Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 180) travels from Giant Sequoia Groves down into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Wilderness. The canyon is the deepest in North America and will keep you on your toes as you make the mountain-hugging descent. Stop at Junction View for a stunning panoramic vista. Once in the canyon, the drive follows the impressive Kings River, several waterfalls and lush forest surrounded by towering granite peaks.
A walk around the General Grant Grove of Kings Canyon National Park is the perfect way to experience gentle giants up close. Several Giant Sequoia's surround winding trails of lush forest leading to the second largest tree in the world, General Grant, which measures 268 feet tall and 34 feet in diameter. President Coolidge named this Sequoia the Nation's Christmas tree in 1926 and has been famous ever since.
Big Stump Trail is an important reminder of the need to preserve landscapes through National Parks. This trail in Kings Canyon National Park contains many Giant Sequoia Stumps that were logged in the 1800's. The most famous stump, The Mark Twain Tree, was sawed by two men for 13 days in 1891 and estimated to be 1,350 years old. A ladder takes you to the top to see the rings and massive size of the sequoia. These trees would still be going strong if not selfishly destroyed.
Redwood Mountain Grove in Kings Canyon National Park is the largest Giant Sequoia Grove in the world. The grove also features the tallest sequoia at 311 feet. A windy dirt road takes you to the trailhead making it one of the least visited in the park, perfect for those seeking solitude.
At 7,520 feet high in Kings Canyon National Park, Panoramic Point is a great place to enjoy a vista in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From the parking area, a quarter mile hike takes you to the breathtaking views. The drive here from Grant Grove winds through beautiful woods and meadows and is equally breathtaking.
In the late 1800's, nobody in America believed that such a giant tree existed on Earth. To challenge believers, the life of the thousand year old General Noble Sequoia Tree ended. The stump then traveled by train to its new home at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. At the cost of $15,000, nearly half a million in today's dollars, this tree was cut 50 feet from the ground then hollowed into a 14 foot reassembled section at the fair.
Today in Sequoia National Forest on the border of Kings Canyon National Park lies the remaining stump. Several surrounding stumps can be explored as a reminder of the unfortunate Sequoia logging past. *4 wheel drive recommended to get to the stump
The Generals Highway is the scenic drive that connects Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. It is named after the two largest trees in the world, General Sherman & General Grant Sequoias. The road winds through giant sequoia groves and meadows in the Sierra Nevada and provides sweepings mountain vistas. Generals Highway was dedicated on June 23, 1935 and welcomed 669 cars with 2,488 people. Drive careful on this winding, narrow and steep scenic drive.
Roaring River Falls is a 40 foot fall in Kings Canyon National Park. This granite chute in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a perfect example of how water has carved the surrounding land. This short and spectacular trail is a must for any visit.
Deep in the heart of Kings Canyon National Park is Zumwalt Meadow. The winding trail takes you through tall grass and along the Kings River while the massive granite dome, Grand Sentinel, soars up out of the valley floor. This is the most popular hike in Kings Canyon. The trail is a mile and a half loop and can be done as a leisurely stroll through this alpine paradise. Take beautiful Highway 180, Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Closed in Winter), to reach the meadows.