About this Trail
The Wishon Trail is a family-friendly trail that offers swimming holes, waterfalls, fishing, waterfalls, Giant Sequoias, and a few beautiful surprises. For the most part, the trail is easy. However, route finding, and a couple of steep detours push the overall experience into the "moderate" category.
The trail begins at the locked gate at Doyle Springs (just beyond Wishon Campground) and traverses a hillside above the cabin association. A mile or so in, there is a fork with an uprooted sign that may be on either side of the trail pointing either way to upstream fishing.
Take the downhill (southeast) fork. In another quarter mile, a California Live Oak that belongs in an A. A. Milne story signals another trail junction. Turn east toward the river and cross the Tule River (quite easy after spring run-off).
There is one more gentle crossing of Alder Creek, but after that, the trail remains on the east side of the Tule River until the return loop. Up the hill from Alder Creek, there is a trail junction (and an old sign) with the Jacobsen Trail (31E21). Take the left/north fork and parallel the river upstream for a half mile. There are two places along this route that appear dead ends, but upon closer inspection, the trail disappears into the forest and continues.
The first "hidden trail" is in the top left corner of the picture below of the Cascades.
The second tricky trail turns right and requires hiking over rocks rather than plunging into the fishing hole straight ahead. At the top of the upper Cascades, beyond the waterfall, the trail disappears into the forest once again, climbs up, then drops down to the premiere Giant Sequoia on this route. After visiting the next living Sequoia, the trail climbs up the hillside and then hugs the left edge of the small ridge. If you miss this short climb, you'll end up bushwhacking up- river but will regain your bearings eventually.
The next part of the trail is easy to lose, follow the signs of trampled foliage, and meander slowly. Giant Sequoias are hiding in and around this section of trail but only appear to those who take time to wonder and breathe.
After a couple of detours over and around fallen logs, the trail zig zags through boulders and Manzanita to come back to the river, and the final crossing to the west side of the Tule River at Rose's Grave. The trail back is an easy forest walk. There is another wonderful loop up-river from here for those who want more adventure; send me a message if you'd like information.
Directions to Trailhead
From Porterville, travel east on 190. Eight miles past Springville turn left at the Wishon Road (208). Four miles up this road, go past the campground and park at the locked gate.
Notes on Difficulty Rating
Mostly this trail is easy and family friendly. The trail is old, partly unofficial, and seldom maintained on the east side, creating route finding and a couple of steep climbs to push it into the moderate category. This is bear country, so don't hike silently. Rattlesnakes are common, but so are ladybugs in August!