Our next stop in California was to check out the giant Sequoia trees at Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. When I was researching these parks before the trip I was kind of confused about if they are two separate parks or one big park. They are two separate parks but they are literally right next to each other and they are both fairly small, so most people just visit both at the same time. I think they could be treated as stand-alone parks though, so I am going to write separate posts for each.
We spent our first day checking out Kings Canyon National Park. We entered from the west at the Big Stump entrance and headed north to find a campground. We found a site in the Azalea campground, which was really nice. The sites are nestled among the trees and there are restrooms with running water and flushing toilets. To us, that was starting to feel like a luxury.
We headed to Grant Grove first since it was right next to our campground and it is the home of the famous General Grant Tree. The trail through Grant Grove is very easy and takes you through an incredible forest of giant trees. It’s really hard to get a camera to accurately show the size of these trees, but trust me, they are massive.
There are a number of fallen trees along the way, which I think is really cool. Looking at the roots of these giants really makes you appreciate them a little more. This one was a few feet taller than I am.
The main attraction is the General Grant Tree. He is the nation’s official Christmas tree and is 267 feet tall and 29 feet wide. He is definitely an impressive tree.
There is one main road in Kings Canyon and it is a dead end road that stops at a place appropriately named Roads End. It’s about 30 miles from Grant Grove to Roads End and the drive is a doozy. Its absolutely beautiful, but is quite narrow and winding in some places so just be careful.
There are a number of pull offs that provide scenic views and parking areas for hiking trails and picnic shelters. We stopped at a few of these on are way to Roads End. Here are some of the views of the canyon.
And here is Grizzly Falls. It was running a little dry at the time, but it was a short walk from the parking lot to the falls and was a nice place to sit and enjoy nature.
Our next stop was Zumwalt Meadow. This is one of the most popular trails in that park because it is known for it beautiful mountain views and crystal clear water. Even the view from the parking lot had me wanting more.
The hike itself is fairly easy. It is a mile and a half loop that is almost entirely flat. There is one section that requires a little bit of maneuvering around some rocks, but nothing crazy. To get to the meadow, you cross over the river on this awesome bridge.
The trail provides a wide range of scenery. From giant trees, to grassy meadows, to mountains, to streams, you get to see a little bit of everything on this trail. That’s why I really enjoyed it.
Our last stop for the day was to drive to Roads Ends. There is a permit station for back country camping and there is also a popular swimming area called Muir Rock that we decided to check out. The rock is really just a big rock on the riverbank that people jump off of into the water. The water was more impressive to me. It is a beautiful teal color and is crystal clear. I understand why people like swimming here.
Kings canyon is a small park, but it is definitely worth checking out. There are plenty of trails, the visitor centers are great, the campgrounds are beautiful, and the views can’t be beat. Have you ever been to Kings Canyon? What did you think of it?