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“Fantastic Scenery” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mineral King Road

Mineral King Road
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
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Type: Scenic drives, Sights & Landmarks, Outdoor Activities
Activities: Driving
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Attraction details
Owner description: A challenging scenic road.
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Fantastic Scenery”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

The brochure I read states that this road has 698 tight turns. I think it is correct. The road ends in a valley surrounded by mountains. There are plenty of hikes that go up to gorgeous mountain lakes & waterfalls. A few miles before the end of the road is Silver City, where you can grab a bite to eat.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Dirt road all the way!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

Love the hike at White Chief but if you are out of shape, DO NOT attempt the hike. Make sure you are acclimated to the altitude for a night or two before hiking so you don't get altitude sickness (nausea, vomiting => brain swelling). Take your time and enjoy. Marmots may chew on your radiator hose so park your car a mile down the road from the hike and hoof it up. If not, get chicken wires and wrap it around your car. Don't let these cute friendly creatures deter you from hiking this Swiss Alps look alike beauty.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fremont, CA
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Drive for those who want to do some adventure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

It is a nice 25-mile long scenic drive, narrow in some places but wide enough in most places to allow an oncoming vehicle. It is easier if you are in the range of 15-20 mph. If you are coming back from the King's canyon/Sequoia, then the scenery is not extraordinary as you would have seen similar or better already but still worth the drive. We went for about 11 miles or so where the county maintained road ended and then turned back. While going, saw a small King snake resting on the road but some vehicle had smashed its head when we were coming back. Several cars had passed by without problem; some of them looked like local residents as there are houses along the road.

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Marmots and road facts & comparisons”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2012

MARMOTS: there is no concern about marmots chewing car engine hoses except in early summer. You can ask a ranger to confirm this, as I did.


Although the road is only one lane wide in a few spots, if you go no faster than 15-20 miles per hour, stay on your side of the road, and look ahead to see cars coming, chances are there will be a turnout where you can stop and wait for them to go by.

My husband drove our 4Runner up to Atwell Mill Campground on Friday, September 16, 2011 around 1:30-2:30 p.m. We never had to back up to let another car go by. We encountered maybe six cars coming down, either at wide enough spots or we could see each other soon enough for one or the other car to wait in a wide spot.

The 23-site (or is it 24?) campground had only about four-five sites occupied on Friday night, only two on Saturday night, and between Saturday and Sunday we saw only a few sluggish mosquitoes, seven deer (strolling through the campground) and four bears (two strolling separately through the campground, one running away from the trail, one crossing the Mineral King Road)!

When you start going up Mineral King Road, the road is essentially never straight. It constantly turns right or left. The driver must constantly be turning the steering wheel, right, more to the right, more to the right, left, more, more, right, left, right, left, etc.

The road width varies between two narrow lanes and one narrow lane, every few breaths. It gets wider between the National Park entrance and Atwell Mill Campground.

Visibility varies from seeing the road a few hundred yards ahead, to blind, one-lane curves around steep rocks. After one such turn, we found a cow standing on the road's right edge, against the cliff, grazing.

Although there are no guard rails, the edge of the road is never precipitous. There are often grasses, bushes, and trees along the road's edge that make it look even less steep. See photos.

To see how the road never goes up or down steeply, see photos.

If I had to drive on this road, I would likely go at 15 (not 20) miles per hour, so it would take me more than an hour, therefore the challenge for me would be to maintain such intense alertness and precise responsiveness for that long.

On Sunday we drove on (up) to Silver City and the campground beyond. The road was narrower more of the time. On the way down to the bottom of Mineral King Road, we encountered about three bikers pedaling up.


- Compared to road #30 (Honoapiilani Highway to the west, Kahekili Highway to the east) around the northwest coast of Maui, Mineral Kind Road is easier because it lacks sections that are simultaneously narrow, steep, and long--especially when you have to back all the way down a long, steep, one-lane slope to let a pick-up truck go by!

- Compared to Road 612 to Bjargtangar, the westernmost point in Iceland (and Europe), Mineral King Road is much easier. Road 612 in Iceland doesn't have steep grades, but it is narrow, unpaved, loose gravel, along a steeper cliffside, half-way between ocean and sky. Driving west requires driving along the ocean side of the road, with locals barreling down the other way. I drove an SUV out that way and was scared the whole time--thank goodness it didn't take very long!

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, New Jersey
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Scary road that's worth the drive!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

We didn't really know what to expect, except a lot of turns. It's scary, it takes a long time, and probably isn't worth it if you don't intend to hike, but did we have fun! I drove the way up, my husband drove the way down. Expect to want a drink once you return to the bottom. Expect to be scared most of the way. You will see cattle. You will see locals driving at what you think are Nascar speeds (when we hit 8 mph we thought we were too fast...) The scenary is incredible, and the experience was worth every minute!

Visited June 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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