mcfam's Passport
 

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Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14

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About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
White Stallion Guest Ranch in Arizona
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:
www.atlasquest.com

Family friendly camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Our family loves camping in Kings Canyon National Park.  It's honestly our favorite place to spread our tent under the stars and next to the roaring Kings River.  Kings Canyon is officially part of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.  It's location is down in a beautiful and deep canyon formed by the Kings River.  It's actually deeper than the Grand Canyon!  This list compiles the campsites and activities near it that we love to do as a family.  
** TO NOTE: The road into Kings Canyon is only open from late April to November due to the potential of rock slides onto the roads with inclement weather.

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Highway 180
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
First-come, first-served campground. Flush toilets, running water spouts, no electricity, $18.00 per night, RVs and tents.

reviewed on: June 15 2010

"River and Creek"
This is one of our favorite campgrounds in California.  It is in the heart of Cedar Grove, but further from the village which lends itself to being quieter.  It is close to the fast moving Kings River which is beautiful.  Much smaller Sheep Creek runs through this campground, with several campsites bordering this creek.  Our kids have spent countless hours tossing rocks into this little creek, walking up and down it's banks and building their own "beaver dams".  One year we set up our tent right next to the creek which actually made it hard to sleep because the creek kept bubbling its happy, but loud sound all night long.  

Bathrooms with running water available.  No lights or electricity in the bathrooms so bring a flashlight for night time potty runs.  All campsites have bear boxes which are mandatory to use.  However, some are in full sun which means the food inside can get quite warm.  We bring an extra shade tent for the bear boxes to keep them cooler.  

There are frequently bees in this campsite which love to eat meat.  So keep food covered and bring bee traps or bug zappers.  

Campsites near the river have a steep hill down to the river.

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Cedar Grove
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
First-come, first-served. Flush toilets, running water spouts, no electricity, $18.00 per night, RVs and tents.

reviewed on: June 15 2010

"Pines and river"
This campground is a wonderful place to spend some time with your family.  Lots of open areas, tall shady pines and a river to explore.  Spots near the river go quickly in the summer (all are first come first served) but they can also be friendly to more mosquitos because of the damp areas.  The noise of the river pounding over the rocks can be loud at night so keep this in mind when choosing a campsite.  

All campsites come with mandatory use bear boxes where food must be stored.  Unfortunately, some of the bear boxes are right in the sun, which means the food inside can get heated quickly.  We usually bring an extra shade tent simply to keep the bear box shaded and cool.  Bathrooms with running water available.  Limited electricity in bathrooms.  Bring flashlights for night time bathroom use!  Showers at Cedar Grove Village Store.  

We prefer to stay in the higher number campsites because we haven't wanted our young kids to wander off to the river when we weren't watching.  The river is very fast moving and can be dangerous if not careful.  But it is beautiful!

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Highway 180
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
A group campground with first-come, first-served sites as well as sites available for reservation. Sites have 3 bear boxes and multiple picnic tables but 1 firepit.


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Highway 180
Kings Canyon National Pk, California


reviewed on: November 20 2011

"Great group camping"
This campground fit our group of 19 friends perfectly for our summer camping trip.  The 13 kids ran around through the trees, played in the dirt with sand toys and played card games on one of the many picnic tables.  The 3 moms represented fit their family's week worth of food in their own bear box, and we enjoyed chatting next to them and preparing food together because the three boxes were all close to each other.  

The Kings River is a short hike down a steep hill from the river side campsites.  This works well for watching small kids and keeping them safe from the fast flowing river, and gives a perfect day outing to the water for wading or fishing.  In the summer of 2011, the water was too high to swim in and there were no wading holes but I could see that on lower water level years, there would be.  

The group campsites are spacious and far from each other.  At night from our campfire, I could barely make out 2 other campground fires through the trees in the distance.  This made for a quiet and peaceful time.  We don't like being squashed next to other campers.  

The road through the campground was rutted and full of pot holes and was not suitable for riding bikes or scooters.  It will probably be repaved soon.

Women's and men's restrooms are scattered throughout the campground and are fairly clean.  2 stalls, 1 sink inside, 1 large sink outside but no electric lighting inside (bring good flashlights, lanterns or head lamps for night time potty runs)

We were surprised by some heavy summer rains on our last 2 days in camp.  We have camped in Kings Canyon for years and never experienced more than a few passing drizzles.  This year, the rain poured down and ran in little rivers through all the campgrounds.  One little stream ran right through our boy's tent as it found a small hole in the bottom of the tarp.  Needless to say, they slept in our tent that night and we came home with soaking wet sleeping bags!  

