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Overview

Home of the highest point in the lower 48, 14,494-foot Mount Whitney, as well as the largest single living organism, the massive sequoia tree known as General Sherman, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks — two adjacent parks managed as one — are at the majestic crown of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Beyond the superlative peaks and trees, Kings Canyon is an incredibly steep and dramatic canyon, a worthy side trip for a scenic drive and a hike. In the high country of Sequoia, the Giant Forest, Crystal Cave (guided tours available spring to fall), and Moro Rock are a few of the top attractions. For overnight visitors, there are 13 ...

Home of the highest point in the lower 48, 14,494-foot Mount Whitney, as well as the largest single living organism, the massive sequoia tree known as General Sherman, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks — two adjacent parks managed as one — are at the majestic crown of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Beyond the superlative peaks and trees, Kings Canyon is an incredibly steep and dramatic canyon, a worthy side trip for a scenic drive and a hike. In the high country of Sequoia, the Giant Forest, Crystal Cave (guided tours available spring to fall), and Moro Rock are a few of the top attractions. For overnight visitors, there are 13 campgrounds and several lodging and dining options in the parks, the newest being the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia. Adjacent to the parks is one of the country's newest national monuments, Giant Sequoia National Monument, established by President Bill Clinton as he was leaving office in 2000, and a worthy destination in its own right. Of the gateway towns, Visalia has a fun downtown and more pizazz than one might expect, surrounded by citrus orchards. But the proximity to California's population and industry has marred the views in the park — air quality is a major issue in modern-day Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Early summer and fall; midsummer can be crowded and hot at lower elevations.