Sequoia and Kings Canyon wow spots
Where to go for spectacular scenery, hiking, and giant trees
For moderate hiking, take the 4.5-mile one-way trail to Upper and Lower Monarch Lakes.
You can backpack to camp here ($15 wilderness permit required; purchase at Mineral King Ranger Station), camp at nearby Cold Springs or Atwell Mill campgrounds, or stay at the rustic cabins of Silver City Mountain Resort on Mineral King Road.
Like many of the parks’ trees, it was named in the 1870s for a leader in the recently fought Civil War—in this case Union Army general William Tecumseh Sherman.
Information on the hike (and necessary permit) available from the U.S. Forest Service.
This 2.5-mile, out-and-back trail starts at the end of a 3-mile dirt road just beyond Quaking Aspen Campground. The narrow path winds hikers through a series of vistas before reaching a summit reminiscent of (a miniature) Half Dome. Hardly for the faint of heart, the last leg climbs three sets of stairs along the backside of the mountain to its jutting peak. This brief, knee-quivering experience rewards hikers with 360-degree views of Sequoia National Park. Needless to say, it’s worth the climb.
After wandering through the Trail of 100 Giants, hiking enthusiasts can get their heart pumping via Mule Peak. This 1.5-mile round-trip hike starts with a steep incline and doesn’t let up until reaching two humbling, panoramic vistas. The top features stretching views of the forested valley with rolling mountaintops as far as the eye can see. Boulder climbers will enjoy hopping around the peak’s granite outcrops. Those with a slight fear of heights can still enjoy the sweeping sight from the safety of the flat center. Given its brevity, the trail itself is moderate, yet the 5.5-mile rocky, dirt road to get there requires serious patience for sedan drivers.
Some landmarks capture California’s undeniable beauty–and this one does just that. Perched far above the valley floor, this popular spot comes with 180-degree views of untouched nature. Perfect for golden hour, visitors can unwind on the warm, granite dome and watch the sun set against majestic peaks, including Needles Overlook. Due to its short, 200-foot walk from the nearby parking lot, Dome Rock welcomes stargazers and photographers looking for safe grounds to enjoy the sparkling night sky.