Distance: 5 miles (8 km) one way
Elevation: 3,600 - 5,100 ft.
Time: 4-7 hours round trip (not including stops for rest or picture taking)
A quiet, little-used trail full of contrasts awaits hikers of the Ladybug Trail in the remote southern end of Sequoia National Park. The trail crosses rushing streams, wanders under towering silent canyon live oaks, and winds alongside grassy hillsides as it threads its way for four miles into the steep foothill country on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
The Ladybug Trail starts from the end of the South Fork Road. Overnight backpackers can get a wilderness permit at the self-registration station during the summer. There is overnight parking at the trailhead. Day-use hikers must park their cars in the parking lot in front the trailhead.
From the parking area (elev. 3,640), the trail follows the river upstream before crossing on a wooden footbridge. Hikers then climb high above the river on a peaceful section called Bone Hill full of oak woodlands and large boulders. After log-hopping across Putnam Creek, the trail returns to the main river canyon before descending into Ladybug Camp at 1.7 miles. Here there are pleasant campsites alongside the river. The trail then switchbacks to reach two excellent viewpoints. The first shows Garfield Creek tumbling into the South Fork. The second highlights the back side of Homer's Nose, a rocky summit that looms nearly a mile above.
After passing through grassy hillsides and cedar forests, the trail crosses Cedar Creek, 3.1 miles from the trailhead. Scattered around are several giant sequoias growing alongside the stream. The trail crosses the creek and undulates up and then down hill and then up again. Here there are several large waterfalls visible through the dense undergrowth. After 4 miles, it reaches Whiskeylog Camp (elev. 5,120), situated next to a small stream a stone's throw from the rushing river. The trail continues up the river for 1.1 miles before reaching a dead end.
For more information, contact the Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP Wilderness Office: Phone (559) 565-3766, Fax (559) 565-4239, E-mail SEKI_Wilderness_Office@nps.gov.
Help us keep this place beautiful. Take only pictures. Leave only footprints. Please pack out your trash.
Know the Bear Facts! Whether staying in the picnic area or going for a longer hike, always store food away from bears. Use large, brown bear-proof boxes to store food and scented items. Never leave food or scented items unattended.
Be Safe! Bring plenty of drinking water and snacks/lunch. Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction, as well as long pants (due to ticks and poison oak). Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Bring insect repellent.