Distance: 3.9 miles (6 km) one way
Elevation: 2,000 - 4,550 ft.
Time: 4 hours round trip (not including stops for rest or picture taking)
A “nature lover’s paradise,” the Marble Fork Trail is the longest and most dramatic trail in the foothills of Sequoia National Park and is located off of the Generals Highway, or main road through the park. Access the park from Highway 198.
The trail begins at the upper end of Potwisha Campground and has many vantage points to some of the most rugged terrain in Sequoia National Park. Along the trail, visitors will discover river gorges, waterfalls, wildlife, and a large array of California’s native trees and plants. You may find it necessary to navigate up to seven stream crossings in order to reach the falls. It climbs and winds through chaparral and ends at the base of the Marble Falls. Physical fitness enthusiasts will appreciate the side-benefit of a great workout because of the steady uphill climb.
It’s best to hike the Marble Fork Trail in the late winter or early spring with cooler daytime temperatures. In addition, trees are beginning to leaf, wildflowers decorate the landscape, and the river and waterfalls are nearly at their prime. Hiking the Marble Fork Trail early in the season ensures that visitors avoid the extreme heat of summer, as well as the rainy season. Summertime temperatures in the foothills range from the low 90s into the low 100s, when strenuous outdoor activities can be less desirable or even unhealthy for some.
Be cautious along the river banks. Water and slippery rocks are a beautiful but a dangerous combination. Drowning is the main cause of death in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In addition, ticks, poison oak, and rattlesnakes are abundant in the foothills below 5,000 feet in elevation. Please pay close attention when hiking in the area to limit the risks of exposure to these hazards.
Park in the overflow parking area across the street from Potwisha Campground. Cross the street and walk into the back, left corner of the campground next to site #14. Follow the chained-off dirt road until it crosses a concrete ditch (flume). A short distance later, a sign marks the beginning of the trail.
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.