Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Guide

Sequoia and Kings Canyon trip itineraries

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks — whether you have a 3-day weekend or just a day

Kings River
Photo: David Fenton

If you have just 1 day...

DAY 1

  • Admire a waterfall: From nearby Lodgepole campground, it’s an easy 3.8-mile round-trip hike to Tokopah Falls.
  • See the trees: Take a ranger-led walk through Giant Forest (free; check the schedule), then stop in at the charmingly old-fashioned Giant Forest Museum (free; 559/565-4480). 
  • Get a view: Climb a 0.25-mile staircase of stone to the top of Moro Rock and see much of the Sierra Nevada spread out before you.

And if you have 2 more days...

DAY 2

  • Descend into Crystal Cave: Explore a stunning underground world on a strenuous 1-hour guided tour. $13; schedule and ticket information at sequoiahistory.org
  • Salute a general: Head to Grant Grove in Kings Canyon, home to the General Grant Tree. Then learn more at nearby Kings Canyon Visitor Center (559/565-4307).
  • See fallen giants: Just outside Kings Canyon in the Sequoia National Forest, a 2-mile loop trail leads to Converse Basin—covered with the stumps of giant sequoias logged in the early 1900s. Only one giant, the massive Boole Tree, rises above them. Off State 180, 6 miles north of Grant Grove.

DAY 3

  • Explore Kings Canyon: This beautiful canyon could easily fill a whole day. Take the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway 30 miles from Kings Canyon Visitor Center to Cedar Grove, then keep heading east deeper into the mountains, the last 6 miles to Roads End.

Along the way, don’t miss:

  • Boyden Cavern: Take a 45-minute tour through another walkable cave, this one noted for its oyster shell–like rock formations. $13; tours start on the hour; 559/338-0959.
  • Grizzly Falls: The easy 2-minute walk to a 75-foot waterfall starts 5 miles west of Cedar Grove Village.
  • Cedar Grove Pack Station: Ditch the car and saddle up a horse for a one- or two-hour guided horseback ride; planned pack trips are available too. From $40; call for availability; 559/565-3464.
  • Roaring River Falls: An easy 5-minute walk to a 40-foot waterfall.
  • Zumwalt Meadow: A 1.5-mile loop trail that’s easy and beautiful.
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