The Sequoia National Park and the Kings Canyon National Park in southern Sierra Nevada mountains, California are situated adjacent to each other. This is a logistical bonus for visitors as they can experience the diversity of both the parks in a single trip. The parks offer amazing things in terms of scenic beauty as well as camping and hiking options. If you love hiking then, Sequoia National Park hikes are something you should not miss out on.
Giant sequoia trees, the Crystal Cave, Moro Rock, and the Tunnel Tree (Don’t the names spell magic?) are some highlights of these mesmerizing parks.
Livingit Tip: Summer is the best time to visit the parks when all the roads are open and activities are at the peak. Apart from summer, late spring and early fall are good times (with fewer crowds) to explore some of its attractions.
Can’t wait to know more? Here’s what you can do once you get there…
Sequoia National Park Hikes & Things to do at Kings Canyon
Ascend the Moro Rock
Moro Rock is a granite rock formation in the shape of a dome in the Sequoia National Park. Located at the center of the park, it has a rock-cut hiking trail of 400 steps which takes you to the summit giving you a breathtaking view of both the parks from the top.
Livingit Tip: Wear sturdy hiking shoes when exploring the park’s trails in order to avoid injury.
Go Through the Tunnel Log
When a giant 21 feet wide sequoia tree fell across Crescent Meadow Road in the Sequoia National Park in 1937, an 8 feet high and 17 feet wide hole was cut into the log. It is big enough for you to walk or drive through! That’s how the name Tunnel Log came into being.
Take a Tour of the Crystal Cave
Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park is a marble karst underground cave where you can get to see its unique features including rare minerals, ornate marble streams, and stalactite and stalagmite formations. You can avail a guided tour of the cave to satisfy the geologist in you.
Visit Hume Lake
The 87-acre Hume Lake was built in 1908 to support a log flume. Hume Lake is a recreation destination throughout the year. Fishing, boating, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and snow sports are some of the activities you can indulge in, depending on the time of the year. Hume Lake Campground along the lake is also quite popular among visitors.
Hike the High Sierra Trail
The High Sierra Trail is one of the Sequoia National Park hikes that traverses the Sierra Nevada. The hike is about 71 miles, starting at the Crescent Meadow parking lot to Mount Whitney and Whitney Portal on the eastern slope.
Apart from getting to see the scenic terrain, you can take a dip in the Kern Hot Springs en route or watch the sunrise on Mount Whitney. Plan the hike in such way that the scenic viewing and other activities are interspersed with breaks to keep yourself rejuvenated.
Don’t Miss the General Grant Tree
The General Grant tree is the largest giant sequoia tree in the General Grant Grove part of the Kings Canyon National Park. This ancient sequoia tree is almost 3000 years old and is the second largest tree in the world, after German Sherman tree (Also located here and I am not surprised!).
The Sequoia has also been named the National Christmas Tree. You can explore the General Grant Tree Trail with a paved 0.8-mile loop leading you to other giant sequoia trees such as the Lincoln Tree and the Fallen Monarch. The Fallen Monarch became hollow and fell because of wildfires, eventually turning it into a tunnel or walkway through its core.
Witness the Beautiful Grizzly Falls
Grizzly Falls is a short hike off Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. This 75-foot waterfall is best visited in spring, summer, and fall seasons when you may find the water force at its thunderous best. It is a great picnic spot too.
Spend Some Time at Road’s End
As the name suggests, Road’s End is the end of the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. Enjoy the scenic drive and the Kings River along the route. Also, carry along a Sequoia National Park map.
Also read: Essential Tips for Camping Like a Pro !
Explore the Boyden Cavern
Boyden is a huge underground cavern located nearly halfway between the Grant Grove and Cedar Grove areas of the Kings Canyon National Park.This along with Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park make for great tourist attractions.
Its highlights include a wide range of breathtaking geological formations like stalactites, stalagmites and a subterranean stream, the Bat Grotto, and The Upside Down City. You can go on the Daily Walk Tour, the exciting half or full day Rappelling Tours, and Canyoneering Tours.
Enjoy the Scenic Kings Canyon Byway
The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway begins in the Sierra Nevada foothills, traverses about 50 miles, and leads to the Cedar Grove area at Roads End along Highway 180, of the Kings Canyon National Park.
Gigantic sequoia trees, natural caves, hiking trails, scenic wilderness, mountain ranges, wildlife, deep canyons, and natural geological formations are the amazing highlights along the byway.
Stroll in the Crescent Meadow
The picturesque Crescent Meadow is crescent-shaped and is located in the Sequoia National Park. It has a large picnic area and a one-hour looped trail that goes around the center of the meadow. It leads you to scenic views of the fields, wildflowers, trees, and if you are lucky you can spot fascinating mountain wildlife too.
Hike Up Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney lies on the boundary of the Sequoia National Park and is the highest peak in the Sierra Nevada (at a height of 14,494 feet). There are several routes leading to Mount Whitney but the most popular one is the 11-mile Mount Whitney Trail. A great activity for climbing and hiking enthusiasts!
Get to Buck Rock Lookout
The Buck Rock fire lookout is positioned on a huge granite rock dome offering a spectacular view. It stretches from the Great Western Divide to other magnificent high mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A 172-step staircase suspended from the side of the rock helps in the ascent. It makes for one of the best day hikes in Sequoia.
Walk around the Giant Forest
The Giant Forest located within the Sequoia National Park is famous for its astounding giant sequoia trees. Just walk around the forest and soak in the beauty around or follow the many foot trails it offers.
It will lead you to the largest living thing on earth, the General Sherman Tree! You may also hike the Congress Trail which takes you to the President Tree, another giant sequoia.
Head to Mineral King
Mineral King is a valley located in the southern part of Sequoia National Park. The 24.5-mile steep and narrow road to this alpine glacial valley is in itself an adventurous journey. It gains almost 7,000 feet as it rises up the north side of the East Fork of the Kaweah valley.
The steep climb offers a panoramic view of scenic trails, glistening lakes, verdant alpine meadows, granite peaks, and stunning passes. The place also offers a few hiking trails.
A visit to these parks entails adventure, love for nature, trekking, hiking, camping, and driving, all rolled into one. Just can’t wait to get there? Get ready for an experience of a lifetime!
Must-Have Gear for Trekking will help you enjoy the two wholesome outdoor destinations.
Livingit Tip: Before planning your trip, seek information about the permits required for the activities, camping, and lodging facilities and the best season to visit the parks. You can opt for guided tours if available. Make a note of the Dos and Don’ts too. You can also skip a few activities if you are scared of heights.
Enjoy these Sequoia National Park hikes and Kings Canyon National Park attractions and let us know about your favourite places at these National Parks in the comments below!