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Kings Canyon National Park

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Overview

Nestled in the southern Sierra Nevadas, Kings Canyon lies next to Sequoia National Park, east of the San Joaquin Valley, and boasts a diverse and dramatic landscape with vast caverns, deep canyons, huge mountains, rugged foothills, and expansive forests. Visitor activities vary by season and elevation, which ranges from 1,370 to 14,494 feet.

Within Kings Canyon, you can experience this striking change in elevation from warm foothills to cold alpine peaks. Kings Canyon is a wide glacial valley featuring a lovely meandering river, beautiful waterfalls, spectacular tall cliffs, and green vibrant meadows. A few miles outside the park, Kings Canyon deepens and steepens becoming arguably the deepest canyon in North America for a short distance.

Also plunging far below the surface are stunning marble caverns, many with endemic cave fauna. This huge variation in the landscape contributes to the vast diversity of plants and animals in the park.

Visiting Tips

Kings Canyon is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, weather permitting.

Visitor Center
  • Kings Canyon Visitor Center - Open daily (all year): 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
  • Cedar Grove Visitor Center - Closed in winter. Open late May to late September: 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
  • Roads End Wilderness Permit Station - Closed in winter. Open late May to late September: 7:00 a.m.- 3:45 p.m.
Fees and Passes
For more information on fees and passes, click here.

Because of the extreme elevation range in the parks, weather conditions vary greatly from area to area and day to day. Head to the Kings Canyon National Park page to double check weather conditions before heading out. Opening and closing dates for facilities and services may change due to weather or other circumstances.

Camping & Lodging

The park offers a variety of campgrounds throughout the park. A maximum of 6 people are allowed in standard sites, but group campsites are also available with a reservation. Be aware, most campgrounds fill up on Saturday nights from July through August. More information can be found here.

For those looking for a slightly less rustic option, lodging can be reserved at the John Muir Lodge, Cedar Grove Lodge, or the Grant Grove Cabins. More information can be found here.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

The Big Trees Shuttle runs daily from late May into September.
  • Grant Grove Loop - free
  • Fresno/Sanger Route - $15 round trip

Be sure to visit the Kings Canyon website for a list of the places you don't want to miss.

Other Activities

Whether you prefer a short stroll or a week in the wilderness, a quiet sunrise or a roaring river, Kings Canyon offers a wide range of activities and hundreds of miles of trails.

Gems in Kings Canyon National Park - 6

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gem Favorite On our way to the Gen. Grant Tree

General Grant Tree

(14) Squaw V…, CA
gem Favorite Top of Glen Pass, looking north/east towards the Rae Lakes.

Glen Pass

(6) Lone Pine, CA
gem Favorite Sierra Sunset from Panoramic Point - Kings Canyon NP.

Panorama Point

(6) Squaw V…, CA
gem Favorite Hart Tree - One of the 20 largest sequoias.

Hart Tree

(6) Three R…, CA
gem Favorite Hart Meadow

Hart Meadow

(1) Three R…, CA
gem Favorite Redwood Cabin.

Redwood Cabin

(1) Three R…, CA

Recommended Routes in Kings Canyon National Park - 7

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Favorite Rae Lakes, Pacific Crest Trail, Kings Canyon National Park.
Difficult

Rae Lakes Loop

40.4 mi 65.0 km 6,971' Up 2124.75 m Up 6,971' Down 2124.71 m Down

Squaw V…, CA
Favorite Sapphire Twilight: Mt. Fisk, Mt. Huxley, and Sapphire Lake at twilight. Evolution Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, California.
Difficult