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Cedar Grove
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
The central area of Kings Canyon. General store, lodge, grill, showers, pay-phone, and ice-cream.

reviewed on: June 15 2010

"by the Kings River"
This is one of the main destination points when traveling in Kings Canyon National Park.  To get here, you drive down the twisty mountain road into Kings Canyon, seeing some awesome cliffs which are the sides of a very deep canyon... deeper than the Grand Canyon.  Pretty soon, the road comes down to the Kings River itself which is a very wild, stone strewn river that is majestic to watch and loud to listen to.  

We camp in the campgrounds of Cedar Grove nearly every summer.  They are not very crowded, but offer quiet beauty and fun activities nearby.
Cedar Grove has a small store, grill and lodge with lots of picnic areas near the river.  There is also a small visitor center near Sentinel Campground.  The thing my kids like the best at Cedar Grove is the ice cream you can buy from the store.  What more could they want?

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Cedar Grove
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
Visitor center is located very near Sentinel Campground.

reviewed on: August 27 2010

"Little cabin in the woods"
We found this little visitor center almost by accident on a walk through Sentinel Campground on our last camping trip.  It is literally a small cabin near the large amphitheater in Sentinel Campground.  When I walked inside, however, I was immediately pleased.

Perhaps it's the books lining the wall (I'm a sucker for books on nature, hiking, etc.) or the table in the middle loaded with "please touch" items.  My eye quickly caught the National Park "stamping in" place where you can get your passport stamp and I thought "I could spend lots of time here".  It may not be where other people like to spend LOTS of time, but my kids did love looking at books and touching the animal pelts, snake skins and pinecones on the table.  

My favorite find was a little book of Sequoia campfire songs, which I quickly purchased and then used that night around the campfire.  One of our favorite songs was "Little Cabin in the Woods" and I was so glad we spent some time in a little cabin that day as the laughter echoed around the campfire.

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74101 E. Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
45 minute cavern tours.

reviewed on: June 03 2010

"Great cave tour"
My young boys (5, 7) have been fascinated by this cave tour.  They love the idea of being underground and seeing all the different formations.  Several years ago, the tour guide took us as far back as the cavern goes, provided places to safely all sit down, and then turned off the lights.  We were amazed at how dark it was and that we couldn't even see our hands in front of our faces.  My kids cuddled close and it wasn't long before the lights were on.  We walked back out along the river bed and into the hot sunshine and the rushing river below.  We were glad we came.

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Highway 180, Sierra National Forest
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
A medium height waterfall less than 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

reviewed on: June 15 2010

"Roadside waterfall"
This is a nice waterfall just off the road on your way to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon.  There is a large parking area and a short walk to the base of this fall.  In the summer, the rocks are exposed for climbing and the water is cool for wading.  My boys really liked climbing some of the huge rocks along the path to the falls.  There are often a lot of people here, and not a large area to explore, so your visit may be a quick one.  But it's definitely worth stopping and seeing and enjoying!

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Road's End
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
A large flat rock located next to the Kings River. Known as the location that John Muir brought visitors to introduce the Kings River and Canyon including the Sierra Club. Now it is a popular river spot for swimming, jumping and relaxing in the sun.

reviewed on: June 03 2010

"Great swimming hole"
We love coming to this spot on the Kings River each year.  We set up our towels and picnic on the downriver side of this great flat rock.  Then, with swimming suits on, sturdy shoes and a little bit of nervousness, we climb up the side of the rock (only a couple of feet from the trail) and then approach the edge near the river.  Right below, the river carves out a deep swimming hole which is nearly 10 feet deep... just perfect for jumping in!  

We have convinced our kids to jump in with us... usually by bribing them with some ice cream... and we count to 10 and take the plunge.  It's about an 8 foot drop to the water below.  The first plunge is icy cold and very refreshing!  The current quickly carries you to a rocky beach, just downstream of the rock.  It's easy to crawl out among the rocks, especially if your shoes are still on!  (which I recommend you keep them on!)

Enjoy your picnic and warm towel on the beach and then find some ice cream at the village store back at Cedar Grove.
A great afternoon!!!

