The termini of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route are:
- Lodgepole, where there is a park visitor center, campground, and other services; and,
- Road’s End, a lone wilderness permit issuing station 6 miles east of Cedar Grove.
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:
- Onion Valley via Kearsarge Pass, or
- South Lake via Bishop Pass Trail
These trailheads are located 30 minutes west of the small towns of Independence and Bishop, respectively.
There are other feasible access points on the west and east side of the Sierra, but none that are as direct. Notably:
- To the south, Mineral King,
- On the east side, Shepherd Pass, Baxter Pass, Sawmill Pass, and Taboose Pass; and,
- On the northwest, Courtright Reservoir
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.
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?)
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.
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
There’s no public transit to Road’s End. You’ll have to hitch out of there, or somehow arrange for a private shuttle.
If you can hitch to Lodgepole (2 hrs from Road’s End), you can use the free park shuttle to get to the Giant Forest Museum, and then take a commercial shuttle to Visalia, from where there are some public transit options to Fresno. It’d be much faster to hitch straight to Fresno — it’s 2 hours from Road’s End to the airport.
The park website has some more info, https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/directions.htm
We help shuttle To/From Roads End (Kanawyers,CA). Check on Fresno.craigslist
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!
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?
Is there a private shuttle in this area, who could get me from Wolverton or Lodgepole to my car parked at Roads End ?
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).
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.
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.
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!
I just saw this. Yes we are still doing this. See our post on CL https://fresno.craigslist.org/rid/d/trail-angels-ride-to-roads-end-kings/7480979932.html
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,