Trailheads & Transportation

Primary trailheads

The termini of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route are:

These trailheads are both on the High Sierra’s western side and are separated by one intersection and a 2-hour drive on two-lane, paved, winding mountain highways. It’s also a 2-hour drive to each trailhead from the nearest city and airport, Fresno. From southern California, there is a more direct route to Lodgepole through Visalia, a smaller Central Valley city.

From the High Sierra’s east side, the route is best accessed from:

These trailheads are located 30 minutes west of the small towns of Independence and Bishop, respectively.

Secondary trailheads

There are other feasible access points on the west and east side of the Sierra, but none that are as direct. Notably:

Consider these points only if wilderness permits for the primary access points are unavailable and/or if the KCHBR comprises only a small portion of your overall itinerary.

Even if you do not access the KCHBR via these secondary points, they are worth identifying beforehand on a large-scale recreation map in the event of a self-rescue or bailout.

Transportation and trailhead permits

The Kings Canyon High Basin Route Guide includes comprehensive information about transportation options and about the permit systems in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park and surrounding National Forests.

14 Comments

  1. Roz Naylor on August 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    We are planning a trip from Mineral King trailhead to Roads End.
    Is there a shuttle service we can reserve that will take us from Roads End back to our car at Mineral King? (and is it possible to park at Mineral King?)

    Thank you!

    • Andrew Skurka on August 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      You can leave your car at Mineral King, so long as you have a dash tag from the local ranger station.

      That said, this would be a REALLY hard hitch, and I don’t know of any commercial drivers that service it. Mineral King is WAY up there.

      Honestly, I’d rethink the route.

  2. Stuart on February 24, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Do you know a way to get a ride from the Road’s End trail head to Fresno? We will be coming south on the JMT and heading out there. Thanks, Stuart

  3. Stuart on February 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you, Andrew. I was thinking about hitchhiking. I’ve done the loop once before but you;dn’t recall how many people might be leaving the trailhead (for Fresno) on a Friday afternoon, when we will be there. Any sense for that? Really appreciate your guidance!

  4. Dan Varda on July 11, 2019 at 3:44 am

    Curious about hitchhiking from Onion Valley trailhead (kearsarge) to Taboose trailhead. Was going to do a loop starting at Taboose. How hard would it be it get a ride?

  5. Ray on February 27, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Is there a private shuttle in this area, who could get me from Wolverton or Lodgepole to my car parked at Roads End ?

    • Andrew Skurka on February 28, 2022 at 9:09 am

      No, no private shuttles. You can hitchhike or you can walk (like I did in 2015, adds a day or two but makes for a good warm-up and much easier).

  6. Howard Ratzlaff on February 28, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Ray,

    Hitching is hit and miss. It is a long way from Lodgepole/Wolverton down to Roads End. For the last 10 years or so, my wife and I have been providing an unpaid service (mileage reimbursement only) to hikers into Roads End. If we drop you off at Roads End, you can leave your vehicle in Visalia and catch the shuttle down from Sequoia National Park, provided the shuttles are running this year.

  7. Howard Ratzlaff on February 28, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Ray,

    Hitching is hit and miss. It is a long way from Lodgepole/Wolverton down to Roads End. For the last 10 years or so, my wife and I have been providing an unpaid service (mileage reimbursement only) to hikers into Roads End. If we drop you off at Roads End, you can leave your vehicle in Visalia and catch the shuttle down from Sequioa National Park, provided the shuttles are running this year.

    • Andrew R on April 26, 2022 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Howard,

      My name’s Andrew R, I’m from North Carolina but I will be in the bay area early this June for a wedding. I’d love to do some hiking in this area after the wedding. I will be without a car and I’m trying to hike from Roads End to Mt. Whitney and out via Whitney Portal. I’ve found a Greyhound from the bay to Fresno or Visalia, and I found a bus out from Lone Pine (Eastern Sierra Transit Hwy 305). The only missing link is how to get from Fresno/Visalia to Roads End.

      I saw from your last comment two months ago that you and your wife have been driving hikers to Roads End. Is this something you’re still doing, and would you be available on June 5 or 6?

      I know this is a shot in the dark, but I thought it was worth it!

      With care,
      Andrew R

  8. Ray R. Moore on April 27, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    I am going to be pressed on time, so I have 2 options: North Lake to the JMT then SOBO to Onion Valley or South Lake over New Army Pass to Horseshoe Meadows ? any thoughts as to which of these routes would prove to be the most rewarding for my first Sierra visit ?

    Thanks for any opinion,
    Ray R.

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