Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Overview

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are home to giants: immense mountains, deep canyons and huge trees. Thanks to their huge elevation range, 1,500 feet to 14,491 feet, these parks protect stunningly diverse habitats. The Generals Highway climbs more than 5,000 feet from chaparral and oak-studded foothills to the awe-inspiring sequoia groves. From there, trails lead to the high-alpine wilderness which makes up most of these parks. Beneath the surface lie over 200 fascinating caverns. Although Congress created these two parks at different times, Sequoia & Kings Canyon share miles of boundary and are managed as one park. Sequoia was the second national park designated in this country. General Grant National Park, the forerunner of Kings Canyon, was third. As you explore this landscape of giants, do so in step with nature. Be aware that human activity may conflict with natural events. One example: human-bear interactions can result in problems for both players. Store all food properly and learn other ways to keep your parks healthy and wild.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

You can visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks all year, though some areas of the park are inaccessible by car from approximately November through May due to snow.

Temperature varies by elevation. Because these parks range from 1,500 feet to 14,494 feet in elevation, conditions change drastically depending on where you are. During winter months higher elevations will be inaccessible.

Directions

Driving: 

Gasoline is not sold within park boundaries, but it is available at locations near the park boundaries. Be sure to fill up in one of the towns near the park entrance or at one of three locations in the national forest bordering part of the park: year-round at Hume Lake (near Grant Grove), and late spring into fall at Stony Creek (between Giant Forest and Grant Grove) or Kings Canyon Lodge (between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove).

Two highways provide access to the parks. Highway 180 enters Kings Canyon National Park from the northwest via Fresno, and Highway 198 enters Sequoia National Park from the southwest via Three Rivers. Highway 180 provides the access to the farthest eastern vehicle-accessible point near Cedar Grove.

To Sequoia Park entrance: from Highway 99 at Visalia take Highway 198 east for approximately 1 hour.
To Kings Canyon Park entrance: from Highway 99 at Fresno take Highway 180 east approximately 1-1/4 hours.

There are no roads in the parks that cross to the east side of the Sierra Nevada. Additionally, there are no roads to enter the parks from the east (Highway 395).

You can visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks all year, though some areas of the park are inaccessible by car from approximately November through May due to snow. Highway 198 connects the Grant Grove area in Kings Canyon to the Foothills area of Sequoia. If the highway is closed due to snow, you may travel between the two areas outside the park via Badger.

Please note: GPS and route-finding units do not always give accurate directions in this area. Double check your route using the park map and road signs.

Flying: 

The closest commercial airports are in Fresno and Visalia.

Public Transport: 

Leave your car behind and access locations throughout the Giant Forest including: Giant Forest Museum, General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Lodgepole Visitor Center and Campground, Crescent Meadow, Wuksachi Lodge, Dorst Creek and the many many more trails, lakes and natural wonders.

Sightsee while you ride--park once and forget about driving, and reduce air pollution. Three routes Sequoia Shuttle routes run May 21st through September 1st. The Sequoia Shuttle runs from the City of Visalia, through Three Rivers, and up to the Giant Forest Museum, where you can transfer to park shuttle. For details and reservations visit www.sequoiashuttle.com, the City of Visalia's website, or call 1-877-BUS-HIKE.