Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks

Giant Sequoia right at
parking lot in Kings
Canyon Grant Grove
These two national parks, Kings Canyon and Sequoia, and Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument are all adjacent so you drive back and forth from one to the other. You either enter from the south into Sequoia NP first, or from the west into Kings Canyon NP first. We entered from the west. You do a lot of driving up and down mountains between major sites.

General Grant Tree
Kings Canyon NP
40 ft diameter
This is the land of the Giant Sequoia trees. You know the old saying "the pictures don't do it justice"? Well, you have a hard time getting these in a picture. I used max wide angle or panorama but then the
picture is somewhat distorted. Make sure you take the time to get quality mental pictures, they are the best kind anyway.

There is a hike to Big Stump Basin where you can see stumps from the logging era in the 1880s before it was stopped. Actually standing on the Mark Twain stump helps give a perspective of the size of a Giant Sequoia.

Mark Twain stump in Kings Canyon
Big Stump Trail
The visitor center at Grant Grove Village has a great exhibit showing a cross section of a Sequoia tree with growth rings and fire damage marks going back hundreds of years. These trees are so big because they are amazing at withstanding fires, insects and drought in their lifetimes and thus they have hundreds and thousands of years to grow.

Drive to Kings Canyon North Unit
The Sequoias aren't the only sights here, being in the Sierra Nevada mountains the scenery in general is fantastic. Kings Canyon National Park has two units, south and north. To get to the north unit you "have the privilege" of driving across the Sequoia National Forest. This drive goes down and up the Kings Canyon following the Kings River. A spectacular drive that dead ends where you get to turn around and go back the other way and see it at the opposite angle.

Kings Canyon
Sequoia National Park is just to the south of Kings Canyon. Other than the Giant Sequoia trees, the highlight for us there was the view from Moro Rock. Climb to the top of it and get a spectacular 360 degree view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Sequoia NP. 

Zumwalt Meadow - Kings Canyon
These parks are very large and you can only see a very small part from your car. There is much more accessibility via hiking. I'll be back to take advantage of that. Being here May 1 was too early. Most roads, trails, visitor centers, etc. aren't open yet. This trip was a great time to see the "highlights" at low crowd level. We got lucky and got here the day the road to the north unit of Kings Canyon NP opened. Check the website before coming to be sure what you want to see is open.

General Sherman Tree in center
Sequoia National Park

View from Moro Rock - Sequoia
National Park

View from Moro Rock

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