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Cedar Grove
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
Medium-large waterfall located about 1/4 mile from the parking lot.

reviewed on: June 02 2010

"Roaring!"
A beautiful waterfall in Kings Canyon that is worth seeing!  It is wide, rushing, and forceful.  The hike is easy for young kids and is not too long.  Bring water for drinking because the trail can be hot in the summer.  We have often scrambled over the rocks downstream from the waterfall and taken a little "swim".  I can hardly call it a true swim because the water feels like it has just melted from a pool of ice.  Very cold and very refreshing!

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Cedar Grove
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
2 mile hike up the Don Cecil Trail to this small cascade near the source of Sheep Creek.

reviewed on: June 03 2010

"Great hike"
Our 5 and 7 year old boys joined us on this hike.  It was hot and dry on the trail, but there was much to see and enjoy.  Most of the trail is in a shady forest and there are a few view points of the canyon below and the mountains across the canyon.  The cascade was small but beautiful in a shady glen.  There is a fun bridge to take pictures on and walk across.
Take plenty of water.  It is not a well known trail so you may not see any other people.

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Cedar Grove
Kings Canyon National Pk, California

Comment:
1-2 mile loop around a beautiful meadow. Nature trail guide and sign posts available. Suspension bridge leads to the meadow. One section of the trail is wheelchair accessible.

reviewed on: August 27 2010

"Great hike"
We thought this was the perfect hike to take our kids on this summer when we were camping in Kings Canyon National Park (in Cedar Grove).  It was!  It was 1.5 miles and pretty much level  with the exception of some rocky spots to climb up and down.  Our 9 and 7 year olds loved scrambling over rocks and finding big rocks to climb up on.  Our 3 year old trudged along and didn't complain once as he found some rock pile caves and smaller rocks to scramble on.  Our 1 year old was content in the backpack carrier.  I think just Daddy had it difficult as he carried her for 2 hours!

Some of  the highlights for our kids (besides the rocks to climb on) were crossing the large suspension bridge over the Kings River, finding evidences of bugs and mushrooms, and spotting a mamma bear and her bear cub (from way off far).  I loved seeing the wind wave the rushes of the meadows and listening to the rushing river flowing past as we walked the trail.  

I was glad I spent the $1.50 for the trail guide as it helped us identify trees, rock formations on the canyon walls and history of the area.  There are 18 sign posts on the trail and the guide corresponds to each number and there is a paragraph or two to read for each area.

Strollers and wheelchairs can be used to cross the bridge and traverse the boardwalk to the left at the trail T.  But no stroller can make it all around the loop of the meadow because of the rocky and narrow path on the south side of the meadow.  A baby backpack is needed for this trail.

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64144 Hume Lake Road
Hume, California

Comment:
A great place for families. Come for the day and stop in the Front Office when you enter camp for information on public use of boats, pools and lodges. General store and gift shop. Family and kid camps are top-notch!

reviewed on: June 10 2010

"Greatest place"
This is my absolute favorite place in California... maybe on planet earth!  The beauty of the blue lake set in the midst of the tall pines and the tall mountains that form the edge of Kings Canyon make it a feast for the eyes.  Many kids come here during the summer for summer camps where they learn about Jesus in the Bible.  Nothing could be better than that.

Our family has camped in the campgrounds on the north side of the lake (Hume Lake Campground) and then enjoyed the food at the snack shop, the boat rentals and the cove (the southeast side of the lake).

Adults can attend the free Lakeview chapel services during the week and you can sign your young kids up for day camp.  If you can send your kids here for a week of summer camp (3rd grade through high school) it's even better.

This is the greatest place ever!

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6414 Hume Lake Road
Hume, California

Comment:
Reservations available on reserveamerica.com

reviewed on: June 11 2010

"On the lake"
This is a great campground right next to Hume Lake.  Nearly each campsite is shaded with tall pines and cedars and is fairly spacious.  Bear boxes available in most sites for all your food.  

Our kids had so much fun at this campground.  They were extremely dirty from the dark soil but it was a short walk to the lake where they could splash and play in the cool, relatively clean waters.  There were several beach areas for swimming.  

No motor boats are allowed on this lake but kayaks and rowboats are welcome.  

A small general store, snack shop, coffee shop and gas station are within walking distance at Hume Lake Christian Camps.  This camp fills up with hundreds of students each week and can produce lots of noise, ringing of bells and blowhorns.  So be aware that this is not the quietest of campgrounds you will find in this area of the mountains, but it is very beautiful!