Big Stump trail is a delightful walk, right inside the Big Stump (northern) entrance to Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park. It's only a 15 minute drive from fivespot, so it's great to do if you've arrived late in the afternoon or early in the evening, when you want to sample the Park's riches without going too far.
It's about one hour to walk with a few undramatic changes in elevation, and mostly shady. The only downside is that a main Park road borders it (you have to cross over, and under the road, through a tunnel, to complete the 2-mile loop) so you will hear a car passing by now and again.
This area was once a sawmill, and true to its name, you will witness big sequoia stumps throughout, as well as "featherbeds," 100-year-old piles of sequoia sawdust, barely decayed since they accumulated there in the 1880s.
Yet the destruction of the sequoias by logging is only part of the story of this trail. Some of the sequoias perished naturally, leaving enormous vertical sculptures. The azaleas still bloom, as do swaths of wild roses, even in these difficult dry times. And young sequoias surround the path, growing quickly and steadily, filling in the spaces where the old ones were destroyed.
When Bachrun and I walked here a few days ago, I was reminded once again how vigorous life is, and how left to its own devices, plants do their best to survive above all. Despite the drought, despite the logging, despite the cattle that still manage to escape their fences and invade the Park meadows, it is a beautiful place.
Recommended: A lovely meditation on the Big Stump trail, and the history of logging, from the Sequoia Natural History Association website.
giant burned out sequoia
azeleas flank the burned shell
a downed sequoia trunk