After our recent trip to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon, I have a list of tips to be aware of that will make your trip that much better. Enjoy learning from our travels to make yours perfection!
- If you are from anywhere east of California, your body will be in an earlier time zone. Take advantage of this and get going early to the park! Visitors Centers open at 9 but everything else is visible at any time.
- Getting to Sequoia National Park can be a bit of a drive! We flew into the Fresno Airport and drove 45 minutes south to spend the night in Visalia. From Visalia, it is 1 1/2 hours to Foothill Visitor Center (where this itinerary begins). You could also stay in Fresno, with a longer beginning drive, or in Three Rivers (right outside the park) or anywhere in between. Staying in the park would be ideal if you don’t mind driving winding roads for over an hour to get there.
- From Fresno, the Entrance to King’s Canyon National park is only an hour. If you follow the winding roads and head south, you will arrive in Sequoia National Park 1-2 hours later. (do the Itinerary backward if you come in through this route)
Look at the winding roads!
Roads are narrow and winding. Plan on slow driving and motion-sickness pills if necessary.
- There is no wi-fi or cell signal in the National Parks. Be prepared to be ‘cut-off’ from the world. This is definitely one of the highlights of going to national parks! You can completely unplug and immerse yourself in nature!
- Bring bug spray! There were little gnats, flies, and mosquitos all around.
- Moro Rock: Not much parking here. Probably you will have to park along the road. The hike is a lot of stairs, but it isn’t long and it is a beautiful overlook. I felt very safe with rails and guards around. Many spots were very narrow, but the kids didn’t mind at all. On the other side of the road from Moro Rock, there is a short hike to a Sequoia called the Roosevelt tree. It was easy and quick. My oldest didn’t get enough hiking to the rock, so this was a perfect one on one excursion while the younger girls got a snack and diaper change with dad. *Apparently, Moro Rock is an amazing viewpoint for stars in the dark. With kids, we can’t afford to stay out this late, but my adventure-loving-self wanted to make it happen! If possible, see the stars from Moro Rock and tell me how amazing it is!*
- Crescent Meadow: There are several different loop trails in this area. If you only loop around the meadow it is 1 mile. If you go further out to Tharp’s log and Chimney tree it would be a total of 2 miles. It is a flat and easy hiking trail, but plan accordingly if you want to hike a bit further than just the meadow (and I would recommend it!) It’s beautiful and secluded.
- General Sherman: Park at the parking lot and hike down 1/2 mile to the tree area. Continue hiking to the accessibility pickup area. If you are traveling in high season, there will be a shuttle to take you back to the parking area. If not, have your husband hike back UP to the parking area and come pick you up. (We did this backward and the uphill hike was difficult for the kids after the long 2 hikes we did earlier) This tree area is crowded! We went in the offseason and there were still so many people there! Be prepared to fight the crowds. We always like to hike in more secluded locations (it could be the loud and unaware children we are with). so you can find that on the Crescent Meadow hike.
- Don’t forget the baby carrier! This park was not very friendly to strollers (except General Sherman), so be prepared to explore with a baby on your back or front!
- Pack jackets for early morning and late nights. Even in the shade sometimes we were chilled. We were there in late Sept. so it may be warmer in the summer.
- Vehicles longer than 22 feet prohibited on many roads, so be aware of your vehicle length.
- Cars taller than 8 feet cannot go under Tunnel tree, thus you will not be able to drive to Crescent Meadow, Tharp’s log or Chimney tree. You are able to hike 2 miles from General Sherman if you are interested in those and can’t drive there.
- No gas is available in the park. Plan accordingly. We found that gas was not more expensive near the park than in the bigger cities, so fill up in Three Rivers right before you enter the park if you’re driving a lot.
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