People head out to Paradise Creek in Sequoia National Park with one thing in mind: swimming in the relaxing pools. This easy one-mile round-trip hike leaves from the east side of Buckeye Flats Campground near site 28. The trail follows the north side of the Kaweah River along a flat track before descending to a wooden bridge. Cross the river here above a wide and mesmerizing section of the river. Continue straight ahead to meet up with the tamer Paradise Creek. The trail turns left and heads up the creek past a series of pools and cascades that offer tranquility on a hot day.
The waters of the Kaweah River are active and too violent for any relaxed swimming, but the Paradise Creek tributary is calm and perfect for a soothing dip. Plenty of enjoyment can be found in the pools along Paradise Creek. There are wildflowers along the creek and this is a fun area to explore and enjoy.
For hikers whose goal is not just to relax in paradise, the trail continues up the canyon faintly for another two miles before fizzling out.
Poppies along Paradise Creek
The catch: There is no day parking at the trailhead. Therefore, those not camping at Buckeye Flats, will have hike in from Hospital Rock, adding 1.2 miles to the round-trip distance. This creates a real incentive to stay at Buckeye Flats, but one wonders why the parks would omit this courtesy.
To get to the trailhead: From Southern California, take the 5 North to the 99 North. After 96 miles, take the 198 East toward Visalia. The 198 leads right to the park, where it becomes the Generals Highway. An entrance fee is charged to access the park. Six miles into the park, turn right at Hospital Rock, and head east 0.6 miles on a narrow paved road to Buckeye Flats Campground.
Trailhead address: Generals Highway (California 198), Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.521846, -118.76352 (36° 31′ 18.64″N 118° 45′ 48.67″W)
Use the map below to create your own directions:
This 6-mile hike follows the Middle Fork Trail to a 100 foot waterfall that drops into the Middle Fork of Kaweah River.
This 8-mile hike takes a flower-lined path up a mountain canyon to a powerful waterfall.
|More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains|
Explore other destinations in Sequoia National Park and the rest of the range.
|Natural Water Slide in Giant Sequoia National Monument|
This one mile hike visits a refreshing natural water slide on the eastern side of the Great Western Divide.
|Mill Creek in Moab, Utah|
This half-mile hike visits a swimming hole that offers refreshing escape from Utah’s summer scorchers.
|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.