in Sequoia National Park
People head out to Paradise Creek in Sequoia National Park with one thing in mind: swimming in the relaxing pools. This easy 0.5-mile round trip hike leaves from the east side of Buckeye Flat 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.
Wildflowers pop up along the creek in late spring. Paradise Creek is a fun area to explore. For hikers who want to do more than just relax in paradise, the trail continues up the canyon faintly for another two miles before fizzling out.
The catch: The trailhead does not have day use parking. Therefore, those not camping at Buckeye Flat, 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 Flat, 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 Flat Campground.
Trailhead address: Generals Highway (California 198), Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.52185, -118.76352 (36° 31′ 18.64″N 118° 45′ 48.67″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Sierra Nevada trails and campgrounds.
|Panther Creek |
This 6-mile hike follows the Middle Fork Trail to a 100 foot waterfall that drops into the Middle Fork of Kaweah River.
|Marble Falls |
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 1.5-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 |
Fourteen campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites are spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
We took the Paradise Creek Trail on 9 March 2013. It was a bright a pretty day, with blue skies, lots of sun, and cool temperatures. We parked at Hospital Rock as Buckeye camp ground was not open yet. You follow a trail that runs between the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River and the much smaller Paradise Creek. It is a very shaded trail making it a cool hike. Going this early in the year, not all the trees and bushes had their leaves. The oaks and buckeye trees did not have their leaves but the conifer trees did. Most of the trail is very well marked a visible, but a couple of times deep in the trail, when it dropped close to the creek, it was hard to follow. It helped that a lot of the plants did not have their leaves yet. Without the obstruction of the leave, we found the trail farther ahead and up from the creek ten yards or so. When I do go back again I was thinking of bringing a small set of cutters to show the path better in this area. Much or the trail is high above Paradise Creek, and when the trees part you have wonderful view of Moro Rock and Sequoia Nation Park. The farther in you go on the trail, the closer the trail runs close to the creek. There are small pools and smooth rocky areas you can rest on. The water was very low this year, and there were not as many pools as might be there in a good water year. Almost at the end of the trail, the area becomes near the creek and very overgrown creating lots of moss growing over rocks and trees. It was beautiful and interesting to see. We hiked in about 2.5 miles from Hospital Rock, then returned the same way we came to make it a five mile hike. It was an easy hike. The hardest part was the road from Hospital Rock to the Buckeye Campground. I would recommend this hike to anyone wanting to spend some time in nature. One interesting tip about the hike, you will climb just high enough to leave the oak trees and start getting into the pine trees.
Wondering if there is ANY water in Paradise Creek this time right now (late June, 2015)
Hi! Are we allowed to swim?
Any time there is water one is allowed to swim. Heads up; water levels change according to rain levels and time of the year. The foothills of the park will usually have swimable areas all summer – too dangerous most of the year.
How cold is the water?
We are going next week- July 30th 2021