VISITING KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Kings Canyon is home to deep canyons and the biggest stand of Sequoia trees in the world. With similar scenery to Yosemite, Kings Canyon offers excellent hiking opportunities, scenic overlooks and campgrounds. Drive through the park for views of rapid rivers, mountains, meadows full of wildflowers, and of course canyons.
While technically a different park than Sequoia National Park, both parks are under the same management and the two parks are connected. If you are visiting one of the parks you should plan to visit both at the same time.
Essential Guides to Visiting Kings Canyon National Park
Highlights of Visiting Kings Canyon National Park
- Redwood Canyon and Grant Grove: Home to the largest stand of Sequoia trees
- Hike King’s Canyon: General Grant Tree Trail, North Grove Loop, Roaring River Falls Trail, Zumwalt Meadow, and Mist Falls.
- Visit Boyden Cavern
- The General Grant Tree: Second biggest Sequoia Tree
Things to Know About Visiting Kings Canyon National Park
Best Time to Visit Kings Canyon National Park
Several of the roads in Kings Canyon are closed during the winter meaning that the best time to visit Kings Canyon is between May and October. The best time to visit is when the crowds are less during the spring (May and June) and the fall (September and October).
Our family visiting Kings Canyon during the first week of November and got an early snow storm that shut down part of the park. Below you can see the average temperatures and precipitation in King’s Canyon throughout the year. Note that temperatures change with elevation.
For up to date information on closures when you’re visiting Kings Canyon, visit the National Park Service Page.
How to Get to Kings Canyon National Park
You can enter Kings Canyon through two entrance gates – either on CA 198 east to the Ash Mountain Entrance in Sequoia National Park, or on CA 180 east to the Big Stump Entrance near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon. The closest airports to get to Kings Canyon are:
- Fresno Yosemite International Airport
- Bakersfield Airport
- Los Angeles International Airport
- San Francisco International Airport
Below are some common driving distances to get to Kings Canyon:
- Yosemite to Kings Canyon: 2.5 hours
- Sequoia to Kings Canyon: 1 hour
- San Franscisco to Kings Canyon: 4 hours
- Los Angeles to Kings Canyon: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Need to Know About Kings Canyon Mountains
While Sequoia National Park is known for the massive Sequoia trees, there are actual more extensive forests of Sequoia in Kings Canyon. But Kings Canyon has a lot more than just big trees. You can also find massive mountains that reach summits over 14,000 feet. In order to explore much of this area, you will need to hike or backpack.
The best way to take in the views without climbing a 14,000 footer is to hike to one of the passes in the park. These passes are still over 11,000 feet and offer excellent views of the valleys and mountains. Consider hiking to Bishop Pass, Kearsarge Pass, Sawmill Pass or Taboose Pass. You can also find wildlife in Kings Canyon such as mule deer, lynx, bear and mountain lions.
How Much Time do you Need in Kings Canyon National Park?
You should plan at least one day in Kings Canyon if you’re planning to visit the highlights and will drive the park. If you have more time and want to do some longer hikes, I would recommend at least 3 days for visiting Kings Canyon.
Lodging Near Kings Canyon National Park
You can find several campgrounds in Kings Canyon, although none of the sites have RV hookups.
In addition to the campgrounds, there are also several lodges located in the National Park. You can learn more about the lodges and booking on the NPS site.
Mt Williamson Motel and Basecamp: This is a basic motel accommodation but a great option for visiting as a family
Montecito Sequoia Lodge: This is a fun lodge with a pools and other activities for families.
Looking for more information on visiting US National Parks? Check out our guide: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a National Parks Trip