North Lake to South Lake Loop

55.0 mi 88.5 km 9,037' Up 2754.56 m Up 8,492' Down 2588.45 m Down

West Bi…, CA
Favorite Palmer Mountain
Intermediate

Mist Falls

8.2 mi 13.1 km 805' Up 245.38 m Up 804' Down 245.19 m Down

Squaw V…, CA
Favorite Hart Tree - One of the 20 largest sequoias.
Intermediate

Redwood Mountain Grove: Hart Trail & Sugar Bowl Trail Loops

9.9 mi 16.0 km 1,929' Up 587.85 m Up 1,912' Down 582.87 m Down

Three R…, CA
Favorite Kings River
Easy/Intermediate

Zumwalt Meadows Loop Trail

1.3 mi 2.0 km 104' Up 31.7 m Up 123' Down 37.52 m Down

Squaw V…, CA
Favorite Lower Tent Meadow
Difficult

Copper Creek Trail

13.4 mi 21.6 km 5,263' Up 1604.11 m Up 5,262' Down 1603.98 m Down

Squaw V…, CA
Favorite Scarring from fires on ancient sequoias beside the service road.
Easy/Intermediate

Dead Giant Loop via Sunset Trail

1.8 mi 2.9 km 315' Up 95.89 m Up 312' Down 95.21 m Down

Squaw V…, CA

Kings Canyon National Park Hiking

  • 544 Miles 875 Kilometers of Trail
  • 7 Recommended Routes
  • 6 Gems Gems
  • 12 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 37 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 23 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Kings Canyon National Park

Weather Averages


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Trails in Kings Canyon National Park - 65

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11.9 mi 19.1 km #1Bishop Pass Trail
Difficult
Big Pine, CA
Difficult
Big Pine, CA 15 
7.6 mi 12.2 km #2Kearsarge Pass Trail
Difficult
Lone Pine, CA
Difficult
Lone Pine, CA 16 
10.0 mi 16.0 km #3South Fork (Paradise)
Difficult
Squaw Valley, CA
Difficult
Squaw Valley, CA
30.6 mi 49.2 km #4JMT: Segment 7 - Kearsage Pass Trail to Mt. Whitney
Difficult
Lone Pine, CA
Difficult
Lone Pine, CA
5.8 mi 9.3 km #5Woods Creek Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Big Pine, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Big Pine, CA
43.3 mi 69.7 km #6JMT: Segment 6 - Bishop Pass at LeConte Canyon to Kearsage Pas…
Difficult
Big Pine, CA
Difficult
Big Pine, CA
29.6 mi 47.7 km #7JMT: Segment 5 - Muir Trail Ranch to Bishop Pass at LeConte Ca…
Intermediate/Difficult
West Bishop, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
West Bishop, CA
11.0 mi 17.7 km #8Bubbs Creek Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Lone Pine, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Lone Pine, CA
4.6 mi 7.4 km #9Sugar Bowl Trail
Intermediate
Three Rivers, CA
Intermediate
Three Rivers, CA
20.5 mi 33.0 km #10Kennedy Canyon Trail
Difficult
Squaw Valley, CA
Difficult
Squaw Valley, CA

Photos of Kings Canyon National Park - 275

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Rae Lakes, Pacific Crest Trail, Kings Canyon National Park.
Dec 30, 2015 near Big Pine, CA
Fin Dome from the PCT.
Feb 3, 2016 near Big Pine, CA
Kearsarge Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park - California Photo credit: Jeffrey Pang via Wikimedia Commons
Apr 3, 2020 near Lone Pine, CA
Fireman Lake is located off the PCT near Taboose Pass.
Mar 13, 2017 near Big Pine, CA
Sapphire Twilight: Mt. Fisk, Mt. Huxley, and Sapphire Lake at twilight. Evolution Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, California.
Apr 13, 2018 near Big Pine, CA
View from the final ascent to Glen Pass. You can see Diamond Peak and Black Mountains, and get glimpse of the Rae Lakes.
Apr 29, 2019 near Lone Pine, CA
The middle Rae Lake with Glen Pass in the far.
Apr 29, 2019 near Big Pine, CA
The lowest of the Rae Lakes in front of Glen Pass.
Apr 29, 2019 near Big Pine, CA