The Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are often left in the shadow of Yosemite’s grandness. However, here you can escape Yosemite’s crowds, witness California’s regal mountainscapes, and walk among some of the oldest and largest living organisms on Earth. Do not skip this on your California tour.
Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are often visited together, as they butt up against each other in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. My favorite way to get there is along Highway 180, through the Fresno County foothills. There are breathtaking views along the way.
I live in Fresno County, so this is the way I go. The Tulare County route is likely just as nice.
There are a few spots to safely pull over and get some photos overlooking citrus groves, vineyards, or simple fields of wildflowers. If you go early to mid spring, as I did here, the flowers are abundant and the crops are beautiful.
Kings Canyon National Park
When you get into the mountains, you have the option to head left – to Kings Canyon – or right – to Sequoia. I head left first, directly to the General Grant Tree.
The second largest Sequoia tree on Earth, the Grant Tree is more than 3000 years old. That is not a typo. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time grasping that reality.
There is much more to see in Kings Canyon National Park, but for the purpose of this trip, I leave the Grant Tree area and head over to Sequoia.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park offers more picturesque views and, of course, more giant Sequoias. A primary feature here is the General Sherman Tree.
This is the largest tree in the world. There are other trees that are taller and other trees that are wider, but the General Sherman Tree has more total volume to it than any other. It is gigantic.
Seeing both these amazing areas will take a couple hours, and plan a few more hours for the drive to and from. This is a fantastic day trip from the Fresno or Tulare areas, and a great way to discover some of the lesser-known beauty of California.