About Black Wolf Falls
Black Wolf Falls (which also goes by the name Black Wall Falls and Monarch Falls) tumbled conspicuously as we left Silver City and headed right into Mineral King Valley.
However, getting here on the long, narrow, and winding Mineral King Road definitely gave my Dad some white knuckles given how narrow the unpaved road was combined with the steep dropoffs on the side of the road nearest to the cliffs. Nonetheless, the sense of being in a totally different place is the kind of escape most city slickers like myself long for.
While we found it easy identify this waterfall, it wasn’t so easy for us to get a decent photograph of it. The views from the road were blocked by the dry foliage around the falls, and we found ourselves scrambling over the dry foliage and uneven footing to get right up to the base of the falls (as photographed above), but even that was not a very satisfying view. In hindsight, we might have missed the switchbacking trail leading to a top down view of the falls that was closer to the car park. Oh well, maybe next time we’ll experience this falls the right way!
We actually tried to visit other waterfalls in the valley, but it turned out that we took the wrong trail. So instead, we ended up getting fleeting looks at other thin snowmelt cascades before we turned back and left.
One more thing that was memorable about this waterfall… And that was the presence of marmots that for some reason liked the taste of antifreeze and radiator hoses! We noticed there were some folks who came prepared with wire fences surrounding the undercarriage of their vehicles to keep the marmots from getting in there.
My Dad actually stayed behind to guard our vehicle and make sure the marmots didn’t end up disabling the cooling system of our car! Armed with trekking poles, he definitely put them to good use as some of those marmots got under the car and refused to leave!
When we drove out of Mineral King Valley, we saw trails of antifreeze on the road, and we suspected it might have been some pour soul who had his car’s radiator hose chewed through!
The falls sits right at the mouth of Mineral King Valley. To get here, you first have to get to the town of Three Rivers, which is 29 miles (about 30 minutes drive) east of Visalia on Hwy 198. About 2.5 miles east of Three Rivers is the Mineral King Road. Turn right onto the road and follow this mostly narrow and unpaved road right into the Sawtooth Parking area barely a half-mile from the road’s end.
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