In late June we’re going to tackle Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks for four days. We’re hoping for great weather, great hikes, and a lot of time with no cell phone service. Here is the plan so far.

Lodging- With our planned campsite being roughly six hours away and the campground being first come, first serve, we are going to drive out to the Fresno area Wednesday evening. We’ll have the van packed and just load the girls up around bed time so they can sleep in the car. We’ll spend the night at a hotel and get up early to cruise into the park and hopefully find a vacant site around the Cedar Grove area. There are three campgrounds that are all first come, first serve, so fingers crossed that we find one. They have toilets, showers, a general store, and lots of great trails nearby.

Travel- Driving. Lots of driving. As mentioned above, we want to reduce vehicular meltdowns from the girls so we will get the bulk of the outbound drive done while the girls sleep. While in the park, most driving will be done around nap times to get them their needed rest. The drive home will be a daytime drive that will most likely require a few stops to let them run around and get the crazies out.

Kid factor:  

The Kings Canyon and Sequoia parks are considered a backpacker’s dream. It is intentionally underdeveloped and has tons of trails and ability to get deep into nature. That also includes animals. The sites we plan to stay at do get visits from black bears in the evening looking for food not stored in bear lockers. We’ll need to make sure that we keep a neat and tidy campsite, free of food bits and crumbs, as best as we can to cut down on bears showing up.

Another factor we’ll have to take into consideration for the first time is their mobility. The girls can flat out run and they never go in the same direction. One of us will always have to have eyes on the kids while the other completes a task. No multitasking allowed for me and Mary. 


It looks like the visitors center at Cedar Grove has a handful of ranger led programs that we might be able to tap into. They don’t start until June, so we aren’t sure what they will be offering just yet. 

Reference materials/interviews

I got a great book from the Encinitas library – Frommer’s Yosemite and Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Parks (Park Guides). It has tons of great info about campsites, hikes, and exploration opportunities. And it is a quick read. It gave us a good tentative plan of action:

Cedar Grove

Zumwalt Meadow Source:
  • Roaring River Falls
  • Mist Falls hike- 8 miles, but leads to a great waterfall.
  • Muir’s Rock trail- a short walk to where John Muir used to give speeches about protecting the natural environment.
  • Grant Grove

    • General Grant Tree- proclaimed the Nation’s Christmas Tree in 1931, over 267 feet tall
    General Grant tree  source: Miguel Vieira, Wikipedia
    • Big Stump Trail- 1 mile hike through an old grove of sequoia trees that were cut down for logging.

    Giant Forest

    • General Sherman Tree- the largest living tree on earth- 275 feet tall, over 100 feet around….massive!
    • Moro Rock- It’s about a quarter up stone steps to a fantastic lookout point to the Great Western Divide

    Moro Rock Trail in Sequoia National Park
    Moro Rock, source:

    Anything else we should plan on trying to see?

    5 thoughts

    1. Tony and I did both Nat. Parks when we were 62. It is amazing! Enjoy. Hope your weather cooperates. Love to all, aunt G & uncle T


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