Big SEKI Loop (Seqouia-Kings)
In the summer of 2018 I hiked my own 8-day variant of the SEKI Loop.
In the late summer of 2018 I hiked the SEKI loop (in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park), a combination of the John Muir Trail, the High Sierra Trail and some other connecting trails. Here are five things I learned hiking the SEKI loop.
Day 8 – the final day of my SEKI Loop: back to Road’s End. A fairly easy climb up Avalanche Pass, back into the Kings River Canyon. But before I got there, I encountered a very steep surprise just before the cool waters of good old Bubbs Creek.
SEKI Loop day 7: going up Elizabeth pass I conquered the steepest stretch of trail so far. With the spectacular views soon obscured by clouds, I hurried down Deadman Canyon. Then I hiked in the rain for a few hours until I found shelter at the Roaring River rangers station
Day 6 of my SEKI Loop had a bad weather forecast for the afternoon. I decided to split the Elizabeth Trail Pass in two parts. So I enjoyed a relaxed morning at Hamilton Lake and then hiked up as high as possible towards the pass.
Day five of my SEKI Loop was the most impressive part of the trail so far. From the tranquil Moraine Lake through the valley of the Big Arroyo, and crossing the Kaweah Gap at more than 10.000 feet to the stunning Precipice Lake. Then descending all the way down to Hamilton Lake with a view of the vertical wall of Valhalla.
Day four of my SEKI Loop trail took me to the amazing Moraine Lake, one of the true highlights of the High Sierra Trail. Just a half day climb from the Kern Hotspring, I decided to stay there and enjoy the silence, the cool water and the shady trees.
After two days of steady climbing, the third day of my SEKI Loop led me from the Bighorn Plateau to the lower elevations of Kern Canyon. During the high temperatures in the canyon, the lure of the hot springs at the end kept me going during the 17.5 miles of trail.
The second day of my SEKI Loop took me to the really High Sierra. Despite four days of acclimatization, the altitude still slowed me down to half my normal hiking speed. But I did climb Forester Pass: the highest point on the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail and the border of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.
The Sequoia Kings / SEKI Loop is a less crowded alternative for the John Muir Trail, without the difficulty to get a permit. I had been planning my SEKI-Loop trail thoroughly last year. But of course, everything went completely different. Because not a million spreadsheets, vlogs or gearlists can prepare you for the devastating beauty and power of the High Sierra.
With less crowds and no permit stress, The Big SEKI Loop is a great alternative to the John Muir Trail (JMT). And because it’s a loop, you don’t need additional transport back to your car. That makes planning much easier. For better resupply options I planned a route different than usual, making it a Big SEKI Flip.