• Giant Sequoia Trees

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon

    National Parks California

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  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Institute Stage 2 Fire Restrictions

    Effective July 28, 2014, the parks are in Stage 2 fire restrictions. See link below for more information. These restrictions will remain in place until further notice. More »

  • Road Construction Delays on Park Roads for 2014 Season

    Expect occasional 15-min. to 1-hour delays in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks beginning Monday, June 2, weekdays only, between 5:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., including delays to/from the General Sherman Tree, Crystal Cave, and Grant Grove. More »

  • Vehicle Length Limits in Sequoia National Park (if Entering/Exiting Hwy 198)

    Planning to see the "Big Trees" in Sequoia National Park? If you enter/exit via Hwy. 198, please pay close attention to vehicle length advisories for your safety and the safety of others. More »

  • You May Have Trouble Calling Us

    We are experiencing technical problems receiving incoming phone calls. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please send us an email to SEKI_Interpretation@nps.gov or check the "More" link for trip-planning information. More »

Fall Drives and Viewpoints

View of the Generals Highway switchbacks from the south edge of the Giant Forest
The Generals Highway offers a breathtaking set of views as it ascends the side of Moro Rock toward the Giant Forest.
NPS Photo
 

NOTE: Fall weather can become unpredictable. Snow can fall suddenly at any time of year on park roads in higher elevations. Be prepared with tire chains, warm clothing, a sleeping bag, water, and emergency food in case you need to wait for the road to be plowed. Check the Current Advisories page for the latest road conditions.

Drive #1: Generals Hwy—Ash Mountain to Lodgepole
Drive #2: Generals Hwy—Lodgepole to Grant Grove
Drive #3: Hwy 180—Grant Grove to Hume Lake
Drive #4: Hwy 180—Hume Lake to Roads End
Drive #5: Mineral King Road

(Note: Drives #1 & #2 can be combined to form a 2-hour drive-time loop through the parks. But we hope you will get out of the car and see some of the many treasures visible only by foot.)


 
Map showing views on Generals Hwy between Ash Mountain and Lodgepole

NPS Graphic

Drive #1: Generals Highway from Ash Mountain to Lodgepole
(NOTE: This road may close at any time to allow for snow removal. Allow 1 hour one-way plus your time out of the car.)

  1. The Kaweah River to Hospital Rock-views up and down the Kaweah Canyon as the highway winds up alongside the rapidly descending river.
  2. Marble Falls-A 3.9 mile trail starting at Potwisha Campground Site #14 takes you to views of a delightful cascade. (Allow an extra 3-4 hours)
  3. Hospital Rock-Stop and see the Native American pictographs and mortars. If Buckeye Campground is still open, consider taking the Paradise Ridge Trail starting at Site #26 to a footbridge across the river. (Allow an extra 30-90 minutes)
  4. Amphitheater Point-excellent side view of Moro Rock.
  5. Deer Ridge-wide vistas looking down toward Fry's Point and Three Rivers.
  6. Eleven Range-another vista overlooking the Kaweah Canyon toward the San Joaquin Valley.
  7. Beetle Rock-A short hike from the Giant Forest Museum takes you to the Beetle Rock Family Nature Center and great views from Beetle Rock. (Allow an extra 20 minutes)
  8. Moro Rock-Consider taking a 1.5 mile detour to the base of Moro Rock. A historic 400-step stairway carved out of the rock takes you to the top and sublime views of the heart of Sequoia National Park. (Allow an extra 1.5 hours)
  9. Crescent Meadow/Eagle View-Consider taking the Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow side road to its end. Excellent trails offer beautiful views of Crescent Meadow and stunning vistas of the Great Western Divide from Eagle View. (Allow 1 hour for Crescent Meadow and 1.5 hours for Eagle View.)
  10. . Marble Fork Canyon- The Generals Highway from Giant Forest to Lodgepole offers dramatic views of the Marble Fork Canyon through the trees.
  11. . Lodgepole: Tokopah Trail offers great views of a glacially-carved granite canyon, including the 1,800-foot-tall granite face of The Watchtower. (Allow an extra 2 hours)
 
Map showing viewpoints on Generals Hwy between Lodgepole and Grant Grove

NPS Graphic

Drive #2: Generals Highway from Lodgepole to Grant Grove.
(NOTE: This road may close at any time to allow for snow removal. Allow 1 hour one-way plus additional time for side trips and time out of the car.)

  1. Lodgepole to Grant Grove—Pleasant mountain vistas through the trees of foothills and the San Joaquin Valley 6-7,000 feet below.
  2. Little Baldy—A 1.7 mile trail takes you to a rocky summit with grand views of the North Fork and Marble Fork canyons. (Allow an extra 3 hours)
  3. Big Baldy—A 2-mile trail takes you to breathtaking views of Redwood Canyon. (Allow an extra 4 hours)
  4. Big Meadows Road—This forest road offers beautiful views of Boulder Creek and leads to a short trail to the top of Lookout Peak 4,000 feet above Cedar Grove Village in the Kings Canyon. (Allow an extra 4-6 hours)
  5. Buck Rock—Forest roads (14S11 then 13S04) off the Big Meadows Road take you to the short trail leading up to this historic fire lookout giving great views of the Kings Canyon. (Allow 2-3 hours)
  6. Kings Canyon Overlook—Impressive views of the Kings Canyon and High Sierra wilderness.
  7. Buena Vista Peak—A 1-mile trail leads to great views of Redwood Canyon, Buck Rock Lookout, and the High Sierra. (Allow an extra 2-3 hours)
  8. Redwood Mountain Overlook—Excellent view overlooking the world's largest sequoia grove.
  9. Redwood Mountain Grove—A dirt road leads to trails through the world's largest grove of sequoias. (Allow several hours, depending on how far you want to stroll under the sequoias)

