Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks
Camping and Hiking Information
Have you ever seen a tree so big, it puts some buildings to shame? Views so spectacular, that you can see a whole mountain range? Rivers and boulders that look so perfect you would think they were man-made?
If you haven't, we suggest taking a trip to Sequoia National Park and King's Canyon National Parks. These national parks are side-by-side in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range, which also hosts iconic international travel destinations like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.
Should you visit Sequoia and King's Canyon?
If you think it would be cool to go from glacier-glossed cliffs, pristine rivers, and waterfalls to old-growth redwood forest in a matter of minutes, then we recommend visiting these National Parks. The amount of sights and attractions to stop and see in these National Parks is insane.
Planning and Preparing to Visit Sequoia and King's Canyon
Sequoia and King's Canyon is perfect for camping and you should definitely book a campground online in advance as possible. If there are no spots available, drive up on the day-of your trip for first come first serve spots. They fill up faster on the weekends than the weekdays. Be sure to get there very early!
There are a lot of campgrounds at this national park so you hopefully shouldn't have trouble reserving in advance. We stayed at Sunset Campground and had a blast.
There are also a lot of other lodging options nearby such as motels and bed and breakfasts.
Sequoia and King's Canyon Packing Checklist
Here's some items we found to be the most useful during our trip:
- Pack your clothing according to the weather forecast
- Snow chains if you're going during the winter
- Inflatable raft, intertube, or kayak for fun in Hume Lake
- Sleeping bags & Pads
- Hydration backpack
- Lantern, headlamp, or flashlight
- Hat, polarized sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Proper hiking boots or trail shoes
- Trail snacks, water, and firewood
How to get to Sequoia and King's Canyon
Sequoia and King's Canyon National Park is a reasonable drive from San Francisco (4 hours) or Los Angeles (3 1/2 hours). Once you're inside the park, it is a little easy to get lost, especially at night. Roads are easy to miss. Make sure you know exactly where you're headed before you leave and drive slowly!
What to do in Sequoia and King's Canyon
It's easy to have a lot of fun in Sequoia and King's Canyon. These two national parks are one giant playground. Whatever you're into, you're going to find it here. You can backpack for a few days, rock climb, have fun on Hume Lake, climb the highest summit in the contiguous United States, and so much more. Stop by the visitor's center to inquire about activities and hikes that fit your skill level.
When we visited we mostly auto-toured and saw the most popular attractions like Zumwalt Meadows and Roaring River Falls. We brought river tubes and had a lot of fun floating on Hume Lake. We also climbed Moro Rock and walked along the Sherman Tree Trail.
If it's not winter time, we really recommend driving to the end of highway 180. It's a very scenic drive. Drive all the way to the dead end and then on the way back stop at all the attractions.
Tips for Visiting Sequoia and King's Canyon
- If you like spelunking (cave exploring), reserve tickets for Crystal Caves
- Mt. Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet, is located in Sequoia National Park. If you're an experienced backpacker, start planning for this exhilarating 2-day hike
- If the weather is warm, bring a SUP, kayak, canoe, or tubes and take a float in Hume Lake. There's rentals available at the lake
- Our recommendation for the best campground in this national park is Sunset Campground. The sites are in the middle of the forest and our neighbors weren't too close. Two other really popular campgrounds at this national park are Lodgepole Campground and Potwisha Campround.
- Roads are closed in the winter, the best time to visit is Spring, Summer, and Fall
Visit Sequoia and King's Canyon today!
These two national parks are at the top of my favorites list and I can't wait to go again. I love everything about the Sierra Nevadas and will never get tired of exploring this beautiful mountain range. Sometimes I daydream about packing my bags and going to live in the mountains...but then I remember how lonely I would get.
If you enjoy your time at Sequoia and King's Canyon, we also recommend visiting Yosemite, Big Basin Redwoods State Park (Santa Cruz), Redwoods National and State Parks (Humboldt), and Donner Lake/Tahoe.