On a hot summer day in the Sierra, what could be better than a cool water slide? Answer: a natural water slide. Fortunately, Giant Sequoia National Monument is nice enough to offer one. However, you wouldn’t know it from the park literature. Nature’s slip-n-slide goes unmentioned in handouts and websites. For that reason, many visitors miss out on this unadvertised attraction.
North of the town of Johnsondale, a remote creek flows over a smooth granite slab. At the bottom of the rock is a small pool where sliders are dumped off, punctuating a recreational ride down the creek with a refreshing exclamation point. The water slide is farther off the Western Divide Highway than other attractions in Giant Sequoia National Monument (like Trail of 100 Giants, Needles Lookout, and Dome Rock), but the mirth is worth the drive.
Hiking to the Natural Water Slide
Start from a parking area on Lloyd Meadow Road (Forest Route 22S82). Hike up a dirt fire road (Route 22S90) leading uphill from the left (west) side of the road. Hike up the fire road for 3/4 of a mile, overlooking the drainage of Dry Meadow Creek. The views are remote, rugged, and lovely.
As the road rounds a bend to the left, Alder Creek becomes visible below the right side of the road. The creek pours down a stretch of exposed bedrock. Alder Creek joins Dry Meadow Creek just below the natural water slide. Leave the trail here and take a path down to the creek. Get ready for some of the most fun you can have in Giant Sequoia National Monument.
Using the natural water slide
Start from a standing position at the top of the chute. Take a few steps to get going and then sit down on the slick moss-covered rock. Your momentum and the force of the water will push you down the slide. Lie back like a pencil or paddle with your hands to accelerate. As a variation, you can also go down “superman style.” Have fun and be safe.
Because water conditions change, the creek could get too dry to use as a water slide. Alternatively, the flow in the creek could get too strong and become dangerous for people to enter. Exercise caution. Your safety is your responsibility.
Unlike a man-made water park, this natural water slide in Giant Sequoia National Monument (within Sequoia National Forest) is free to visit! No entry fee is changed and permits are not required to hike to the water slide, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the waterslide: From the intersection of Western Divide Highway and Parker Pass Road (2.6 miles south of Trail of 100 Giants), head east on Parker Pass Road. After 6.5 miles, turn north on Lloyd Meadow Road (Forest Route 22S82) and take that road for 5.7 miles to a parking area on the right side of the road. A dirt fire road (Route 22S90) leads uphill to the left. Park where it is permitted and hike up the fire road to the water slide.
Trailhead address: Forest Route 22S82, Sequoia National Forest, Springville, CA 93208
Trailhead coordinates: 36.02745, -118.5153 (36° 01′ 38.8″N 118° 30′ 55.1″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Sierra Nevada trails and campgrounds.
|Needles Lookout |
This 5-mile hike visits a fire tower with unbeatable views of the region.
|Dome Rock |
This short hike just off Western Divide Highway provides a great view of the valley below.
|Trail of 100 Giants |
This paved 0.5 to 1.3-mile loop explores a grove of giant sequoias alongside Western Divide Highway.
|More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains |
Explore other destinations in the Sierra including Sequoia National Park.
|Paradise Creek in Sequoia National Park |
This short stroll leaves Buckeye Flat Campground to visit the perfect swimming hole for a hot summer day in the Sierra.
|Mill Creek in Moab, Utah |
This half-mile hike visits a swimming hole that offers refreshing escape from Utah's summer scorchers.
|Western Divide Ranger District Campgrounds |
There are ten campgrounds in Giant Sequoia National Monument within the Western Divide Ranger District of Sequoia National Forest, including the 32-site Quaking Aspen Campground.