Camping · Trip Report

Western Sierra: Mineral King

In July 2017, we spent ten days in the Western Sierras, visiting Mineral King in Seqouia National Park, Lake Thomas Edison,  and Granite Creeke in Sierra National Forest. Our trip was full of rough roads and beautiful views, and this series is a journal of our experiences. 

A neat old bridge on Mineral King Road

We began our trip with a visit to the Mineral King area of Seqouia. We picked up Mineral King Road just beyond the town of Three Rivers (also our last stop for gas). The road is extremely windy and rather narrow, with just enough room for two cars to pass in most sections. 

We felt lucky to get a spot so late in the day in Cold Springs campground, which sits right along picturesque Kaweah River. It includes river front sites as well as walk-in sites for backpackers. The Mineral King area is popular with backpackers with its high elevation trailheads and quick access to the alpine zone. 

Improvised baby cage

We were hoping that there would be some neat dispersed camping in the area, but we learned from the ranger that there is no dispersed camping allowed in the national park (understandable). We also took a look at the Atwell Mill campground- the site of a Sequoia logging operation. The campground is filled with giant Sequoia stumps and a historic cabin from the logging days. It was a somewhat damp campground so we opted for Cold Springs with its rushing river and subalpine flowers.

We stayed two nights in Cold Springs while getting everyone into the routine of camping. It can often take us a few nights for everyone to get used to sleeping in the tent and sleeping bags again, and Sage especially had some adjusting to do with her nightly nursing routine. The kids enjoyed playing on rocks in the campground, and we had a nice campfire. 

Our second evening there I took Sage on a walk on the nature trail that starts in Cold Springs which follows the creek up to the main trailheads. It was filled with wildflowers and I saw deer and marmots.

 I would love to return to Mineral King for the backpacking again but it didn’t have the short hikes or good swimming spots that we were hoping for on this trip. After two nights we were back into routine, and we decided to head north to our next destination, Lake Thomas Edison.


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