The Woods Creek Trail begins from the roads end trailhead east of Cedar Grove. It follows the same path as the Mist Falls Trail along the northern side of Kings Canyon for two miles to a trail junction. At this junction the Woods Creek Trail leads to the left (northward).
The trail remains level at 5,200 feet as it rounds the river bend. Within a mile of the first trail junction Wood Creek Trail begins to climb. The next mile to Mist Falls contains switchbacks, which ascend 600 feet. Beyond the falls the trail continues to climb.
Two miles from Mist Falls the trail enters Paradise Valley at an elevation of 6,586 feet. The first campsite on this route lies at 6.5 miles at the mouth of Paradise Valley. The route remains level as it follows the South Fork Kings River through Paradise Valley. The valley is nearly three miles in length. During this period the trail crosses two drainages. At the confluence at the head of the valley Woods Creek leads eastward. Those wishing to make a loop trip or reach the John Muir Trail should walk to the east.
Entering the Woods Creek drainage the trail gains elevation steadily. Within two miles from the Paradise Valley the trail reaches 8,000 feet gaining 1,000 feet. The trail continues to ascend steadily and slowly as it winds along Wood Creek. Approximately five miles from Paradise Valley the trail forks. The left side of the fork is the John Muir Trail leading north along Woods Creek. The right side of the fork leads south along South Fork to Rae Lakes.
Directions: From Cedar Grove Village, Drive eastward along Highway 180 to roads end. Find the trailhead near the ranger station at the eastern end of the parking area.
This hike is a steady moderate climb where vistas, rivers and high lakes are plentiful. The trail provides access to the John Muir and Pacific Crest trails.
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Rae Lakes is considered one of the most beautiful spots in the Sierra. This moderate trail climbs from 5,000' to 10,700'.Highlights
This popular, 45-mile loop trail has a lot of wows: Mist Falls, Paradise Valley, Rae Lakes.