Elevation: 4,641 ft
GPS: 36.789, -118.673 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 38,287 total · 344/month
Shared By: Chelsea on Nov 30, 2009
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Access Issue: Always check SEKI road conditions and peregrine closures Details
Access Issue: Kings Canyon National Park Regulations and Fees Details


“Nature is seldom suspected of being poor, for does she not possesses all the real estate of the world, to say nothing of unexplored moons and stars? And has she then only one Yosemite Valley?” John Muir ponders.

Once upon a time in the age of the Pleistocene, Mother Nature nurtured a landscape shaped by glaciers and granite in the womb of the Sierra. With the retreat of the glaciers many deep valleys fed by mountain snows were born on the western front of the range. The four main sister valleys named Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy, Tehipite, and Kings were raised with equal love and opportunity by Mother Nature. It was not until the Sierra was seen through the eyes and bias of western civilization that the valleys developed distinct personalities. Yosemite with her glamour and charisma, caught the most attention and praise (especially among bearded men). Nearby attention starved Hetch Hetchy made the biggest sacrifice to humanity only to be forgotten beneath the waters. Quiet Tehipite afraid of such attention withdrew her huge domes and beauty out of sight. And the Kings sister, unconcerned with humanity’s opinion and such drama, continued the business of flowing rivers, growing trees, greening meadows, and shaping granite. Despite being bestowed National Park status, the Kings sister continued a modest peaceful life free from the nuisance of beauty starved city dwelling humanity. The mystery, though, is how the beauty and potential of the King sister’s rock walls have not been entirely discovered and swarmed by climbers.

While most climbers are bedazzled by the glamour of the Yosemite sister, there may be some climbers that see more beauty and allure in the unnamed formations, unclimbed cracks, untapped faces, and undiscovered classics of the Kings sister. Even John Muir, Yosemite’s most ardent courtier, fell under her spell. “Yet no individual rock in the valley equals El Capitan or Half Dome, but, on the other hand, from no position on the Yosemite walls could a section five miles in length be selected equal in downright beauty and grandeur to five miles of the middle portion of the south wall of the new valley (Kings Canyon).”

This day in age, the Kings Canyon offers climbers something unique. A land of choose your own adventure. Climbing for every mood. Sport, traditional, bouldering, and big walls. Shade or sun. Clean or dirty. Short or long approach. Granite or marble. The rock quality can be excellent on established routes and new routes will encounter the usual loose rocks, dirt, and vegetation.

Contribute and More Information:

Lack of available literature and information contributes to the low density of climbers (1-2 per valley most of the year). The limited route information can be hunted down in the out of print Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: Sequoia/Kings Canyon guide by Sally Moser that will cost a pretty penny online. Updated climbing information can be found at the Cedar Grove Ranger station (Spring 2010).Please contribute information on first ascents along with opinions and ratings of established climbs to the ranger station and Chelsea Morgan at morchelsea@gmail.com or 530 320 4724.

“Those who can should visit the valley at once, while it remains in primeval order.” John Muir. .

Getting There

From Fresno, instead of following the traffic jam up 41 toward Yosemite, take Hwy 180 toward Kings Canyon. Hwy 180 will take a sinuous drive up to the park entrance. Stay left continuing on Hwy 180 toward Kings canyon, pass Grant Grove, through National Forest land and then dive into the depths of stunning Kings Canyon. Total driving time from Fresno= 2.5 hrs.

From Visalia take Hwy 63 North to Hwy 180 and continue East as previously directed. Total driving time from Visalia=2.5 hrs. Unfortunately there is no public transportation to Kings Canyon. Average approach time from parking to lower cliff walls = 10 min.

21 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Kings Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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South Lake Tahoe, CA
Chelsea   South Lake Tahoe, CA
More info to be posted soon 2010 on routes and areas. Nov 30, 2009
Menifee, CA
EJH   Menifee, CA
Been putting up boulder problems and routes here for almost seven years. One of the best kept secrets in the sierra. I absolutely love Kings Canyon! Mar 1, 2010
Chad N
Central California
Chad N   Central California

I like to think that there are a lot of new lines there, but who knows? Mar 1, 2010
Menifee, CA
EJH   Menifee, CA
So, it's called Halo. I've done that as well, but figured someone else has. That rock at the base gave me pause before doing it. Mar 2, 2010
Scotty Nelson
Scotty Nelson   Boulder
Check out this trip report and another TR here. Mar 20, 2010
My wife and I did alot of bouldering here, mostly at Roads End, in '04 -'06. I'll try to post up some info soon. Aug 17, 2010
Kristian Solem
Monrovia, CA
Kristian Solem   Monrovia, CA
I finally got around to putting up a page on The Gorge of Despair, a crown jewel of King's Canyon back country climbing.

Enjoy! Let me know how to improve it too. Feb 3, 2011
The SIERRA (NOT sierras) is ONE mountain range.
The SIERRA NEVADA is Spanish for snowy range.
John Muir named the SIERRA the "Range of Light".

PLEASE correct your mistake.
Thank You.
Steve Thaw
30 Woodside Drive
Moraga, California
steven_thaw@yahoo.com May 2, 2013
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
I did two routes here in the 80s. One of them was right off the road at a picnic area and the other was well past the end of the road after crossing the river on the bridge. I should look in the notebook and post them up.

  • **Kings Fling 5.11+ A single 120ft. pitch. This is the description from my notebook. Find the auto nature trail. Park next to the sign just after turning on to the trail next to a sign. Beyond the sign is the cliff. The route starts about 115ft. right of a big chimney system. 6 bolts and and full rack of doubles and small brass nuts. FA Eric Fazio-Rhicard and Bob Kerry 1989.
  • ***Scarlet Slipstream 5.11 Six pitches of slab climbing. From the roads end take the Bubbs Creek Trail. After crossing the river hike for about 30 minutes up stream. You will notice a reddish water stain that emanates from about half way up the big wall on the right. It is a pretty slab and it took us 3 weekends drilling by hand to reach a spot where the climbing eased up to the point we called it good enough. Feel free to replace all of the bolts and hangers and fixed pins with bolts. Pitch three has two alternatives, left is 11 and right is 5.10. Many of the bolt hangers had been bent over by ice sliding down the slabs when we repeated it a few years later. Take a full rack with small brass nuts and a bolt kit. FA Vaino Kodas, Herb Laeger, Eric Fazio-Rhicard 1986
Apr 9, 2015
For bouldering in the area, go to https://www.mountainproject.com/area/110624269/cedar-grove-boulders Sep 22, 2018
After climbing here all summer I've put together a general overview of the climbing routes here that I've found. It's not comprehensive but will add to the climbing knowledge of the area. Copies of these will be available for photos at the Cedar Grove Visitor Center as well as the Road's End Permit Station. Please email me or message me on here for updates to this google doc and I'll update info accordingly. I've mentioned which climbs already have MtnProj info online as well. Thanks!

drive.google.com/open?id=1r… Sep 25, 2018