A Guide to Kings Canyon National Park

Best known for its groves of Sequoia trees, Kings Canyon National Park spans a significant portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. But it’s not just these giant trees that attract visitors to the so-called Land of Giants, and neighboring Sequoia National Park. Deep canyons, lush valleys, snow-capped peaks, and terrain ranging from 1,000 to 14,000 feet are all part of the appeal—though the world’s largest trees are certainly a highlight.

A visit to Kings Canyon—to the old growth trees that inspired the writings of John Muir himself—is accessible to all travelers, thanks to a tangle of hiking trails ranging from novice, paved paths to advanced, multi-day trips. And you don’t need any technical skills at all to be impressed by the height, and age, of the iconic trees towering over the California coast.

The main attraction of Kings Canyon National Park is the Sequoia groves. While their imposing height is impressive, travelers may be more impressed by the age of these natural landmarks. Many of the trees are between 1,800 and 2,700 years old.

Grants Grove, located just off of Highway 180, boasts some exceptionally large sequoias, in addition to a great vantage point over the General Grant tree. There is a network of trails in this grove that allow visitors to wander among the primordial forests, meadows, and waterfalls. Choose from a variety of hikes that can last anywhere from one hour to a full day or more.

If you have the time, take the Congress Trail hike from the General Sherman Tree (the world’s largest tree by volume) up to the top of the granite dome known as Moro Rock.

Of course, there’s more to see at Kings Canyon National Park than just trees. A scenic byway offers a number of picturesque viewpoints punctuated by educational exhibits, while rock climbing and tours of the fragile crystal caves offer an unexpected perspective of a park best known for its boughs.

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