Description - Tule River Ranger District is part of the southern unit of Sequoia National Forest. This striking region shares its boundaries with Sequoia National Park and the Inyo National Forest. Several points of interest on the District include Golden Trout and Monarch Wilderness areas, Maggie Mountain, Jordan Peak, and the Tule and Kern rivers. Surrounded by National Forest land is Balch Park located in the southern part of Mountain Home State Forest. This area is operated by Tulare County and is a mecca for camping, fishing, hiking, and sightseeing amid the renowned giant sequoias.
- 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 combined Tule River / Hot Springs area provide 6 major trailheads and 4 day use areas. Operating season, group size, handicap accessibility, water and restroom facilities vary. One of the most popular trails on the District is the Trail of a Hundred Giants where President Bill Clinton signed the proclamation, creating the 327,769-acre Giant Sequoia National Monument in April, 2000. This universally accessible trail meanders through over 125 giant sequoias in the Long Meadow Grove.
About 45 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which stretches 2,650 miles from Canada to Mexico, crosses the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument.
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 Tule River / Hot Springs Ranger District has 10 family-style campgrounds and 3 group camps.
Lodging on the District consists of Frog Meadow Guard Station sitting at an elevation of 7,700', sleeps 8, no electricity, and fee required. The other option is Mountain Home Guard Station, 6,000' elevation, sleeps 6, no electricity, and fee required. Opening in the summer of 2003 is Poso Guard Station, 4,500' elevation, open year-round, sleeps 5, fee required. Contact the Tule River Ranger District for details.
The Western Divide Highway on the Tule River Ranger District is gateway to many areas of interest. North of the Highway on Forest Road 21S05 trailheads such as Freeman Creek, Summit, Clicks Creek and Lewis camp can be reached, as well as all entrances to the 303,287-acre Golden Trout Wilderness. Continuing west leads to Quaking Aspen Campground and grants access to Needles Fire Lookout. Further west Long Meadow and Redwood Meadow Campgrounds and the Trail of 100 Giants can be reached.
Scenically dramatic, the Monarch Wilderness is a rugged 23,800 acres of the Sequoia National Forest that rises from 2,000 feet elevation at the South Fork of the Kings River to over 11,000 feet at Hogback Peak. Other areas of interest include The Needles, a series of massive granite rock formations rising from the North Fork of the Kern River, and Dome Rock, a massive granite monolith along the Western Divide Highway.
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. 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 - There is plenty of outdoor scenery and activities to please the recreationist: wilderness backpacking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, camping, scenic driving, and more.
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.
Tule River Ranger District is part of the southern unit bordered on the north by the Sequoia National Park and on the south by Tule River Indian Reservatioin and Hot Springs Ranger District.