Sugar Bowl Trail
ElevationAscent: 700' 213 m
Descent: -1,415' -431 m
High: 6,938' 2,115 m
Low: 5,527' 1,685 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
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“A moderate trail that can be extended overnight, encircling the largest grove of sequoias.”— Hunter R
This trail follows the western loop of the Redwood Mountain grove, and while it doesn't have as many of the landmarks and features you would normally write home about (and which are found on the eastern loop: Hart Tree Trail), it certainly has it's splendor of amazing views, a budding new growth of young Christmas tree sized sequoias on an old burn site, creek crossings, and the crest of the Redwood Mountain itself.
As this is a loop, this trail can be done from two directions: it's the author's preference to follow Redwood Creek Trail and the canyon down, before climbing to the summit of Redwood Mountain - a clockwise run. Go at this trail trail how you may, depending on the time of day and when you would like to crest the summit.
From the parking lot, head to the trailhead and follow the left trail north where you'll wind and descend 0.3mi through furs and sequoias to the junction where Hart Tree Trail and Redwood Creek Trail meet. From here, bear right and follow Redwood Creek Trail south, until a moderate descent takes you into the canyon and meet with Redwood Creek--about 1.25 miles. You'll follow along the creek, downstream among lush vegetation, veer away from the creek, and rejoin before coming to the trail connector with the Hart Tree Trail and Sugarbowl Trails.
Here is a great time for backpackers to consider setting up camp! Overnight campers should consider continuing along the Redwood Creek Trail downstream to find amazing camping locations. Please observe leave no trace principles, although it can be tempting as you'll see rocks which served as illegal fire rings (open fires are NOT permitted) and other human traces.
Continuing from here, the trail turns into a series of short-legged switchbacks, you'll keep ascending past a grove of young and old sequoias, and enjoy increasingly better views of Big Baldy Peak over the tops of the young trees. From the stream, you'll head back out of cover, and start your major ascent: a series of switchbacks up a hillside. Once you reach the crest of Redwood Mountain, the grade eases and the trail turns north and follows the ridge to the cover of the sequoias again and an easy run back to the trailhead.
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Land Manager: NPS - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park