Hockett Trail Sequoia

Campers at Atwell Mill in the Mineral King region of Sequoia National Park are in a perfect position to take a stroll down Hockett Trail. This forest path descends southeast for 1.25 miles to a footbridge that crosses the East Fork of the Kaweah River. Along the way, the trail passes pines, firs, incense cedars, and the occasional Giant Sequoia.

Hockett Trail continues far beyond the bridge, passing through the East Fork Sequoia Grove after another mile. Here the giant sequoias remain well preserved, having the good fortune to avoid the nineteenth century lumberjacks who left behind all the stumps at Atwell Mill.

Hockett Trail Sequoia
Hockett Trail

Those not staying at the Atwell Mill can park in the lot on the east side of the campground. The trailhead is located near campsite 16, where bear boxes are provided. The hike to the East Grove is 4.5 miles round trip. Backpackers can venture even further up the trail to more remote corners of Mineral King. A wilderness permit is required for all overnight treks, and subject to trail quotas, but no permit is needed for day hikes in Mineral King.

Humans aren’t the only creatures who enjoy Hockett Trail. Apparently, this is a also good place to see bear cubs in the early morning, which is why the photos stop halfway down the trail. Rather than get in between a mother and her young cub, I backtracked to Atwell Mill. The bridge and grove will have to wait for another trip to beautiful Mineral King.

Hockett Trail Sequoia
Old mill equipment and a Sequoia stump

To get to the trailhead: From the city of Three Rivers, head southwest on Mineral King Road to Atwell Mill Campground. Mineral King Road is steep, narrow, and twisty, with blind curves that demand patient driving. The 19-mile climb to Atwell Mill can easily take an hour, so factor this into your drive time. The trail starts from the campground.

Trailhead address: Mineral King Road, Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271
Trailhead coordinates: 36.464238, -118.669018 (36° 27′ 51.25″N 118° 40′ 08.46″W)

Use the map below to create your own directions:


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Photos

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These photos were taken in September of 2009. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
hiking trails sequoiaMonarch Lakes Trail
This 9.4-mile hike visits a spectacular pair of lakes high above Mineral King Valley.
hiking trails sequoiaEagle Lake Trail
The robust 7.2-mile hike climbs 2,200 feet to an alpine lake overlooking Mineral King.
hiking trails sequoiaMore trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Explore other destinations in Sequoia National Park and the rest of the range.
Camping
Sequoia Campgrounds Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Campgrounds
There are 14 campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit (including Atwell Mill Campground and Cold Springs Campground in Mineral King).
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Distance: 2.5 miles – Elevation change: 500 feet

2 Comments on Hockett Trail in Sequoia National Park

  1. stephen newkirk says:

    Last summer I went to Atwell Mill Campground. I hiked on the trail that took me to a bridge and a waterfall. It was beautiful. After the hike I was sitting in my camping chair at the campground having a beer when I heard twigs snapping. I looked to my right and about 40 feet away I saw a big brown bear walking. It went up a mountain. I was a little nervous. But it was exciting!

  2. JD says:

    Just an FYI for anyone else that reads the above comment: “Brown bears” — if one is referring to the species, which includes grizzlies — are not found in Sequoia or Kings Canyon, or anywhere in California. There are, however, plenty of “Black bears” that are brown in color. Just thought folks would want to know — encountering black bears is really common in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, but they are also routinely chased away by banging pots and pans (as long as they DO NOT YET HAVE YOUR FOOD). Brown bears (i.e., grizzly) are an ENTIRELY different story.

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