No matter how many other national parks I explore, it’s Sequoia that holds a special place in my heart. Sequoia National Park is a magnificent place that is much more than the giant redwoods of its name. And, I’m always surprised to hear from life-long Californians that they’ve never been. Which is crazy as you essentially get two national parks in one place – the Generals Highway through Sequoia connects to Kings Canyon National Park, which is an equally stunning place to explore.
In hopes of adding Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to your bucket list, here are 20 photos to inspire you to visit highlighting the various things one can do in these parks.
Sequoia National Park
Every trip to Sequoia, for me, begins with a visit to Moro Rock. Driving up from the south entrance, Moro Rock is seen high above. Nothing compares to taking in sunrise from this viewpoint. And the added bonus – at that time, you typically have the place to yourself. I love the peace I feel when I’m up there.
There are very few places in the world where you can drive through a tree. One of those places is in Sequoia. How can you resist?
This is the go-to-spot for walking among the forest giants. Not to mention, you’ll also encounter the world’s largest tree by volume – the Sherman Tree. You can’t help but feel small below these towering sequoias.
Many of the trees have scars from forest fires, some seem to be completely hollowed out. Yet, the trees are still thriving. No matter how many times I’ve walked this trail, I still find myself in complete awe.
An easy hike along the Kaweah River leads to Tokopah Falls in the Lodgepole area. The massive boulders at the foot of the falls provide the perfect location to enjoy a picnic while marveling at the Watch Tower.
This area is one of my favorites in the park. For a different view, the more difficult Lakes Trail (trail head from Wolverton), offers a bird’s eye view of the Lodgepole area. It’s an incredible view!
The drive through Sequoia from the South Entrance of the park from Three Rivers is one of the most fun roads in any national park to drive. There are A LOT of switchbacks!
Kings Canyon National Park
Home to the third largest tree on the planet in volume, Grant Grove has some massively impressive sequoias including the Grant Tree and the twin sisters. It even has my favorite grouping of sequoias in the entire place.
The serene Zumwalt Meadow is a must visit. A short trail leads around the meadow. But, it’s that first view that captures your attention. I always stop by there as it is just so ideal. The river. The green. The mountains. It’s perfect.
Roaring River Falls
Though the falls is small, it is quite powerful, which, in its confined area, can be loud. It’s easy to pass some time sitting on one of the surrounding boulders just watching the plummeting water.
Driving down into the canyon, you have epic views around every bend. And once you are in the canyon, the best place to take it in is on the Copper Creek Trail. Hike up several of the switchbacks and you’ll be rewarded with an astounding view.
If you are really adventurous, continue on the trail for 6 miles and you are doubly rewarded for your efforts. It certainly filled me with joy while making me feel small and insignificant. But both Sequoia and Kings Canyon leaves you with that feeling no matter where you find yourself in these parks. The grandeur of nature is on full display here.
Sequoia will always be my number one national park. When you go and discover all that Sequoia has to offer (which is even more than above), I know you’ll understand why. And, perhaps, it will also become your favorite park, too.