Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Overview
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks—two adjacent parks that are managed as one unit—rise from the rolling foothills of central California to the heights of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains. Both parks are open year-round, but much of the land is high in the Sierra Nevada, so expect some seasonal road closures.
Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are home to several natural biggies, from immense mountains to deep canyons to giant Sequoia trees. Adjacent to mighty Yosemite National Park, but no less majestic, the twin parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon are a study in superlatives: Nature is at its deepest, tallest, strongest and widest here. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S., is found in Sequoia, while Kings River Canyon – which rivals the Grand Canyon in sheer size – is found in Kings.
Sequoia National Park Highlights
See some of the largest and oldest living organisms on earth in parkland filled with trees, mountains, caves and beautiful views.
California’s Sequoia National Park provides dual attractions of gigantic trees and fascinating geological features. View wide trunks of giant sequoias and tip your head far back to see their tops high in the sky.
Gather friends to determine how many people are needed to make a circle around a sequoia. For a different perspective, drive your car through “Tunnel Log,” a fallen sequoia on Crescent Meadow Road. Stop for a quiet picnic amid colorful wildflowers.
Visit Giant Forest Museum for information about the biology and history of the sequoias. From the museum, walk along the Big Trees Trail, an interpretive 0.6-mile (1-kilometer) paved loop through a sequoia grove. The statistics on sequoias are impressive. Some trees are 3,000 years old. These evergreens grow to 300 feet (90 meters) in height and 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter. Look for General Sherman, the largest known sequoia in the United States.
Find challenging hikes throughout the park. The Foothills section parallels the Kaweah River. Mineral King, once mined for silver, offers great backpacking up a steep valley. Along the lengthy and scenic Little Five Lakes Trail you’ll see peaks over 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) tall. In winter, snowshoe or cross-country ski on over 40 miles (60 kilometers) of marked trails. For views of Mt. Whitney, make the strenuous day hike to 11,200-foot (3,400-meter) Alta Peak.
Kings Canyon National Park Overview
With its deep valleys, skyscraping trees, and distinctive rock outcroppings, Kings Canyon National Park is the place that John Muir once called “a rival to Yosemite.” By some measures, it is home to the deepest canyon in America!
Located next to Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon Park is composed of two distinct areas – Grant Grove (home to the General Grant tree, also known as “the Nation’s Christmas Tree”) and Cedar Grove. Grant Grove visitors snap photos and marvel at the sheer size of the sequoia grove. Kings Canyon is also home to Redwood Canyon, the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees in the world.
Video Credit: Visit California