On Friday, our fourth and final full day in the parks, we had a full day scheduled. First, it was back to Lodgepole to hike to Tokopah Falls, then back to the Giant Forest to see the General Sherman Tree (the largest tree by volume in the world) and hike the Congress Trail. Later in the afternoon we were scheduled to tour Crystal Cave. And finally, if time permitted, we’d visit Moro Rock.
Lodgepole has a very large year-round campground and we drove through most of it as we searched for the trail head for Tokopah Falls. The trail to the falls is about 2 miles with a little bit of a climb. Bugs were not quite as bad as earlier in the week. You are hiking alongsisde the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. At 1200 feet, Tokopah Falls is the highest falls in the park and one of the highest falls in California (outside Yosemite). As you approach the falls the trail becomes mostly granite rocks, and that makes it a bit tricky. Yellow Bellied Marmots are said to live in these rocks near the falls, but we didn’t see any. And unfortunately for us, we didn’t see the falls either. Mid September was too late in the year to see any falls or cascades, at least it was this year. You can see where the cascades and falls would be, and some of the rock faces were wet, but no falls on this day. If you go online you can see pictures taken in the spring. (more…)