Mineral King: Franklin Lakes to Sawtooth Loop
Great Western Divide - Sequoia National Park
- 3 Days & 2Nights
- 30.25 Miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: +/-8375 Feet
- Highest Elevation: 11710 Feet
- Lowest Elevation: 7820 Feet
|27 Mile Loop|
|Friday Morning in Ventura: 53 Pound Pack|
|Lake off of the 198 heading towards Sequoia|
From The Los Angeles Area, take I-5 North to the 99 North. Go past Bakersfield and exit East on the 198 through Visalia. Continue on 198 through Three Rivers and then look for Mineral King Road on your right. If you reach the official entrance to Sequoia National Park then you went too far. Drive up the long windy Mineral King Road all the way to the end. The Franklin Trailhead Parking area is 24.2 miles. This will take you over an hour from the 198 turn off.
I did not notice the "Pay Park" sign which is 11 miles up the road. You can easily pass this stop. I figured that I was heading all the way up so why bother stopping here? Well, the ticket on my car when I returned on Sunday answered this question...
|98 Degrees at the bottom. It cooled off to 87 degrees when I began the hike|
|Looking over the Kaweah River Bridge|
|The Kaweah River Bridge built in 1923|
|Passing Sequoia Trees on the way up|
|Mineral King Ranger Station: Elevation 9580 Feet|
At the ranger station I purchased a map for $9.95 and picked up a heavy bear canister to rent for $5.00. What a bulky pain this was to lug around on my backpacking trip. I secured my permit for $15.00 to legitimately hike through the area. It would have been nice for the Ranger to advise that I needed a parking pass too!
|Franklin Trailhead Parking|
Beware of Marmots. Typically they are known to invade the parking areas in the spring and early summer. As you can see some cars have tarps and chicken wire wrapped around them. I took my chances and everything turned out okay.
|Eagle - Mosquito Trailhead|
|Farewell Gap - Franklin Lakes Trailhead: 7820 Feet|
|Head South on the Franklin Trailhead|