Kings Canyon National Park
Favorite thing: Kings Canyon is intertwined with Sequoia National Park. Kings Canyon is home to the deepest canyon in the United States (8000 feet at the deepest point) along with a lot of great scenery. There is a very nice scenic drive through both parts of the park. Wander through the mountain areas, the meadows, the streams, and hike some of the trails for a better view. I came here a bit to early in the all too short season and was prevented from fully exploring the park due to excess snow.
The General Grant Tree, a Sequoia, is the third largest tree in the world. It was declared the National Christmas Tree in 1926 and is the only living memorial to those who died in times of war.
I am including information for Giant Sequoia National Monument on this page because it is not listed separately. Entrance fee is $20 per vehicle. As a disabled veteran I get in free.
Fondest memory: The beauty of Zumwalt Meadows and the magnificence of the great trees themselves.
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
Rapids on the Kings River
Favorite thing: Between Bailey Bridge and Mist Falls, the Mist Falls Trail follow the South Fork Kings River. Along the way there are hundreds of cascades, cataracts, and rapids. There were a few very pretty ones, a few very noisy ones, but they were all very beautiful. this was probably my favorite stretch of the entire Paradise Valley Trail.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
Hume Lake Recreation Area
Favorite thing: Hume Lake Recreation area is located 8 miles north of Grant Grove on Hwy 180. A turnoff leads to Hume Lake road, which winds and twists sharply for 3 miles before depositing you near the lake.
This man made lake was originally developed to supply water for a log flume that transported sequoias and other lumber to a mill 54 miles away. Today, there;s little to do at Hume Lake. There's a 2.5 mile trail around the lake, as well as boat rentals and a very expensive gas station. I wouldn't recommend visiting this area unless you really have the urge to take a boat on the lake. There are much better sights in the park.
General Grant, by the numbers
Favorite thing: General Grant is 2671/2 feet tall and 107 1/2 feet around. It is thought to be the third largest living thing. Perhaps this third place designation explains why the General Grant tree trail was deserted and the Congress trail, where General Sherman is located, was packed with tourists. I'm not sure that it makes any difference since both trees are plenty old and plenty impressive.
Favorite thing: The Giant forest area is located along the General's highway just past the entrance from King's Canyon into Sequoia. Some of the most famous sequoias can be found in this area, including General Sherman, who may or may not be the oldest living thing on earth.
Favorite thing: Cedar Grove is located at the end of the 39 mile King's Canyon highway. It is supposed to have some of the best scenery in the park. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it since I was limited on time. But the views of the valley, and the lush foliage below, are reason to take this trip. Just note that its at least an hour each way from Grant Grove due to the roads.
Grant Grove Visitor's Center
Favorite thing: The Grant Grove Village is located just north of the Big Stump entrance into King's Canyon. During the late 1800's, this area was known as General Grant National Park, so designated to protect the sequoias from logging. The visitor's center contains the usual exhibits, as well as a restaurant, gift shop and market.
General Grant tree trail
Favorite thing: The General Grant tree trail is a half mile loop which passes the General Grant tree. Many other sequoias are found along this trail, along with some of those which were cut down, such as Centennial Stump.
Favorite thing: A large tree cut down for an exhibition. The Centennial Stump sits along the General Grant tree trail. Looking at the circumference of the stump gives another perspective on just how large these trees actually are.
Deepest Canyon in the US
Favorite thing: King's Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States, with elevations ranging from 1,000 to 11,000 feet. By contrast, the popular Grand Canyon, reaches about 8,000 feet at its highest point on the North Rim.
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Favorite thing: This area is located along the General's Highway between Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks. The monument contains 38 groves of sequoias, as well as spectacular views of the deep canyon and the sheer walls that surroind the area.
King's Canyon Highway
Favorite thing: The King's Canyon Highway is a 35 mile stretch of road along hwy 180 which leads from Grant Grove to Cedar Grove. The road is steep and winding, which makes for slow going. En route are turnoffs which provide great views of the Canyon and King's river.
Getting to King's Canyon
Favorite thing: King's Canyon and Sequoia are two separate parks which have really been combined into one. From Fresno, Hwy 198 heads east to the Big Stump Entrance. From this entrance, hwy 180 runs north for about 40 miles through Kings Canyon. Heading in the other direction, 198 runs south and becomes the General's Highway and leads directly into Sequoia National Park.
Redwood Canyon overlook
Favorite thing: Redwood Canyon overlook is located 6 miles south of Grant Grove. The turnout faces west over the world's largest grove of sequoias.
Favorite thing: Redwood Canyon contains the world's largest grove of sequoias. When viewed from high above, at the Redwood Canyon overlook, it is amazing how small these giant trees appear to be.