Explore Fun Activities in Kings Canyon National Park
By Care Willink
While everyone is rushing to the shoreline or to the amazing Sequoia National park, don’t sleep on this gem of a national park. There are lots of fun activities in Kings Canyon National Park! You’ll find it located right next to Sequoia National Park, about 4 hours from the Escape Campervan rental site in Los Angeles or 3 hours and 45 min from the Escape Campervan rental site in San Francisco.
For us, it was the perfect ‘middle’ spot for our Escape Campervan trip itinerary which was a one way trip from LA to San Fran. It ended up being one of our favorite places we’ve ever been to! Make sure and plan a day or two to enjoy the hikes, sites, and fresh air.
Preparing for your activities in Kings Canyon National Park
First, a word of caution. You may look at a map and think you are close enough to Southern California, aka, warm temps. Make no mistake, it is very elevated and much colder than LA. You’ll also find yourself on many windy roads so be sure to plan your trip according to the weather and watch for road closures! This area gets a lot of snow.
Once arriving at the entrance for Kings Canyon don’t get too excited. You are still about 45-50 minutes from a lot of the trails, hikes, and falls. It is $35.00 for the day to enter the park. For a few dollars, you can purchase a handy trail guide at the trailhead that was put together by the Sequoia Natural History Association and includes 15 entries that correspond with numbered markers along the trail.
The General Grant Tree trail splits at the trailhead to start the loop. Take the trail heading uphill to the left, which will curve to the right around the Lincoln Tree, named after President Abraham Lincoln! After a short bit, you will reach the upturned roots of the Fallen Monarch. The tree was hallowed by wildfires so that when it fell, it became a tunnel that you can walk through! This was our daughters’ favorite part as they can now say they walked through a tree. Turn left and you will head up to the General Grant Tree, which is the second-largest tree in the world! After passing other massive sequoias the trail will curve right into the photo point for General Grant tree.
The trail will start to loop back around and you will find many other large sequoias such as Tennessee Tree, Michigan Tree and more! We were lucky enough to see some beautiful does and baby deer right up next to Tennessee Tree, so there is a lot of wildlife here too. This trail will take you right back down to your car. Such an amazing experience to see these magnificent trees in person and one of the activities in Kings Canyon National Park you don’t want to miss!
The falls were another 45 minutes into the park. There is a parking area and restroom right before you head up to the falls. It’s about a 2-minute walk from the parking lot to the falls. Grizzly is a perfect place to bring a suit (weather pending) and play on the rocks, sand, and water! The waterfall is just gorgeous and very peaceful.
We were thrilled to find that national forest land bordered the park. For the seasoned campervan traveler, you know what this means… free boon-docking! We hit the jackpot about a minute down from Grizzly Falls with the perfect place to camp right next to the beautiful Lightning Creek. The sounds of the rushing water made it the perfect place to sleep. Not to mention the beautiful stars that were out that night. Poppin’ up our Escape Campervan rooftop sleeper tent and cuddling in was one of those surreal moments you pinch yourself to be sure you aren’t dreaming.
The next morning we woke up next to the creek once again, made some fresh coffee and stuck around for a while to enjoy the sites. The girls favorite part was throwing in rocks and our favorite part was for sure some fresh coffee!
Take time for a beautiful drive through the vistas
Although our time was limited in this park, we were so thankful that the drive itself was breathtaking! We had the chance to find an overlook that was one of the best we’ve seen.
There were many of these safe pull-offs to stop and soak in the views, snap some pictures and even make breakfast…well that is, of course, if you have an Escape Campervan! Create your memories while exploring the fun activities in Kings Canyon National Park. Book your Campervan adventure today!