The Circle of Solitude in Kings Canyon National Park was first written about in Mike White’s guidebook to Kings Canyon. He describes a loop around the Kings-Kern and Great Western Divides that follows trail and avoids the highways of the John Muir Trail and High Sierra Trail. Also described are some off-trail variations. Many people who hike this loop take the promise of solitude to heart and include some cross-country travel.

Below Longley Pass
Below Longley Pass

When I planned our August backpack, I didn’t realize that I was planning a variation on his loop. But I ran into a few people on the trail who called it that, so I’ve decided to call this trip the “Circle of Solitude Variation”. We certainly found solitude, seeing only one other person in the distance during the middle four days of the trip. Our itinerary was as follows:

We were out from August 6 through the 16, right in the perfect window between the crazy weather we had in July and the terrible smoke from the Rough Fire. And although we had some smoky and cloudy days, it never hampered our trip. I don’t think we could have timed it better with this year’s conditions.

Camp in Sphinx Lakes - probably my best campsite ever
Camp in Sphinx Lakes – probably my best campsite ever

It’s a long trip to write about so I’ll break it down into a few posts that will be published in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I have already posted all my photos and they are linked to above. Enjoy some High Sierra solitude from the comfort of your computer!

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  1. Brett Bayley

    I’ve been waiting to see what you pulled for your big Sierra trip for the year. very happy with your choice-as I’ve had eyes on The Circle of Solitude for awhile, and hope to tackle next year, and your epic beta and photos will help/inspire me.

    can’t wait to dig in to your report. thanks for sharing.

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