Kings Canyon National Park, while connected to co-managed with Sequoia National Park, deserves all the respect of any other national park in the United States. A small portion can be accessed year-round. But the true hidden gem lies over a pass that drops into the canyon portion of the park that can only be accessed in summer.
The canyon is an oasis of hiking trails, meadows, and wildlife all surrounded by the towering Sierra Nevada mountains. There is ample to do in this park but you won’t want to miss these 10 things to do in Kings Canyon National Park.
Stop by Kings Canyon Visitors Center
The visitor center provides a learning experience for all ages on what makes the giant sequoia so special.
It’s also a great opportunity to speak to a ranger and attend ranger-led programs along with participating in the Jr. Ranger program, which is great for all ages.
Visit the Nations Christmas Tree on General Grant Tree Trail
This half a mile loop trail that sits in the Grant Grove takes you to the second-largest tree in the world. This easy to do hike will leave even the tallest of people feeling like an ant.
Hike the North Grove Loop Trail
This 1.5-mile trail will guide you through some of the largest trees in the park. Along this easy trail, you will have the opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystem that Kings Canyon has to offer.
You will be able to see the contrast in size between sequoia trees, sugar pines, and white fir trees.
See What We Have Lost to Logging on the Big Stump Trail
Before this land became nationally protected it had a troubled past of cutting the giant sequoia down. Because the wood is extremely strong and resists fires better than most, it made it perfect for building.
Now protected, what is left are stumps as wide as a house which you can walk on – such as the Mark Twain stump. This easy to travel 2-mile trail is a must-see stop.
Have Your Breath Taken Away Driving Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is a 50 mile stretch of road that starts at Hume Lake and is the only road to the heart of the canyon.
This road starting at 1,800 feet in elevation climbs to 6,400 feet to provide stunning views of the park. Not only will you experience incredible views but make stops along the way at Boyden Cave and Grizzly Falls.
Take in the Panoramic View of Yucca Point
Along the scenic byway stop at Yucca Point for views of the Kings river and a more arid environment which provides insight into the diverse climates the Sierra Nevada’s have to offer.
If you’re feeling really adventurous you can hike the 3.5-mile hike 1,300 feet into the canyon.
Explore the Glacier-Carved Canyon of Cedar Grove
Cedar Grove is one of the hidden gems of Kings Canyon. Because of its location and that it’s only accessible during the summer, it is a less crowded area but provides stunning views only matched by Yosemite.
Chase Waterfalls at Roaring River Falls
Roaring River Falls has a short .3 mile trail that takes you to the foot of a beautiful waterfall that dumps into a pool at the bottom.
Nestled in a small canyon it provides a much needed cool relief on the hotter days.
Gaze Up at the Mile-High Granite Walls from Zumwalt Meadow
In the heart of the canyon and at the end of the scenic byway, you can’t miss Zumwalt Meadow.
Surrounded by the towering Sierra mountains in every direction this meadow offers views of wild flowers, the Kings River and wildlife.
It is a peaceful place to have lunch or walk along the nature trails.
Camp at One of the Many Campgrounds
Kings Canyon offers four incredible campgrounds in the canyon. You will have the opportunity to see an incredible array of stars once the sun goes down. You might even have a run-in with some of the more nocturnal wildlife that frequent the area.
There is so much to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park that could keep you busy for a whole summer.
Loved the tall trees? Make sure to add Redwood National Park to your road trip list.