photo of Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon National Park, CA

  Rae Lakes

  Kings Canyon National Park

Middle Rae Lake

Hiking to Rae Lakes

Castle Domes, Kings Canyon National park, CA

Castle Domes

Road's End to Upper Paradise Valley,
10 miles

The well-used trail to Paradise Valley begins with a sandy stroll across Zumwalt Meadow, but just beyond the turnoff to the Bubbs Creek trail, the climb begins. Pass Mist Falls and then tackle 2 miles of steep switch-backs before entering Paradise Valley. An easy walk through most of the valley is followed by a short climb to the upper camping area.

Paradise Valley Camping

Camping is limited to three campgrounds - lower, middle, and upper. There is a 2-day limit in the valley. Each camping area has designated sites, pit toilets, and bear boxes.

Dollar Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA

Dollar Lake and Fin Dome

Upper Paradise to the John Muir Trail,
5.7 miles

Cross the Kings River on a bridge and start up Woods Creek. Steady climbing through forest soon gives way to an area that burned in 2012. Watch for the grand Castle Domes on your left. Descend to Castle Domes Meadow and then climb again to the junction with the John Muir Trail. Cross the bridge to find good campsites and bear boxes

JMT Junction to Middle Rae Lake,
7 miles

Climb steadily up the South Fork of Woods Creek, eventually passing Dollar Lake, Arrowhead Lake, and finally Lower Rae Lake. Middle Rae Lake is just ahead with good campsites.