Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are home to natural giants and some of the most beautiful scenery America has to offer. These two parks are connected to each other, which makes it easy to see two National Parks on one trip! Most people end up doing both. During our visit, we camped one night in Sequoia and one night in Kings Canyon.
15 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK + KINGS CANYON
The Giant Forest is exactly like it sounds. When you walk amongst these amazingly huge trees you’ll feel really small (but in a good way). On this trail, you will find the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world by volume, weighing 1,385 tons! Also, check out the President Tree (the 3rd largest tree) and the 2-mile Congress Trail that takes you on a nice stroll away from the crowds.
2. Climb the Steps of Moro Rock
Rising above the Giant Forest, you can climb 400 stone steps to the summit of the granite dome to get some of the best views of the park. Be sure to keep your eye out as you’re driving through the park to get views of it from a distance as well.
3. Mineral King
Only open in the summer, this is the only car-accessible backcountry in the park. There are plenty of hikes to choose from, but it’s worth the 28-mile windy road trek.
4. Drive or Walk Through the Tunnel Log
This fallen sequoia is the only tree you can drive through in this national park (as long as your vehicle isn’t over 8 feet tall)! Also, make a quick pit stop at Auto Log. You can’t drive over it anymore, but you can hop out to take a photo.
5. Mount Whitney
This is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States and stands at the impressive height of 14,494 feet. Join the thousands of people who summit this mountain every year through a long one-day hike or a two-day hike. After all, it’s only a 22-mile round trip hike!
6. Crystal Cave
Purchase tickets for a tour of this beautiful marble cave at the Foothills Visitor Center or Lodgepole. The cave is only open in the summer but is worth checking out for anyone into stalactites and stalagmites.
7. Buck Rock Lookout
This fire lookout gives you amazing views of the area. Climb the 172 metal steps and chat with the folks up top. Be sure to hold onto your stuff as it can get quite windy up there.
8. Hume Lake
This beautiful lake between Grant Grove and Kings Canyon was initially built as a water supply for a flume. Now it’s a recreation area where you can swim or paddle boat.
9. Crescent Meadow
This treeless meadow seems out of place amidst all the giant sequoias. Here you can take a walk, have a picnic, or just rest and take in the views.
10. High Sierra Trail
For serious hikers, Sequoia National Park is the start of the High Sierra Trail. If you want to make the trek to Mount Whitney, the park suggests taking 6 days (10 miles a day) to enjoy all the views.
11. Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
This is a scenic 50-mile drive where you get gorgeous views of the river and mountain ranges. There are plenty of pit stops.
12. General Grant Tree
The General Grant Tree is the second-largest tree in the world, and it makes its home in Grant Grove. It is also the nation’s official Christmas tree! There is an easily accessible trail that takes you to see the settler’s cabin and the Fallen Giant as well.
13. Boyden Cavern
This is a privately-owned cavern but offers tours that leave every hour. If you’re looking for more adventure, they also have canyoneering and rappelling tours.
14. Grizzly Falls
This 75-foot waterfall is a short hike off the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. The best time to visit is spring when it’s at its full force.
15. Road’s End
This is the starting point if you’re looking to cross the Sierra and also the end point if you’re doing the scenic bypass. You can also enjoy the river, and there’s a spot where you can jump in.
Map to Help You Get Around Sequoia and Kings Canyon:
Photos courtesy of (creative commons): 3. Dark Sevier (cropped) 4. Jurriaan Persyn (cropped)
5. Howard Ignatius 6. qJake (cropped) 8. Brian Gautrey 10.Miguel Vieira (cropped) 13. David Prasad (cropped)
What is the next National Park that you want to visit?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust