According to necessaryhome.com, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are two national parks in southeastern California. Because they are so close to each other, they are managed as one large park. The parks are best known for their towering redwoods. The trees here are on average more than 70 meters high! The parks were installed in the early twentieth century to ensure the preservation of these beautiful trees. Because both parks are only accessible by car to a limited extent, the park is popular among hikers and nature lovers. Below you can read about the most beautiful sights of the parks in Western America. Also check out our Western Experience car tour or Highlights of the West Camper tour.
5 attractions in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
The parks are best known for their tranquility, because many parts of the park are not accessible by car. This makes it a Valhalla for hikers and nature lovers. There are countless ‘trails’ that vary in difficulty. If you like hiking, camping and possibly mountain climbing, a visit to this park is definitely recommended!
1. Tunnel Log
Tunnel Log is actually a happy accident. On Crescent Meadow Road in 1937, a sequoia more than 80 meters tall fell over, blocking the entire road. It was never entirely clear why the tree fell over. The road was closed for a year, until it was decided to cut a hole in the tree so that you could drive through it again by car. The hole in the tree, which is more than six meters in size, has an area of five by two meters. It is of course great fun to stop here to take a picture, and then drive through it by car or walk through! Even if your car is higher than five meters, you can drive past it via a detour.
2. Moro Rock
Moro Rock is a granite pinnacle in Sequoia Park. Although there are several such giant granite peaks in the park, Moro Rock is the largest; and perhaps the most beautiful! A path of 350 steps leads you to the top of this viewpoint, where you have a beautiful view over the park. Moro Rock is a must visit; if only because the point is very easy to reach by car. And maybe ‘350 steps’ sounds like a short climb, but make no mistake! It is recommended to take your time. Not only is this trail very busy, but this steep trail is also at a considerable height, so the air can be thin here at times. Still, it is definitely worth climbing to the top to enjoy the breathtaking view!
3. Crystal Cave
Although this park is known for its beautiful views with granite peaks and meters high trees, Crystal Cave is also highly recommended. After a short walk you will arrive at this marble cave, which is located between Ash Mountain and Giant Forest. In the cave itself you will find icicle-like rock formations and small rivers. It is important to remember that you can only visit this cave with a guide. There are several tours; from easier and shorter tours for the whole family to more advanced tours that take a little longer. These tours are only given in the summer because otherwise it gets too cold in the cave. Even then it is recommended to bring a jacket, because the average temperature is 9 °C! To be sure of a spot, you can order the tickets from 30 days in advance on the website; or purchase on site at one of the park’s visitor centers. You cannot buy tickets at the cave itself!
4. Sequoia National Forest
If you go to Sequoia National Park, a visit to Sequoia National Forest is a must. There are more giant sequoias in this forest than anywhere else in the world! These trees are therefore protected in a specially erected monument (Giant Sequoia National Monument) and they are cared for by the US Forest Service. In the forest there are many different walking routes to choose from, but it is also possible to get an impression of the beauty that the park has to offer from the car. You can then drive over the Sherman Pass, one of the mountain routes in the Sierra Nevada. Please note that this road is closed in the winter months due to snowfall!
5. Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney is the highest point on the American mainland at 4421 meters. This mountain is located in the far east of the park. It is a Valhalla for the real ‘thrill-seekers’: the strenuous 36-kilometre hike to the top is only for experienced mountaineers. You can therefore only climb the mountain by signing up for an admission ticket. In the summer, however, it is so busy that you will be told by means of a lottery system whether you are actually allowed to climb the mountain. This is a tough trip! An experienced climber usually takes two to four days to complete the ascent. This is mainly due to the enormous height difference, not to mention the narrow yet steep rocky paths. Fortunately, it is also possible to enjoy Mount Whitney from your car. Keep in mind the Great Western Divide, a row of mountains that blocks the view from most park roads. For the best view, it is best to drive towards Whitney Portal; or to the town of Lone Pine near the Interagency Visitor Center, just outside the park.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
What is the difference between Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park?
Both parks are best known for their giant sequoias. However, Kings Canyon National Park also has many deep ravines, where Sequoia National Park has a more mountainous landscape.
How far is it from Kings Canyon to Sequoia National Park?
It is important to remember that there is no direct road from one park to the other park itself. You will first have to drive through Grant Grove Visitor Center. Experience shows that from one stop in Kings Canyon to the next stop in Sequoia is about 100 kilometers; so it is wise to allocate one to two hours for this.
Can I visit Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park in one day?
This is possible, but you will mainly be in the car. After all, the parks are huge: you can drive for more than three hours straight and still be in the park. If you want to enjoy the area more, you can choose to spread your visit over several days, so that you also have time to take a walk.
Behoort Kings Canyon tot Sequoia National Park?
No. They are two separate parks, but they are managed as one park.
What’s the best way to visit Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park?
It is possible to visit these parks by car, but walking is recommended for the ultimate experience. Many parts of the park are not accessible by car. It is also an option to spend the night in the park; there are a number of hotels, but you can also camp. If you want to sleep in the wilderness while backpacking, you need a permit.