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“Beware the Lowly Marmot!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mineral King Valley

Mineral King Valley
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
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Activities: Hiking, Backpacking
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Attraction details
Owner description: A good hiking and backpacking area.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Beware the Lowly Marmot!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

The drive in to Mineral King is great - for the passengers! For the driver, it's a constant challenge... Narrow, winding road with steep hills, parts not paved, little signage. Nothing too out of he ordinary for the region, and our little Mitsubishi Mirage rental seemed to survive the trip.

When you get to the ranger station at the end of the road, you may notice signs warning that the local marmot population likes to chew on cars. Believe it! We were tempted to ignore them, until we saw marmots under the first three parked cars we saw! Apparently the recommended defense is a large tarp wrapped around and under the car.

I'm told the marmots quit chewing on cars sometime in July or August.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Warrenville, IL
Level Contributor
158 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Monarch Lakes Trail (Sawtooth Trailhead)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

As others have stated, the road into Mineral King is narrow and winding. Most of it is one lane wide; most of it is paved. It is very slow moving and there isn't anywhere to stop on the way in. Pack a lunch before heading in. Silver City may have something, but we did not stop so I am not sure.

Once near the roads end, we started off by visiting the ranger station for an update before starting our hike. On a late Saturday morning in September, it was cold and the water pipes were frozen. The ranger did inform us to use the bear boxes for any food we would be leaving in the car - even as day hikers. There were bear boxes for use at the trail head; also present was a pit toilet with a men and woman side.

The Sawtooth trailhead was just a mile or two down from the ranger station; a lot of cars in the parking lot (the majority which were overnight backpackers). The trail was very well cut and started heading up. The steepest part was within the first mile with some steps - the remainder was a more gradual incline. The middle part of the hike was through lightly forested area creating some shade.

While our GPS did have some problems in the shade, we did clock it in a bit longer than 4.2 miles one way. We also did not go up to the upper lake for there was a snowfall the night before that had not yet melted making some of the rock icy. We saw slightly less than 30 people on the trail, only 2 other day hikers. Everyone else had been backpacking. Several people were packing up their tents from the lake when we had arrived.

We really enjoyed the hike, and kept it moving so it didn't take all day. There are nice views all along the hike, but we really enjoyed the last mile or so near the lake. For a more strenuous dayhike in the Mineral King area, we thought this was a good choice!

Also in the area, we went a mile or so in on the Atwell-Hockett Trailhead. You start out headed gradually down. In interests of time, we stopped at the bridge crossing the river - a very nice spot. After looking at the map, it seems perhaps we should have gone a bit further for this is where the Atwell grove really started. We did see a number of sequoia on this trail. The first part of the trail was fire damaged from years past. The part of this trail we had didn't have the grand views, but was more of a forest hike. We did see a buck. Bear boxes were provided at the trailhead. Parking was at the paradise ridge trail lot, and then you walked through the campground to get to the trailhead...no parking in the campground.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Unbelievable views! My favorite place in Sequoia!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

If you plan on going here be warned that you WILL spend all day just traveling to and from this place. Make sure you go REALLY early if you plan on hiking. There are active bears there so never hike alone.

The road is EXTREMELY bumpy and narrow, and will take you a good 1-2 hours of drive. But believe me, it is SO WORTH IT. If you want to be secluded, this is the place. We hiked for a good 4-5 hours to Eagle Lake but ended up turning around since the hiking was insanely long and it was too late in the day to hike safely. Surprisingly there was someone missing in the area we were hiking and the next day they ended up finding a body. It was on the news. Sad.

We enjoyed the views so much that we stopped many times to take pictures and just listen to the beautiful sound of silence and wind/birds. SO SO loved it here. It reminded me of Germany.

Big warning about marmots who like to chew on engine wires. Cover your cars bottom! Bring food also since there really are no places to eat here and the food that is by Silver City is extremely expensive. $10 sandwitches? Sheesh.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, Virginia
Level Contributor
381 reviews
271 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 248 helpful votes
“Worth The Drive!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

It is only 30 miles but it WILL take you about 1.5 hours to get to the end. The road is narrow, often less than 2 lanes in spots, blind turns, drop offs, bumpy, etc but once you get to the end it will be worth it! The views are incredible and we hiked along the stream for a bit. Fresh air, no crowds, just a great place to be. There aren't services s be sure you have your own food and drink and plenty of gas.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Visalia, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great place to start a hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

Long curvy road to get there. Not much as for services. Go here if you have a backpack and food. No real good picnic areas. Mainly a parking lot that serves as a trailhead. If you are willing to take a hike, day hike or overnight you will see alpine country that is hard to see without a long hike. Since you start at over 7,000 feet everything is alpine. Beautiful country, high mountain views, thin air.

Visited August 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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