July 12, 2021

A Quick Vacation Guide: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
A Quick Vacation Guide: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

In honor of National Parks Week, we wanted to share an option for visiting the beautiful Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California for a quick vacation.

Follow this quick vacation guide for different ways to experience the parks in as little as two days if you’re coming from Los Angeles.

You can enter Sequoia National Park via Three Rivers and the General’s Highway or the Kings Canyon areas via the 63 and the 180 through Squaw Valley or the 245 through Badger. The drive from Los Angeles to the entrances will take about 4.5 hours, with plenty of beauty to see along the way.

Option 1: A Quick Vacation Guide for Camping in the Parks

Camping is the best option if you want to experience everything the parks have to offer on your quick vacation. When camping, you are emersed, forced to unplug from technology and focus on yourselves, family, friends.

Currently, the National Parks system allows for reservations up to 1 month in advance, and spaces tend to fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.

Day 1 of the Quick Vacation: Drive to Sunset Campground- Kings Canyon National Park

This campsite is an excellent option for camping in Kings Canyon and has many spaces available, with bathrooms close by and spots for perfectly colorful pictures during sunset.

Each site allows for one vehicle, with some bigger ones allowing 2. There are also sites available for larger groups that can fit up to 30 people and five cars.

Check-in is at noon, so plan to leave accordingly. Try to make it there as close to check-in as possible to allow yourself time to unpack and set up.

If you’re an early bird, leave early to beat traffic and grab a bite to eat when you get closer to the park entrance and maybe even check out some of the sights as you await check-in time. After you’ve set up camp and caught your breath, it’s time to explore.

You can visit Grant Grove Village from Sunset campground, featuring a market, a gift shop, and Kings Canyon Visitor Center. Just down the road from the village is the General Grant Tree which you can marvel at after a 1/3 mile walk on a paved loop trail.

General Sherman Tree-45 minutes from Grant Grove Village

Take a drive down General’s Highway to experience the beauty of the park without even leaving your car. When you’re ready to stop and explore, a half a mile walk from the parking lot off Wolverton Road will lead you to the General Sherman Tree, the biggest tree in the world.

Along the way, feel your jaw drop as you walk among giants in the Giant Forest sequoia grove. From here, either travel back to your campsite for some dinner or continue exploring what the area has to offer. Don’t miss out on a photo op with Tunnel Rock.

Day 2: Drive Home via General’s Highway

When leaving the park on your final day, make sure to take the General’s Highway from Sunset campground towards Three Rivers. Depending on how often you stop, the complete drive through the park may take anywhere from 1-2 extra hours to get back to Los Angeles.

It’s worth the time, especially if you didn’t get around to exploring as much as you wanted the first day of a quick vacation.

Option 2: A Quick Vacation Guide for Lodging near the Parks

If camping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of Air BnB’s available in Three Rivers, closest to the Sequoia entrance. Still, nearby cities such as Visalia, Porterville, Springville, and more will bring you within 30 minutes of the park entrance.

Day 1: Drive to Air BnB

Check-in time is usually around 3 pm for most Air BnB’s, allowing for plenty of time to get there and even explore some surrounding areas for a bite to eat. The Foothills in Sequoia or a drive through Kings Canyon is great to check out if you have the time.

Day 2: Explore Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks

Following a good night’s rest in your Air BnB, check out early and plan to visit the park right at opening time. Spend the day exploring both Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks, seeing the sights they have to offer, and even fit in a couple of hikes depending on the amount of physical activity you were aiming for this quick vacation.

After marveling at the giant trees, smelling the fresh air, and spotting an animal or two, start your drive home full of memories and Vitamin D. Even if you’ve got only one day to spare, you can explore some of the main attractions in both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks if you leave early enough and plan your time wisely.

To feel the true grandeur and the feel some healings effects of nature, try carving out at least two days if you can, and using this guide, plan yourself a great National Park getaway.

Sounds like too long of a drive this time? Check out a quick vacation guide for Lake Arrowhead or a guide to Palm Springs if you’re looking for nature a little closer to home.