Meet Sequoia and Kings Canyon

The parks' best attractions, getting there, and when to go

Sequoia valley

Photo by Carr Clifton

Kings Canyon

Breathtaking views flank Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, which curves into the heart of the park.

David Fenton

Sequoia Park's Moro Rock

GETTING THERE 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lie in the Sierra Nevada range in Central California, about 230 miles north of Los Angeles and about 275 miles southeast of San Francisco.

WHAT TO SEE

You’ve come to see the trees, of course. And you won’t be disappointed.

Count the giant sequoias of Sequoia National Park as one of those natural wonders you need to experience in person, because no picture does them justice.

Estimated to be up to 2,700 years old, they rise nearly 300 feet tall and more than 100 feet around, making them the largest (by volume) trees on Earth. And they flourish only here on the western slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada.

Sequoia’s giant sequoias are knockouts. But 635-square-mile Sequoia National Park and its next-door neighbor, Kings Canyon National Park, contain a whole vacation’s worth of other attractions to awe you.

Want waterfalls? Try Tokopah or Grizzly.

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (State 180) begins in the Sierra Nevada foothills, then runs through the spectacular glacier-carved canyon that gives that park its name.

On the south edge of Sequoia, Mineral King is one of the most beautifully untouched yet accessible oases of mountain wilderness around.

And if you’re up for adding a major accomplishment to your travel Life List, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney, stands at 14,494 feet on Sequoia’s eastern boundary.

Slide show: Top wow spots of Sequoia and Kings canyon

GETTING ORIENTED

For the best introductions to the parks, head to these visitor centers.   

Sequoia:

Kings Canyon:

Lodging and restaurants are clustered at Lodgepole Village and Wuksachi Village in Sequoia, and Grant Grove and Cedar Grove Villages in Kings Canyon.

WHEN TO GO 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon are parks for all seasons.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

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http://www.sunset.com/travel/california/sequoia-national-park-trip-00418000068366/