Kings Canyon Turns 67

Although not as old as Hot Springs National Park, Kings Canyon National Park also celebrates a birthday today. It's 67 if you're keeping count.
Sekimistfalls_copy The wilder half of Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Kings Canyon is a rugged, less visited swath of the High Sierra. But then, that's probably because it's more difficult to reach, requiring a steep, twisting descent down California 180, aka the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, and because there's only one small lodge at the bottom of the highway.
True, there is a tiny annex of the park that's hooked onto the northwestern shoulder of Sequoia, and that is where you'll find Grant Grove and the General Grant Tree and the bulk of the visitors to Kings Canyon.
To reach the heart and soul of Kings Canyon, though, you must embark down California 180. But the trip is worth it. Down at the bottom of the highway at Cedar Grove Village you'll not only find the small lodge and an equally small restaurant but a handful of nice campgrounds, the South Fork of the Kings River, and a few trailheads that will lead you into the high country.
No doubt part of the reason Kings Canyon doesn't get as much attention as its sibling is because it doesn't claim quite as many mighty sequoia trees. But that's OK, for this park's reputation is built on its rugged backcountry offerings, and that reputation is well-deserved.

Comments

Another reason Kings Canyon is less visited is because the road dead ends. Visitors LOVE loop roads, and if they have to see the same scenery twice, they feel cheated. But the canyon is feels like Yosemite without the crowds. Take a bushwhack up an side of the canyon and you'll be amazed at the silence and unbelievable scenery. Also don't forget Kings Canyon incorporated General Grant National Park, which was created in 1890 and officially the nation's third national park.
Don't forget to slice in some time with Mineral King (between Kings Canyon/Sequioa National Park)...great views from the peaks...and much solitude!
Ahh, but what Kings Canyon does have is really a big slice of the best of the high Sierra. With fabulous backcountry destinations like the Evolution Valley and Muir Pass ( http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37.11278&lon=-118.66972 ), the rarely-visited Tehipite Valley ( http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=36.91&lon=-118.77944 ), and rather popular Rae Lakes ( http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=36.80528&lon=-118.40139 ). To try to name a few too numerous to name. What's fantastic about Kings Canyon N.P. is not what you can get to by car, but more importantly, the sights you can't get to by car. If you've missed that, you've missed the park, in my opinion, and the point. P.S. Ummm, Snowbird, Mineral King is on the southern end of Sequoia, on the opposite side of Sequoia N.P. from Kings Canyon.
Your right Steve, but close enough to enjoy all three great parks. Thanks for re-directing my pathways.