Explore the deepest Canyon in the world, climb to the spectacular views, and discover the most majestic sights in California’s most underrated gem, Kings Canyon National Park. In this article, we’ll be sharing the top sights to see in Kings Canyon National Park, the best time to visit, entry fees, and much more. Let’s get started!
|Park||Kings Canyon National Park|
|Things to do||Hiking, Scenic Drive and many more|
|Hotels near Kings Canyon National Park||Wuksachi Lodge, The Daring Hotel and many more|
|Camping Location||Multiple Locations|
Where Is Kings Canyon National Park?
Spanning over an area of 721 square kilometers, Kings Canyon National Park is situated in the east-central point of California. It is also adjacent to two of the most popular parks- Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, due to which it often gets missed. In order to enter Kings Canyon National Park, you can either take Highway 180 from the west. And if you want to go there via flight, then the closest airports are Visalia Municipal airport and Fresno Yosemite International airport.
About Kings Canyon National Park
This Park is one of those national parks that meticulously fly under the radar and receive the least annual visitors.
The biggest misfortune of the park is that it is between two huge rivals, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park.
Since the views in the park are pretty familiar to these two parks, most people drive past the Kings National Park.
Nestled in North California, the park has so much to offer that meets the eye.
It is home to one of the deepest canyons in North America, Kings Canyon that reaches up to 8,200 feet, taller than the Grand Canyon.
From giant trees and fantastic forest scenery to snow-covered towering mountains, this Park encompasses some of the most majestic sights not in just California but the entire country.
History Of Kings Canyon National Park
In 1873, John Muir, a famous naturalist, visited the Canyon and stopped the timber companies from chopping off the sequoias.
Residents also began to fight for the preservation of the land with the help of George Stewart, editor of Visalia Delta.
In September 1890. President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill establishing Sequoia National Park to protect the giant sequoia trees from logging.
A week later, the park enlarged, and General Grand National Park was created, the forerunner of Kings Canyon National Park.
In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation to create a new national park to include the glacially-formed splendor of Kings Canyon.
The General Grant National Park was subsumed by the newly established Kings Canyon National Park, and now both parks are administered jointly.
Things To Do In The Park
Aside from standing beneath the towering giants, there are many things to do in the Park. Here are some exclusive viewpoints you shouldn’t miss in the park:
Trek To The General Grant Tree
General Grant Tree is one of the most famous sights in this Park that attracts the most significant number of visitors.
It is the second-largest sequoia tree on the planet, standing 267 feet tall. Located in the Grant Grove, General Grant Tree is the only living national shrine in the United States.
Each winter, the sanger chamber of commerce sports a trek to the tree where the visitors can hike as a group through the snow.
A 1/3mile-long trail to the General Grant Tree is filled with astonishing trees and informative panels.
Hit The Scenic Byway
One of the best ways to experience the scenic beauty of this Park is by taking a drive on the Scenic Byway.
This 50-miles long highway is the only vehicle route in the park and offers the most breathtaking views of the park.
The route snakes along several rivers and gives you gorgeous views of waterfalls, high overlooks, and steep canyons.
You can make it stops along the way and visit many popular attractions, including Sierra Nevada, General Grant Tree, Hume Lake, grizzly falls, Boyden Cavern, and Zumwalt meadow.
Scenic Byway is closed for cars and hikers during winters, so make the plan accordingly.
Take A Stroll Around Zumwalt Meadow
Zumwalt Meadow is one of the most popular hikes in the cedar grove area. Encircling the meadow is the flat gentle boardwalk that takes you on a 1.5-mile loop with splendid views in every direction.
Granite mountains, beautiful rivers, and blooming fields are just some of the views that you’ll get to witness along the way.
Zumwalt Meadow is an excellent destination for families taking a leisure hike with no elevation gain.
Walk The Grizzly Falls
If you’re driving down to the Cedar Grove Area of the park, the glorious view of the Grizzly falls from the road should be incentive enough for you to stop and admire this natural wonder.
The 75 feet waterfalls are located in the sequoia national forest on the northside of the General’s Highway.
