Three Rivers Cabin + Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
1 Cabin and 2 National Parks in 3 Rivers
For the second leg of our joint 30th birthday celebration, my boyfriend and I headed to Three Rivers, CA. We stayed at a cabin on a large ranch in Three Rivers - a small town along the Kaweah River right outside of Sequoia National Park.
The ranch is 380 acres and (this is straight from the listing) along more than a mile of river. There are several rentals on the ranch, two private swimming holes, multiple ponds (two are swimmable), and view for dayyyys.
Airbnb Rating: 4.91
My Rating: 491,000
Location - Three Rivers, CA - about 3 hours & 40 minutes Southeast from the Bay.
2 beds, 1 bath, AND a washer/dryer.
Cost - $195/night.
It was 100 degree in July, which is standard, but the place has A/C.
I know I said this before, but there are TWO PRIVATE SWIMMING HOLES and a few ponds (one for fishing only).
no cell service or WiFI on the property - prepare for this!
More Not-so-quick Facts:
The listing says you can hike to a waterfall, so we tried it. We ended up hiking on the property for about 2 hours and getting lost, but I'm almost positive there is no waterfall in the summer. There's literally no way in that heat and lack of rain a waterfall could exist. The hike is still worth it for the beautiful property.
You can see many mountains of Sequoia National Park from the ranch.
The swimming holes are PARADISE. They are walking or driving distance (depending on your heat tolerance). There were other people staying on the property but we had the swimming to ourselves on two separate days. The water is a perfect temperature and there are little sandy beaches too.
Tip - regardless of your plans, set aside at least a day just to dedicate to exploring the ranch. Especially in the summer, you really don't need anything else.
If I had to complain about one thing it would be:
The ponds were a lil' dry because of drought, which is no ones fault but I'd love to see them after rainy season. There were also a few bebe ants in our cabin - to be expected due to insane heat wave and lots of outdoor exploration and definitely not a deal breaker.
If you're feeling the ranch but not the cabin itself, check out these other rentals on the ranch (all around the same price):
Mountain View Loft (private dock on a pond and a rowboat).
now moving on to part two...
Super Quick & Easy Mini Guide to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia National Park
Three Rivers is just 10 minutes from the main entrance to Sequoia National Park. Even during Covid, lines for the entrance can get really long especially on weekends and holidays, so either go early or be prepared to wait for a bit with some jams and some food.
Why do people care about Sequoia NP?
It is home to the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on earth (by volume). In addition to Sherman, there are many more of the tallest and oldest trees in this. Sequoia & Kings Canyon also occupy more acres than Yosemite but have much smaller crowd. AND a lot of the park is wild back-country, perfect if you wanna get out there and get lost in nature. $35 entry fee (or free with NP Annual Pass, highly recommend)
Where to stay:
Three Rivers is obviously #1 choice, but Visalia is also a good jumping off town nearby. Set aside 2 days minimum, 4 days ideally to explore both parks.
Two of the best hikes:
The Congress Trail - 3 miles, easy. This trail takes you by the very famous and popular General Sherman Tree - the largest on earth. This tree is huge and sick aaand pretty crowded. The Congress Trail is great because you can check out Sherman and then keep going to see more huge, incredible trees. After Sherman, we saw far less people and were left alone for long stretches of the hike. We also saw a deer very, very up close!
Moro Rock - YOU MUST DO THIS HIKE (unless you're scared of heights, but hey, face your fears.) 0.5 miles, moderate-strenuous This trail is short, but because it's entirely uphill at high elevation, it's not easy. The hike takes you along a narrow staircase carved out of the massive granite dome. There are 400 steps to the top, and once you get there, you get views of everything in the land. You can see the peaks of Sierra Nevada, canyons of the Great Western Divide, and everything in between. I cannot recommend it enough.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon is about 1.5 hours from Three Rivers. You can either drive through Sequoia NP back-country to get there or the highway.
Why do people care about Kings Canyon NP?
I'd honestly barely heard about this park and it BLEW ME AWAY. The question should be, why don't MORE people care about Kings Canyon? If you're on the West Coast, you have to make it a priority to get out there.
How to spend one day at the park:
If you don'take the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, you're not really seeing the park. It's 30 miles of road carved into the canyon with unrivaled views. If you're one to get car sick, don't worry - the roads at Sequoia are actually much windier than Kings Canyon. The drive takes an hour, starting at Grants Grove (near the entrance to the park) and ending at Roads End. I've been to Yosemite and I would argue that these views are at least on par with those of Yosemite.
Crescent Meadow Loop Trail - 1.7 miles, easy Because the Byway takes quite a chunk of the day, you may only have time for one or two short hikes. We took on Crescent Meadow Loop, part of which was closed due to flooding but was stunning nonetheless. The views have been compared to that of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, which I'd say is accurate. We only saw one other couple on this entire hike, and if you extend the trail to Road's End and take your time for detours, it's more like 3 miles.
Last minute question:
Are there longer/more strenuous hikes in the parks? Yes, of course, but with limited time you're probably better off hitting a few small ones rather than one big one. We heard a lot about Mist Falls Trail at Kings Canyon - an 8.7 mile, moderately rated trail. It supposedly gives you a lot of the highlights and more, but the day before we were researching on AllTrails, and reading some of the most recent reviews we learned a few things you should be aware of in the summer.
Multiple bear sightings. And not the fun kind - the "that bear is too close to me" kind.
Multiple rattle snake sightings, also the dangerous kind. no.
Scorching heat in the afternoon - no shade, strong sun, temps nearing 100.
What's your favorite song on Folklore? I'm so glad you asked, I think right now I'm tied between the1 and cardigan, but really, are any of them bad?