hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Admire the topographical and ecological diversity of the Sequoia and Kings National Parks by exploring miles of uninterrupted hiking trails through the protected backcountry. Offering countless outdoor opportunities, including canyoning, camping, climbing, and swimming, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are undeniably a hiker’s paradise. Boasting a wealth of hiking routes, there are trails to satisfy all types of adventurers. These parks cater to you, whether you are an adrenaline junky seeking a taxing trek or a novice hiker looking for an easy-going stroll through the forest.
Home to Redwood Canyon, the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees in the world, and the Giant Forest Grove—where the world’s largest sequoia is found, many hikes within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are through stands of old-growth forests, which boasts an other-worldly ambiance. Most routes through the groves are well-maintained, family-friendly, lined with interpretive signs, and busy. Those seeking a more tranquil hike will have to look elsewhere- but do not fret, there are plenty of secluded and equally scenic trails to choose from within the parks.
Open year-round, 24/7, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks beckon adventurers of all sorts from around the country. Exhibiting a diversity of flora and fauna—including some of the world’s largest trees, these parks offer no shortage of scenery. Indulge in the grandeur and beauty of this rich area of wilderness and enjoy the tranquility of the shadowed natural sanctuary.
The 20 Greatest Hiking Routes in the Sequoia and Kings National Parks
The topographic diversity and abundance of flora and fauna yield amazing hiking opportunities in the Sequoia and Kings National Parks. As self-titled adventure experts, we decided to take it upon ourselves and curate a list of the best hiking trails in the parks. Try them out and let us know what you think—enjoy!
- General Sherman Tree Trail - Hike to the world’s largest one-stem tree along the General Sherman Tree Trail. This family-friendly adventure circles around the monstrous sequoia that so famously adorns the Giant Forest Grove.
- Emerald Lake Trail - The Emerald Lake Trail boasts an unforgettable journey through the high country to several glacially formed lakes nestled amongst the granite oasis. This taxing trek is a crowd favorite!
- Miracle Hot Springs Trail - Indulge yourself in a natural spa treatment in the great outdoors along the Miracle Hot Springs Trail. Unlike most hikes, this walk is about the destination, not the journey. Soak in the warm hot springs above the Kern River and revel in the gorgeous scenery.
- Moro Rock Trail - Climb up some 350-steps to the top of the granite monolith that offers awe-inspiring views of the Great Western Divide. The Moro Rock Trail is a high-demand, high-reward type of adventure worth adding to your hiking itinerary.
- Heather Lake and Lakes Trail - The Heather Lake and Lakes Trail is another high-country hike that leads intrepid hikers through the granite landscape adorned with picture-perfect glacial lakes anchored by the craggy ridges of the Sierra Nevada.
- Remington Hot Springs Trail - Immerse yourself in the natural hot springs that sit above the Kern River along the Remington Hot Springs Trail. This family-friendly adventure is best enjoyed in the fall when the air is cool and crowds are thin.
- Hume Lake Loop - The Hume Lake Loop is a scenic trail that traces the shoreline of the shimmering reservoir—which offers plenty of outdoor pursuit opportunities in the summer months!
- Trail of 100 Giants - The Trail of 100 Giants travels through Long Grove Meadow, exhibiting the grandeur of some 1,500-year-old behemoth sequoia trees.
- Giant Forest Loop Trail - The Giant Forest Loop Trail is a fun family hike that meanders through the famous grove that is home to the world’s largest sequoia tree and the oldest known living sequoia at about 3,200 years old.
- Tokopah Falls Hike - The Tokopah Falls Hike demands a modest effort, climbing along the rocky banks of the Mable Fork of Kaweah River to the picturesque waterfalls.
- Crystal Cave Trail - Explore the cavern of marble polished by subterranean streams along the Crystal Cave Trail. This exciting adventure can only be enjoyed with a guide due to the area’s fragility.
- Heather Lake Trail - The Heather Lake Trail is a remarkable adventure to the glacially formed basin that sits above Tokopah Valley and the Watchtower Monolith. This alpine adventure is unrivaled in its beauty.
- Sunset Rock Hike - Just as the name hints, the Sunset Rock Trail boasts the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sun setting over the granite mountainscape. Short and scenic, this route can be enjoyed by the whole family.
- Zumwalt Meadow and Roaring River Falls Hike - Adventure to a stunning waterfall cascading through a smoothed canyon along the Zumwalt Meadow and Roaring River Falls Hike. This beautiful trail offers a diversity of scenery and is well worth exploring.