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Map showing views on Hwy 180 around Grant Grove

NPS Graphic

Drive #3: Hwy 180 Grant Grove to Hume Lake
(NOTE: This road may close at any time to allow for snow removal. The Quail Flat Road typically closes after first snowfall. Allow 2 hours round trip plus time out of the car)

  1. Panoramic Point Road—Spectacular vista of the High Sierra. Go east through the new Kings Canyon Visitor Center parking lot, left around the meadow, then right at the intersection signed "Panoramic Point." Walk .25 miles up to the viewpoint. Consider continuing your hike on the 2-mile Park Ridge Trail to the Park Ridge Fire Lookout. (Allow an extra 4 hours to the lookout)
  2. McGee View—Nice views of McGee Creek.
  3. Converse Basin—Walk a 2-mile loop to see a huge ghost forest of sequoia stumps and one standing monarch, the Boole Tree. (Allow an extra 1.5 hours)
  4. Hume Lake—See a beautiful lake with nice beaches formed by a rare and historic multiple-arch dam. Consider walking the easy 2.5 mile trail around the lake. (Allow an extra 1.5 hours to walk around the lake)
  5. Optional Loop Return: Take the road from Hume Lake to Quail Flat and then return to Grant Grove via the Generals Highway. (Allow an extra 30-40 minutes if you decide to take this more winding route)

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Map showing views on Hwy 180 into Kings Canyon

NPS Graphic

Drive #4: Hwy 180 Hume Lake to the Kings Canyon (Kings Canyon Scenic Byway)
(NOTE: This road closes in early November. Allow 3 hours round trip from Grant Grove Village plus your time out of the car.)

  1. Hwy 180 between Grant Grove Village and Junction View-Progressively more stunning views of the Kings Canyon.
  2. Junction View-Excellent views of both the Middle Fork and the South Fork of Kings Canyon.
  3. Yucca Point-Look almost straight down into foaming junction of the Middle Fork and the South Fork of the Kings River.
  4. Hwy 180 between Yucca Point and Boyden Cave-Drive carefully along this section of the road blasted out of the nearly sheer walls of Kings Canyon. Stop frequently to appreciate the grandeur of this water-carved canyon.
  5. Boyden Cave-Notice the layers of marble sandwiched between strips of volcanic rock. Appreciate the tremendous forces that tipped these layers to a nearly vertical orientation.
  6. Grizzly Falls-A short trail leads to impressive falls and a cool, shady spot on a warm day. (Allow 5 extra minutes to the falls)
  7. Don Cecil View-Take this pretty .75-mile trail up to a beautiful view across the canyon to the Monarch Divide. (Allow 1 extra hour)
  8. Hotel Creek Overlook-Early morning is the best time to hike this 5-mile round trip trail to a nice view of Cedar Grove. (Allow 3-4 extra hours)
  9. Canyon View-Excellent view of the U-shaped Kings Canyon showing its glacial past.
  10. . Roaring River Falls-Feel the power of this waterfall rushing through a narrow granite chute reached through a short, paved, and relatively accessible trail. (Allow 15 extra minutes)
  11. . Zumwalt Meadow-An easy 1.5 mile trail offers splendid views of high granite walls, a lush meadow, impressive talus, and the meandering Kings River. (Allow 1 extra hour)
  12. . Roads End-This pleasant area offers excellent views of high granite walls, access to river trails, and Muir Rock.
  13. . Mist Falls-Follow the Kings River to one of the park's largest waterfalls. (Allow 4-5 extra hours)
  14. . Bubbs Creek View of Canyon-On the way to Mist Falls, take the bridge across the Kings River and climb the Bubbs Creek Trail for great views of the Kings Canyon. (Allow 4-5 extra hours)

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Map showing views on Mineral King Road

NPS Graphic

Drive #5: Mineral King Road
(NOTE: This road closes Nov. 1. Allow 3 hours round trip plus your time out of the car.)

  1. Mineral King Road to Lookout Point—Progressively more breathtaking views of the East Fork of the Kaweah River as it carves its way through a deep canyon.
  2. Lookout Point—At the park entrance is an excellent view of the canyon and a good place to take a break from this windy road.
  3. Road to Atwell Mill—Stunning views of side canyons leading up to the Hockett Plateau.
  4. Atwell-Hockett Trail—Consider stopping in Atwell Mill to walk a short way down this trail for close-up views of the river as it begins to carve the steep canyon you just climbed. (Allow 1 extra hour—2 extra hours if you descend all the way to the bridge just below the waterfall)
  5. Mineral King Valley—Sublime views of a high alpine valley surrounded by tall peaks.
  6. Timber Gap—Every step you take up this steep historic trail will reward you with ever better views of a classic view of Mineral King. (Allow 4 hours round trip to the gap)
  7. Trails to Lakes—Leaving Mineral King Valley are numerous steep trails to picturesque alpine lakes and lovely views of sublime alpine country. (Allow 4-6 hours round trip per trail)

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Did You Know?

California flag with a grizzly bear on it.

Although California's state flag has a grizzly bear on it, no grizzlies live in California anymore. The last known grizzly in the state was shot in 1922 just outside what is now Kings Canyon National Park. The remaining bears are all black bears -- no matter what color they are.