Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are close neighbors and always have been, but of the two parks I think Sequoia gets all the glory. It’s like Kings Canyon is Sequoia’s less popular cousin that mom insisted Sequoia bring along to the party to be nice.
Sure, Kings Canyon doesn’t have THE largest tree, only ONE OF THE largest trees in the world. Okay, it doesn’t have the steep waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, but Roaring River Falls is an easily accessible, pristine alpine waterfall. Don’t discount the wallflower park just because its neighbor is more popular. Kings Canyon has lots of great scenery, hikes and adventures to offer. Don’t miss it.
At the time of the original National Park to Park Highway, Kings Canyon National Park was known as General Grant National Park and it mostly centered around the General Grant Grove of giant sequoia trees. But like many National Parks, beautiful places are nearby other beautiful places and when they expanded the park in 1940, they combined the General Grant Grove with nearby Kings Canyon to create Kings Canyon National Park.
The Cedar Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park is a one hour drive north of the General Grant Grove. That one hour of driving along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway was one of the prettiest parts of the trip so far, even with the aftermath of last year’s forest fire. The tall cliffs of orange and gray shone in the setting sunlight while the Kings River rushed below, tempting us with its promise of fun swimming spots.
I’m telling you, don’t miss Kings Canyon National Park. Not only can you hike to the General Grant giant Sequioa (which is prettier than General Sherman, although not quite as large) you can also camp in the Cedar Grove area, swim below Roaring River Falls, hike the Zumault Meadow or drive the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway.
We loved jumping in the pool of clear blue water below Roaring River Falls. The large rocks made great spaces for sunbathing while the water felt clean and cold as we dove in. Mountain Dad rode the rapids. I swam with Big E. The girls tossed rocks and climbed. We all had a blast.
So here’s my one piece of advice for you. Don’t make the mistake that so many others do and skip over Kings Canyon National Park. It’s a beautiful place well worth a visit on its own.