- Congress Trail - Offering sights of some of the world’s largest and oldest trees, the Congress Trail is unparalleled in its scenery. Stroll through the forest of sequoias decorated with carpets of lupines and ferns in the Giant Forest Grove.
- Marble Falls Trail - There is something incomparable to a waterfall hike, right? The Marble Falls Trail is a lovely adventure hidden in the Kaweah River Valley.
- Crescent and Log Meadow Trail - Wander alongside lush meadows decorated with a diversity of flora and fauna before escaping into dense communities of giant sequoias along the Crescent and Log Meadow Trail. This fun family hike is well worth a detour into the wilderness.
- General Grant Grove Trail - The General Grant Grove Trail is home to the world’s second-largest tree—the General Grant Tree. This loop trail travels through impressive stands of sequoias and redwoods, attracting plenty of visitors.
- Bullfrog Lake Trail - The Bullfrog Lake Trail is a challenging hike into the granite paradise adorned with countless alpine lakes. Put your stamina to the test and revel in the beauty of the high country.
- Mist Falls Hike - Explore the forested canyon of the South Fork Kings River to Mist Falls. This enchanting adventure exhibits breathtaking scenery of the mountainous landscape.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks?
Due to their geographic location, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks offer adventure pursuits year-round. The winter months see cold conditions, and the areas of high elevation get plenty of snow, wind, and storms. Though off-season excursions are equally as enchanting and far more secluded, there are inherent challenges to consider. Many roads are subject to seasonal closure, and snow chains or tires are required to safely navigate park roads during the snowy months.
On the contrary, summer adventures enjoy warm weather and ideal road conditions, though you can expect crowded trails. We encourage visitors to explore in the spring and autumn for a more tranquil experience with comfortable weather. Whether you head out tomorrow or in two months, we can almost guarantee you will be impressed by the beauty of these national parks located on the foot of the Sierra Nevada.
Other Outdoor Activities in the Sequoia and Kings National Parks
The Sequoia and Kings National Parks are undoubtedly hiker’s oases, though outdoor pursuit experiences are not limited to just treks. With terrain comparable to Yosemite, canyoneering, climbing, and water recreation opportunities are abundant. Enjoy sightseeing from a canyon overlook or from atop a granite monolith, or dive down into a valley where you will likely find anglers, swimmers, or rafters enjoying the water.
Additionally, the soaring crests and craggy canyons offer scrambling, bouldering, and canyoning for intrepid adventurers to enjoy. In the winter months, these parks enjoy snowy conditions—providing the opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The activities and opportunities to explore the great outdoors are limitless in the Sequoia and Kings National Parks.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
What is the difference between Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park?
The Sequoia National Park was established in 1890 and the Kings Canyon National Park was established in 1940, but the two parks have been jointly administered by the National Parks Service since 1943.
Are the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks separate?
Though technically two separate national parks, both the Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are jointly administered, and admission to one park grants access to the other.
When are the Sequoia and Kings National Parks open?
The Sequoia and Kings National Parks are open 24/7, year-round. Though it is important to note that there are seasonal road closures due to snow.
What is Kings Canyon National Park known for?
Kings Canyon National Park is most famously known for its similar terrain to Yosemite, and as home to Redwood Canyon, the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees in the world.
What cities are near the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks?
Kings Canyon National Park is near Fresno, California, and Sequoia National Park is near Visalia, CA.
Awesome Adventure Tours in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Check out the Sequoia and Kings Canyon 6-day hiking tour that exhibits the best of what these fantastic national parks have to offer. Perhaps you want to explore another corner of California? Head to our website and scroll through our other amazing California Tours to satisfy your thirst for adventure.
Find Other Amazing Hiking Regions in California
- Death Valley
- Inyo National Forest
- Joshua Tree National Park
- North Bay
- Yosemite National Park
- Stanislaus National Forest
- Sierra National Forest
- Redwoods National and State Parks
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Point Reyes National Seashore
- Los Padres National Forest
- San Francisco
The Sequoia and Kings National Parks are remarkable areas of wilderness full of wonderment and scenery awaiting your exploration. Located in California’s southern Sierra Nevada, the parks occupy a landscape similar to that of Yosemite’s— characterized by deep canyons, dense communities of chaparral scrubs, sharp-crested mountains, rushing rivers, towering sequoias, granite monoliths, and rolling foothills, but with a fraction of the crowds.Read More
The best hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Yes, there are more than 10
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks that you should take a look at as well
The Moro Rock, Eagle View, and Huckleberry Loop offers a wealth of scenery that is… Read More
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