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.
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 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.