Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. – John Muir.
As we noted in our Sequoia blog, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks share contiguous boundaries and are jointly administered by the National Park Service. If we weren’t hauling a 22-foot trailer we could have traveled from Sequoia to Kings Canyon by way of the Generals Highway. Instead we choose to drive a couple of hours around the parks; but, better to know this in advance than to try to attempt the hairpin turns with no outs.
We arrived and chose a site at the Azalea campground in the Grant Grove Area and set up camp. Given the choice we much prefer to camp in the National Parks and have generally found the experience to be much richer. Visiting in October we had a multitude of campsite choices. Hook-ups were not available, but we didn’t have any issue dry camping with the cooler weather and clear skies. We noted however that if you visit in the fall the only open dump station is located up near the area of the Generals Highway that we just drove two hours to avoid. Didn’t make sense to us, but hey no worries!
The two parks have similarities, but are also vastly different. Starting with the similarities we made our way over to the Grant Grove Area. The Grant Tree Trail was within walking distance of our campsite and we took a leisurely stroll and again marveled at the size of the giant sequoias. Naturally we did not miss the General Grant Tree, which is the largest tree in the General Grant Grove section and known as the Nation’s Christmas Tree.
It’s difficult to comprehend the sheer size of these trees as the largest of the sequoias are as tall as an average 26-story building, and their diameters at the base exceed the width of many city streets!
Just a couple of miles from Grant Grove Area we found the Panoramic Point Trail. It’s a quick 1-mile loop trail with a minimal 100 feet gain in elevation to reach Panoramic Point at 7,250-feet.
Talk about a short hike for a view that nearly spans the entire length of Kings Canyon National Park. A most excellent spot for some lunch and some introspection.
No visit to Kings Canyon would be complete without a ride down the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. Traversing some 50-miles chock full of spectacular scenery the road flows along side the rushing waters of the King River leading to Roads End with wonderful Yosemite like views. Absolutely stunning! After lunch we hiked the Zuwalt Meadows Trail, hyper sensitive for evidence of bears, and explored Knapp’s Canyon.
At Roaring River Falls we put our feet in the water and perched on a rock to watch the sun cast its rays of gold in the icy spring, tiny pinpoints of light flickering across the surface.
On our way back we drove out to Hume Lake as it was one of the few places to get gas and we enjoyed a stroll by the picturesque lakeshore lined with colorful kayaks.
Last, but not least, always be on the lookout for the important stuff on your travels.
Up Next Pinnacles National Park