Sequoia National Park is located in the eastern half of California. The closest town to the main entrance is located in Three Rivers.
Sequoia is known for the giant redwood trees that inhabit this area of the state. It is also connected with Kings Canyon National Park on the north side, and is only a few hours away from Yosemite National Park.
Tokopah Falls Trailhead
The hike we did was to Tokopah Falls – a 4 mile up and back trail that follows the river and winds through beautiful forests. It’s a gorgeous walk any time of year but is best explored from late spring through late fall.
The trailhead is located near the entrance to the Lodgepole campground, and restrooms are available. The walk is popular (and for good reason), so if you want to avoid the crowds I’d recommend arriving before 8:30am or after 4:00pm.
Also, please note there is a fee if you’re not a National Parks pass holder to enter the park.
Address: Lodgepole Road, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
GPS coordinates: 36.6048, -118.7249 (36° 36′ 17.3″N 118° 43′ 29.6″W)
This is a hike that most anyone can do, even with an ~600 ft elevation gain, as it is rather gradual over the course of about 1.7 miles.
In terms of footwear, I’d recommend wearing your hiking boots. And, unfortunately, as animals aren’t permitted on the trail, Fido will have to sit this one out.
We did this hike in just under 2 hours. The views are amazing and you’ll hear the sound of the water through almost the entire walk.
The Tokopah Falls trail runs east along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. You’ll see impressively tall pines, forest meadows, a few creeks, and one rather magnificent view to the south: Watchtower Peak, which stand 1,600 feet above the Tokopah Valley.
Tokopah Falls is a 1,200 ft / 370m cascading waterfall formed as the Kaweah River’s Marble Fork tumbles down a massive granite headwall.
The falls flow most powerfully when the snow melts during the late spring. They have been known to slow markedly by fall, especially if the area doesn’t receive much snow the winter before, but it’s rare that the flow isn’t a site to behold.
The views are impressive and the rock formations of California’s Sierra Nevada range are awe inspiring.
Before you return from whence you came, be sure to take some time at the top to sit amongst the rocks and enjoy the true power of nature.
The walk down through the forest is equally enjoyable, and we found quite a bit of tranquility in it after the rush of the falls. The area is partially shaded thanks to the tall trees surrounding the trail, and that brings its own perks to the journey.
The Kaweah River calms by this point, and although the sound of the Falls remains in the background, there’s a certain peace down below.
As you sit and enjoy the calm of the waters, you never know who may join you. A Yellow-Bellied Marmot played peek-a-boo between the rocks, delighting us all.
The same can be said of this highly recommended walk, which we will happily do again.