It was with a divided heart I left Yosemite to continue my trip. Instead of going along the California coast up to Oregon as originally planned I decided to go see Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. They are connected but I quickly learned both offer something different.
After a few days away from civilization it’s always hard for me to acclimate to highways and lots of cars. Luckily it’s a fairly short drive from Yosemite to Kings through the Fresno valley. The climb up to Kings is extra nice as you are leaving the smog and haze in the valley for beautiful hills.
Note: If you are pulling a camper or drive an RV check with both parks before hand. Both Kings Canyon and Sequoia have restrictions on vehicle lengths.
I arrived in time to find a great camp spot, eat dinner and then enjoy the sunset. I picked Sunset campground which proved to be the spot for sunsets! There are 3 campgrounds just as you enter the park close to the Visitor Center in Grant Grove Village. The Visitor Center has a cafe and restaurant but there is no gas station in the park so plan accordingly. Cell phone service is also spotty.
After an incredible sunset I set my internal clock to wake up early so that I could watch the sunrise on the other side. Little did I know I was about to have a dream come true. It pays off to be out early. At first I wasn’t sure what I was seeing but there he or she was. A bear crossing the road!!!
After my bear sighting I drove to check out the General Grant Tree area. It’s an easy walk loop and sports some of the worlds largest trees. Definitely worth the stop.
After a fun visit at the General Grant tree area it was time to go to an overlook with views of the Sequoia National Forest. It was a steep, narrow and long drive so between that, the bear sighting and my stop at General Grant Tree the sun had already risen but that’s okay. It’s not every day you get to see a bear!
Then it was time to check out the rest of the park, namely Kings Canyon Scenic byway, which is actually a dead end road. Plan for at least a three hour round trip. There are so many amazing views along that road you will stop a lot. The road is open all the way in the summer but in the winter it is closed after Yucca Point.
Along the scenic by way there’s a cave called Boyden Cave but since I’ve been in similar caves I decided to save my money. But it’s a perfect spot to sit along the river and enjoy lunch. You definitely want to stop at the Grizzly Falls that is not far after the cave.
After enjoying the scenic route both ways you have two options for connecting to Sequoia National Park. You can either go back the way you came or take the road that takes you to Hume Lake, which is not in the park but in the Sequoia National Forest. That road is only open in the summer. Since I wanted to go swim and enjoy some water time I choose the road via Hume Lake.
Hume lake is a beautiful mountain lake that is pretty quiet until you get to the end of the lake where there is a resort with pools, teenage camps, hotel and a general store. The water was incredibly warm and I was tempted to stay there for the rest of my life. I could have rented a cabin and settled in but in my usual fashion of wanting to move on I headed towards Sequoia National Park instead.