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Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks Vacation Ideas
Ideas of places to visit in Sequoia & Kings Canyon
From mountain peaks to tree tops, to valley floor and below, Sequoia & Kings Canyon has something for every traveler’s pace – and altitude! The fascinating geological features and sky-scraping flora stir the imagination of all who visit. Check out our top vacation ideas for Sequoia & Kings Canyon and load up on inspiration for your next nature escape. Deck out your travel itinerary with the most popular attractions and then double-dip to add the hidden gems.
(1:52 in the video) This landmark boulder of Sequoia National Park makes for an iconic photo op for visitors. Find Tunnel Rock on the western side of the Generals Highway, about 1.5 miles from the Foothills Visitor Center. Tunnel Rock, a narrow passageway capped by a flat granite boulder, was once the only thoroughfare for road traffic but now only pedestrians are allowed to visit.
(2:03 in the video) While nature lovers are undoubtedly fulfilled by the epic scenery of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, history enthusiasts may be pleased to discover more than ancient tree lines to admire. Enjoy a meal outdoors at Hospital Rock Picnic Area and visit the main attraction here: the ancient petroglyphs painted on the large quartzite rock by Native American artists. Archaeologists have determined that this area was occupied by Native Americans belonging to the Potwisha sub-group of the Monache, dating back as far as 1350. Wheelchairs are accommodated at one large, paved picnic site. Bathrooms are wheelchair accessible.
(2:19 in the video) A visit to Crystal Cave is a must-do in your travel plans. Discover the mysterious underground world of Sequoia National Park when you venture down through the twisting network of dark caves. On your guided tour, pass through the spiderweb-like gate of Crystal Cave and venture further to explore some of the more than 200 marble caverns spanning the cave system. This rare attraction is suitable for all ages making it a great choice for any itinerary.
The Four Guardsmen
(3:01 in the video) The Four Guardsmen make for a dramatic entrance to Giant Forest. These huge redwoods soar upwards between the lanes of Generals Highway near the southern edge and entry point of Sequoia National Park. For all motorists driving north from the park’s southern entrance, these giant redwoods make for striking sentries to usher visitors into Giant Forest.
(3:09 in the video) To see the towering trees, set off down one of the many self-guided trails in the area. The walking paths, many of which are equipped with boardwalks, bridges and fencing, allow visitors to view the majestic trees clearly without compromising the surrounding soil and landscape, which the giant sequoias need to survive. If you have any questions about the hiking routes or the giant sequoias, ask a ranger at the Giant Forest Museum before venturing outside to explore. Learn all about the massive, cloud-skimming tree species that populate the Giant Forest at this small but fascinating museum.
(3:57 in the video) One of the world’s largest trees rises from the heart of a flat and accessible trail meandering through one of the biggest sequoia groves on the planet. The Big Trees Trail is a scenic route running between the giant redwoods of Sequoia National Park and its lush green meadows. Well-paved and fairly level, the trail is the perfect setting for a tranquil and accessible hike and is also open to wheelchair use. Stretch your neck muscles to gaze up at some of the tallest living specimens on the planet.
(4:16 in the video) By volume, the General Sherman tree is the world’s largest. This mighty sequoia is over 2,000 years old. Like many of these grove-dwellers, it’s phenomenal size must be seen to be believed. Find the General Sherman, an unmissable attraction, along the 1.4-mile loop of the Big Trees Trail.
(4:38 in the video) On the Giant Forest’s edge, Moro Rock reaches high over the greenery. Climb the 350 steps to its granite peak on a picturesque hike that is one of the park’s most popular. The trail is short and steep, offering views to the west of the canyon carved by the Kaweah River and to the east of snowy peaks of the Great Western Divide of the High Sierra.
(5:19 in the video) Located just inside the Big Stump entrance of Kings Canyon on Highway 180, Grant Grove Village is the ultimate base and pit stop for travelers to the region. From maps, books and gifts, to lodges, cabins and dining, Grant Grove Village serves as a one-stop-shop to enhance your national park experience. Just down the highway, take in the soaring might of General Grant, the third-largest tree on earth and dubbed the Nation’s Christmas Tree.
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
(6:23 in the video) The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway navigates 50 spectacular miles of Californian beauty along Highway 180. The snaking road reaches its end 6 miles past Cedar Grove Village where the rumble of car engines cease and wilderness begins. Many of the parkland’s attractions are connected by this zigzagging passageway, which in itself offers incredible sightseeing for visitors.
(7:01 in the video) Follow the self-guided trail at Zumwalt Meadow to indulge in magnificent views of Kings River and the surrounding verdant landscape it sustains. The trail is gentle and scenic making it a great option for families with kids and a fantastic introduction to the park. Be sure to bookend your memorable vacation to Sequoia & Kings Canyon with a visit to Zumwalt Meadow.
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This article was originally published on October 29, 2020. If you’d like to stay updated on new videos of the beautiful destinations that our planet has to offer, subscribe to Expedia’s YouTube channel.
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