Description - Hume Lake Ranger District is part of the northern unit of Sequoia National Forest. This striking region shares its boundaries with Sierra National Forest, Kings Canyon National Park, and Sequoia National Park. Points of interest on the District include Monarch Wilderness, Jennie Lakes Wilderness and the Hume Lake region.
- Sequoia trail users have more than 800 miles of maintained roads and 1,000 miles of forest for their use and enjoyment. More than 1,300 square miles of non-wilderness are open to bicycle use, with some restrictions. The Hume Lake Ranger District provides six major trailheads and seven day use areas. Operating season, group size, handicap accessibility, water and restroom facilities vary.
Campgrounds on the Sequoia National Forest and The Giant Sequoia National Monument offer more than 50 developed areas; large motor homes and trailers cannot be accommodated in some campgrounds, and electric and sewer hookups are not available. There are family and group campgrounds, fee and free campsites, first-come, first-served sites, and sites that can be reserved. The camping season is generally from late-May through mid-October, weather permitting. Some campgrounds are open year-round. In addition, almost all National Forest System land is available for you to choose your own camping spot. The Hume Lake Ranger District has 14 family-style campgrounds and 4 group camps.
Many points of interest lie in this particular district. The Kings River forms one of the deepest canyons in North America, with elevations ranging from less than 1,000 feet to over 11,000 feet at Hogback Peak. Highway 180, the primary access route into the northern portion of the Giant Sequoia National Monument, is designated a National Scenic Byway. It accesses this rugged canyon, with several panoramic vistas along the way. Several commercial outfitters provide whitewater rafting opportunities.
A huge giant sequoia, known as the General Noble Tree, was cut, and sections were reassembled at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Visitors can view the remaining 20-foot "Chicago Stump" on the Hume Lake Ranger District.
The Boole Tree is the last of the huge giant sequoias that had grown until the 1890s in Converse Basin. It is the largest tree on National Forest System land and is recognized as one of the largest trees in the world. It stands 269 feet tall and has a diameter of 35 feet. A loop trail of moderate difficulty leads from the road to the tree and beyond to beautiful vistas of the Kings River.
At an elevation of 8,500 feet, Buck Rock Lookout sits perched atop a granite dome and offers breathtaking views of the Great Western Divide and other spectacular high mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Access to this 1920s era fire lookout is via a series of stair flights suspended from the side of the rock. Still currently active as a location for the detection of wildfires, Buck Rock is open to the public and is located near Big Meadows on the Hume Lake Ranger District.
Formed by a unique multiple arch dam, constructed in 1908, Hume Lake provided water for the longest-ever lumber flume. Lumber was floated by flume through the Kings Canyon to Sanger, a distance of 73 miles. A sawmill fire stopped operations in 1917. Today, the 87-acre lake is the feature attraction of the Hume Lake recreation area. Fish species present in the lake are rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, and green sunfish. Plantings are conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game periodically during the summer.
Lodging opportunities on the Forest include Big Meadows Guard Station, 7,600' elevation, sleeps 6, and fee required. Camp 4 1/2 Cabin, elevation of 1,100', open year-round, sleeps 6, and fee required. Contact the Ranger District Station for details.
Scenic driving is enjoyed along Highway 180, a primary access route into the northern portion of the Sequoia National Forest. The largest species of tree on earth, the giant sequoia, and one of the deepest canyons in North America, the Kings Canyon, are two outstanding attributes of the natural beauty found here. Portions of the Byway follow the Kings Wild and Scenic River and divide Monarch Wilderness.
Cross-country skiing, snow play and snowmobiling are popular activities in the Forest and Monument during winter months. Specific winter activity areas accessible by highway are found on all the districts. Montecito Sequoia Lodge offers over twenty miles of groomed cross-country ski trails just off the Generals Highway, near Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. Snowmobiling is limited to roads in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Many roads in the monument are groomed for this use. For specific information and locations, contact the ranger district offices.
Recreation - Those venturing to Hume Lake Ranger District will find many opportunities to hike, backpack, mountain bike, horseback ride, view dramatic scenery, fish, and enjoy a variety of winter sports.
Climate - Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation on the Sequoia National Forest. Precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, much of it comes in the form of snow. Winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperatures above 100 degrees F indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season when venturing into the high country, with clothing that can be layered and ready to peel off or add as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
Hume Lake Ranger District is part of the northern unit bordered on the north by Sierra National Forest and on the west by Kings Canyon National Park, which also has a finger extending up from the southern area of the District. To the south lies Sequoia National Park. On the west are private lands, of which some are Bureau of Land Management.