Kaweah River: Sequoia National Park Foothills

Kaweah River Flow

Sequoia National Park is often referred to as Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park due to the two park’s proximity to each other. Sequoia represents five separate regions, defined by terrain, animal and plant life which include; Foothills, Giant Forest/Lodgepole, Grant Grove, Cedar Grove and Mineral King.

The Foothills region is located in the southwest section of the park and is exemplified with lower elevations (500’ – 3,500’ elev.) chaparral, oaks, river canyons, hot summers and mild winters. Just a few miles away from the Foothills Visitor Center is the Potwisha campground (one of two in this region) that offers oak shaded camping spots, flush toilets and running water. It is located near the confluence of the Marble Fork and Middle Fork Kaweah rivers.

Across the highway from Potwisha is a family-friendly hiking and exploring area that leads to Monache Indian grinding stones, side creeks, a metal footbridge that spans the river and broad, sandy and water-smoothed river shoreline.

A nice 5 mile RT (700’ elev. gain/loss) hike along the Middle Fork Kaweah and parallel to the Kings Highway leads to the mysterious Hospital Rock. The area is dotted with numerous pictographs, red-streaked boulders and a cave-like shelter in which Native American medicine men treated injured and ill members of the Monache tribe.

All along the river you will find lovely bathing pools, which are very popular in the hot summer months with campers and hikers, and tempting beaches to relax on. Be advised that the Kaweah is a wild river subject to heavy spring run-off during which swimming is to be done with all due caution. It is also an opportune location for wildlife spotting and springtime wildflower appreciation.

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