Here’s half the GPS track for the day-hike from Road’s End to lower Paradise Valley. I only included the “down” track because we had trouble getting a lock in the canyon for the first half of the hike. When we stopped for lunch I switched GPS receivers and got a decent lock most of the way down. This track was recorded with Run.GPS, exported as a CSV file (since I had to remove about 5,000 lines of bogus GPS data), and mapped using Adam Schneider’s GPS Visualizer application, which is very impressive and easy to use.
I couldn’t map it using Run.GPS’ server because they don’t appear to allow importing of CSV files even from their own application (really?). According to EveryTrail, this half of the hike was 7.41 miles. We did a slight extra bit at the Bailey bridge, thinking we would try the lower trail back to Road’s End, but in June (as was the case when we tried it in July 2007) that trail is flooded by a river a couple hundred meters south of the Bailey bridge and unpassable by the casual hiker who, after 12 miles, doesn’t feel like taking off their shoes, putting on Teva sandals just to cross an ice-cold river. So we turned around and went back the north route, the way we came. I suspect the southern route is easier in late summer when the water level is lower, or if you’re just doing the hike to the Bailey bridge and back and you don’t mind either getting your feet wet or changing shoes.
So, if we did 1/4 mile “extra” on the way back, the trip out was 7.16 miles, for a total hiking distance of 14.57 miles. Going down we did this trip in 3:06:21; average speed 2.4mph. Going up was slower because we stopped for lunch for about half an hour on a really nice rock in the shade, and of course, well, we were going up.
According to our GPS, the highest point we reached was 2,034 meters, or 6,673 feet; the trailhead is at 1,564 meters, or 5,131 feet, so we climbed 1,542 feet vertically (which doesn’t fully take into account the up-and-down nature of this trail).
GPS device was a Sprint Touch Pro running Run.GPS (trial version – I’m still not completely convinced); the Touch Pro GPS isn’t good enough to get a lock in the canyon so I switched to an iBlue GPS receiver and connected to the phone via bluetooth. I put the iBlue in the very top miniature pocket of my pack so it would have the best signal, and left the phone in a lower pocket so I could look at it periodically during the hike. That worked pretty well, as I have a 3,000mAh battery for the Touch Pro. When we got down I think the battery level was still 80% after about 7 hours of hiking (phone turned off, of course – at the moment there’s no cell signal of any kind anywhere near Sequoia/Kings Canyon).
Oh, in case you want to see how awesome it is at Paradise Valley, it’s like a painting: