Sequoia and Kings Canyon

3-Day Itinerary of Sequoia and Kings Canyon


Over a long weekend, you can see the best parts of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and have some time to yourself. Make sure you have a place to stay ahead of time, whether you want to camp or stay in a hotel.


Pack a picnic lunch for today so you can stop to eat whenever you’re hungry or just want to take in the view. The Ash Mountain Entrance Station is the way to get into Sequoia National Park. The entrance to Sequoia is marked by the Indian Head sign, which was made in the 1930s and is just past the entrance stop. Stop by the Foothills Visitor Center to get your passport signed and find out where you are.

On the General’s Highway, keep going up until you reach Hospital Rock. The Patwisha people who used to live here painted pictures on this big rock outcropping. The next stop is the General Sherman Tree, which is a giant sequoia and the world’s biggest living tree. It takes about an hour to get there by car. By climbing the Congress Trail, you can see more of the area around Giant Forest.

To get to the Giant Forest Museum, you have to go back a bit along the highway. You can leave your car here and learn all about big sequoias at the museum. Take the shuttle to Moro Rock and walk 400 steps to see a beautiful view of the park and the treetops.

Backtrack up the General’s Highway and stop for the night at Wuksachi Lodge. Make dinner plans ahead of time at The Peaks, the lodge’s diner. Sip a pre-dinner drink on the deck and watch the sun go down. If you’d rather sleep outside, you’ll need to book a spot at the Dorst Creek or Lodgepole Campgrounds ahead of time.

Day 2

You’ll be driving for a few hours today, so go for a hike early in the day to get your legs moving. There are a lot of choices, but some of the best ones take you to the top of a granite dome. Little Baldy, Big Baldy Ridge, and Buena Vista Peak all take less than five miles to hike and offer amazing views of the surrounding forests and valleys.

Get back in your car and drive west and north on the beautiful Generals Highway until you reach Grant Grove. You can stop at Montecito Sequoia Lodge for a buffet lunch, or you can wait until the end of your trip and eat at the full-service Grant Grove Restaurant.

Take the beautiful drive down into Kings Canyon on the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. If it’s a hot summer afternoon, you can cool off by going to Boyden Cavern. Continue east toward Cedar Grove and stop at Grizzly Falls on the way. The misty waterfall is right next to the road and makes a great place to take pictures.

You can stay at Cedar Grove Lodge or at one of its four sites. Walk through Zumwalt Meadow at sunset and enjoy the view. Find a seat and sit there to watch the Kings River. Go to the Cedar Grove Grill for dinner. After dark, spend some time staring. You are in one of the darkest parts of the park, which makes the views even better.

Day 3

Choose one big thing to do today. If you want to go hiking, you can enjoy the water at Mist Falls or the view from the Cedar Grove Overlook. Visit the Cedar Grove Pack Station if you want to ride a horse on the trail. Or, if you’d rather go exploring, Knapp’s Cabin and Roaring River Falls are both just a short distance from the highway.

Follow the road up and out of the gully to get back to Grant Grove. Visit the world’s second-biggest tree, the General Grant Tree, and look at the other sequoias that circle it. Stop by the Grant Grove Market to get picnic items, and then have dinner at Panoramic Point as the sun goes down. Watch the sky above the Sierra go from pink to purple to gray. Spend your last night in one of the Grant Grove Cabins and think about the next time you’ll visit these beautiful places.