Incidents at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks: September 12 to 18


The roads in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are steep and curvy, requiring extra attention to drive them safely. The Mineral King Road is an especially steep, curvy, narrow route that leads 25 miles from Three Rivers to the road’s end in the Mineral King valley.

The road, which has no center dividing line and narrows to one lane in places, can be challenging to drive. It is advised that drivers stay well to the right, especially on blind curves.

It is also advised that drivers who are descending the road use their vehicle’s lower gears to hold the car back and not the brakes, which can overheat and become inoperable. The car (in the above photo) — which was spotted 11 miles up the Mineral King Road between the Sequoia National Park boundary and the Lookout Point pay station on Monday, Sept. 19 — may have lost its brakes, wherein the driver made the correct move to stop the vehicle by hitting the embankment because the alternative is the sheer drop-off on the other side of the road. Alternatively, the driver may have moved too far to the right to avoid an oncoming vehicle, landing the car with its right front wheel in a ditch.

Update: The automobile in the above photo crashed when the driver reportedly fell asleep while descending the road.




Ash Mountain

September 12— A semi-trailer attempted to turn around at the Ash Mountain entrance station. Unable to make the turn around, the truck ran over the median just prior to the entrance station and high centered on a large boulder. The semi drug the boulder approximately 125 feet and caused significant scuffing on the roadway as well as uprooting the speed bump at the stop sign.


Mineral King

September 17— A 19-year-old male drowned in Eagle Lake while attempting to swim across to rock island (see article here).

September 17— There was a human-caused fire at Eagle Lake. The fire grew to about a quarter acre. It was suppressed and monitored. The fire was unrelated to the drowning that occurred the same day. 

September 18— A trailhead ranger-EMT responded to a report of an individual not feeling well at the Tar Gap trailhead. The patient was a 64-year-old male who was feeling ill. After administering oxygen, the patient reported feeling better.

September 18— The Hockett Meadow wilderness ranger responded to a report of someone with broken collarbone or shoulder at a South Fork Meadow campsite. A 59-year-old female was flown out with a suspected broken collarbone and multiple broken upper ribs and transferred by ambulance to a local hospital.




Sierra Crest

September 18— A 54-year-old female complaining of chest pain was evacuated out of McClure Meadow by helicopter. 

September 20-21— A 50-year-old male whose destination was Deerhorn Mountain was reported overdue. A helicopter searched the area and located a body on the mountain’s upper southwest face. The body was recovered the next day and identified as the overdue hiker (see article here).


Cedar Grove

September 14— Rangers responded to a minor motor vehicle collision in Sheep Creek Campground. There were no injuries, just property damage.

September 17— Rangers responded to a 72-year-old with a head injury. The patient was transported to Fresno via ambulance.

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