Buena Vista Peak

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Buena Vista Peak is a glacially polished granite dome at 7,605 feet above sea level.  It sits immediately east of Redwood Canyon in Kings Canyon National Park, and has excellent 360 degree views of Big Baldy, Buck Rock, Redwood Canyon, the San Joaquin Valley, and the high Sierra.

The trail to the top is approximately 1 mile long (one way) with a gentle 450 foot elevation gain.  The trailhead is is located across the road from the Kings Canyon Overlook. Something I found really fascinating is the number of large glacial erraticsalong the trail and at the top of the peak. It is a nice, easy trail with lots of views along the way. This first time I explored this area I actually lost the trail because I was distracted by the incredible vistas. The trail turned left just as I saw something interesting to the right. Barring the distractions, it is an easy trail to follow. The broad top of the peak is a nice place to relax and take in the surrounding views.

The Buena Vista Peak Trailhead is about 6 miles from the Grant Grove Visitor Center. From Grant Grove, drive south on the Generals Highway. About 100 yards south of the Kings Canyon Overlook will be a dirt parking area on the West side of the road (righthand side when travelling south). A small sign notes the trailhead.
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   Redwood Canyon

The sign along Highway 198 (Genreals Highway) marking the trailhead . The parking area is unpaved and can maybe hold  half a dozen cars. Across the road and tot he northeast is the Kings Canyon Overlook with more parking.

Some of the dozens of glacial erratics scattered along the trail to the top of the peak.

I think glacial erractics are really interesting. They are large rocks picked up by a glacier and then dumped somewhere else. I've seen them range from the size of a grocery cart up to a small house. I found this huge one precariously perched on top of some smaller rocks .

From the top of Buena Vista Peak in Kings Canyon NP I could see Tehipite Valley. The Middle Fork of the Kings River flows through this valley and it is said that it rivals Yosemite Valley in beauty. However, no roads even get close to it. Only trails enter the valley and it is a long, hard hike to get to this place deep in the Sierra wilderness. I may never visit this place in person so I cherish any chance I get to see it from afar.

This is the top of Buena Vista Peak in Kings Canyon NP. It was a nice hike up to the top (a little over a mile with about 450 ft elevation gain). The summit is surrounded by huge glacial erratics (round boulders) and it reminded me slightly of stonehenge. The peak has a 360 degree view that includes Redwood Canyon, the San Joaquin Valley, Big Baldy, the Buck Rock lookout tower, Kings Canyon, Tehipite Valley, and glimpses of the high Sierra crest.

I found this tree near the top of Buena Vista Peak. The environment up here can get pretty harsh in the winter. It has taken a beating, but still seems to thrive.

A glacial erratic on top of Buena Vista Peak.

More erractics at the peak.

A view of Redwood Canyon, the largest redwood grove in the world, from the top of Buena Vista Peak. Redwood Canyon is also the home of the longest cave in California (Lilburn Cave).

Buena Vista Peak in Kings Canyon NP as seen from a vista point north of the peak on Highway 198 (The General's Highway).

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Last Updated: 7/8/2012