The hike to the Grizzly falls begins right from the parking lot and takes less than five minutes to complete.
The waterfall varies in size, controlled by the snowmelt on the Monarch Divide. Spring is the best time to visit Grizzly Waterfalls because it flows at its peak.
Junction View Overlook
Junction view overlook offers one of the most incredible views in King’s Canyon.
The overlook is perched on the mountain’s edge alongside the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway in Giant Sequoia National Monument.
This stunning viewpoint gives you a picture-perfect look of the valley below and confluences of the Middle and South Forks of Kings River and kings Canyon Entrance.
A sign at the viewpoint points out the notable peaks, including Crown Rock, Obelisk, Spanish Mountain, University Peak, and share exciting facts about the park’s geological history.
Best Time To Visit
Though this Park is a year-round destination, the best time to visit is summer, from June to August, when the weather is generally warm and pleasant.
During summer, the highest daytime temperature is in the mid-70s, and nighttime lows are in the mid-40s, making the most comfortable time for hiking and camping.
Map Of Kings Canyon National Park
Whether you’re are planning for a one-day visit or several days, it is essential to come prepared to fully experience the beauty of the Park.
Make sure to download the official park map showing the entrances, exits, visitor centers, trails, and other points of interest.
Where To Stay Near Kings Canyon National Park?
Whether you want to stay within the park or looking for something outside the it, here are some best places to choose from:
- Wuksachi Lodge
- John Muir Lodge
- Grant Grove Cabins
- Cedar Grove Lodge
- Best Western Exeter Inn & Suites
- The Parks Inn Bed and Breakfast
- The Daring Hotel
Fourteen campgrounds in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park allow overnight camping.
Campers must make reservations in advance because the campground gets filled quickly.
Each campsite allows six people and has all essential camping amenities, including a picnic table, fire ring, and metal-food storage box.
However, no RV hookups are available in campgrounds. Visit recreation.gov to make reservations.
Weather Of Kings Canyon National Park
The weather in this Park varies depending on the location and can change quickly.
Temperatures can vary from 20 to 30 °F with a change of elevation.
You can see the snow in the Giant Forest and Wildflowers in the foothills in the same season.
Summer brings warm days and a cool evening with occasional thunderstorms.
The average high temperature in the sequoia groves during the daytime is about 74°F which is perfect for campers and hikers.
Winters are lovely but prepare yourself for the icy mountain roads. Make sure to check out the current weather forecast before visiting.
Entry Fee & Reservations
The Park has an entrance fee of $35 per private vehicle, $30 per motorcycle, and $20 for individual entry.
The entry fee is valid for 7-days from the day of purchase. If you plan to visit more than once, go for a Sequoia & Kings Canyon Annual Pass worth $70 or America the Beautiful Pass worth $80 to get free entry in more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.
All the passes can be purchased online from recreation.gov.
Checklist For Kings Canyon National Park
Here’s a checklist of things you must bring with yourself while visiting this Park:
- Seasonal clothes
- Tent/ Sleeping Bag
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- Trekking poles
- Sunglasses & Sunscreen
- Power bank
- Drinking water and snacks
- First-aid kit
- Map& Compass
What is the difference between Kings Canyon Park and Sequoia National Park?
Sequoia National Park was established in 1890, while Kings Canyon National Park was established five years later in 1940.
Both parks are located side by side and administered jointly by NPS.
How many days do I need to explore the Kings Canyon National Park?
To experience the complete list of activities and explore the main attraction, we’d recommend spending 2-3 days in the park.
Do I Need bear spray in the Kings Canyon National Park?
Any type of weapon, including bear sprays, slingshots, and gas irritant devices, is not allowed in the park.
Shefali Jain is a Content Editor & Writer at National Planning Cycles.
After completing her graduation in hospitality, Shefali decided to follow her passion and started writing. Shefali has been writing for two years now and contributes to our website as a skilled editor and content writer with strong research skills. Writing product and service reviews, biographies, and book reviews are some of her key areas, among many others in which she specializes.