bring plenty of water.

Also nearby, though not in wilderness areas, are the Kennedy and Little Boulder groves of Giant Sequoias, both easily accessible on Forest Service roads. Due to the natural fire cycle brought by the Rough Fire into the Sequoia groves here, we expect a new batch of baby Sequoias in this area in the coming years.

Status: Temporarily closed
Best Season: Summer.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

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  Elevation : 
7,533 ft.