Now that we had purchased our trail map (we got a booklet* that described and rated day hikes in the area) we were ready to give one a go. So we picked the 3.8 mile (there and back) “easy” hike to see the waterfall in Tokopah Valley.
This hike begins inside the Lodgepole Campground and goes along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.
So of course, this trail was highly popular (and populated) but not crowded at all. I love hikes that are all uphill at first because that means all downhill on the way back.
This was a truly beautiful hike. We love walking alongside water anyhow, and the shade and the wildflowers were great.
We went from an elevation of 6,340’ at the parking lot to 7,290’ at the end of the trail, so it wasn’t too strenuous – not that I wasn’t huffing and puffing!
We didn’t start super early, so there were already people coming back as we were hiking up. When we passed one group of several women, Tom called out “Hi Barbara!”. Turns out he recognized one of the women that he was friends with from high school and follows on Facebook. How he spotted her in that group is beyond me – my head was down watching my feet! But it was pretty neat to see someone he knew. We had a nice break while they did some catching up.
When we got to the falls at the end of the trail, there were signs saying continue at your own risk. Of course there were people that had scrambled down to the swimming hole at the bottom of the falls, but we chose to climb down an perch on a rock for a while watching the others and enjoying the beauty of the (rather large) waterfall.
As we were leaving all cameras were focused on a critter venturing out of the rocks. Turns out it was a marmot – my first sighting. Tom had seed one the night before.
The trip down was leisurely and we stopped at a spot on the river to have a snack. There were only a few people and it was really beautiful. We were lucky to see this in a good water year (as in not during the drought years).
Again I’m reminded of how close this was to where we lived before. It could have been a lovely day trip. We just never found the time. I’m glad we are now, but to anyone who’s reading this that lives a couple of hours away from Lodgepole….just do it! And if you’re not close to Lodgepole, I’m sure there is beauty nearby just waiting to be enjoyed….life is short – just do it!
Peace & Love, Joy
* A Falcon Guide by Laurel Scheidt entitled “Best Easy Day Hikes – Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks”