Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Earlier this year, Clay and I decided that we wanted to try and visit all 59 U.S. National Parks together (or as many as we can in this lifetime together haha). So a couple of weeks ago during my spring break, Clay and I went to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to celebrate our 3 year anniversary! It was our first time in the area and it was super easy to visit both of the parks since they were right next to each other.
Here's a list of some of the places we got to visit at Sequoia:
1. General Sherman Tree Trail: We took a short 15 minute walk to go see General Sherman, the largest tree in the world by volume! It's over 2,000 years old and even though the top of the tree is dead, each year it still continues to grow wider!
2. Congress Trail: This was probably my favorite trail of the weekend. Leading us through the Giant Forest Grove, the trail allowed us to see some famous sequoias, including The President, Chief Sequoyah, and the McKinley Tree. It also brought us to the House and Senate, a couple sequoia groves. It was quite awe-inspiring standing next to these magnificent trees that made us feel so tiny.
3. Moro Rock Trail: This trail involved climbing 400 steps up to the top of a large granite dome called Moro Rock. I'm normally not afraid of heights, but I'll admit some spots were kinda scary to look down from. But overall, the different views you can get climbing up are pretty amazing. On one side of the rock, we could see a beautiful landscape of trees covering the mountain - that backdrop definitely made us feel like we were in the fall season.
4. Tunnel Log: We got to drive through a giant fallen sequoia (picture above).
5. Crescent Meadow Loop Trail: Our last stop in the park was a loop trail around crescent meadow, where we also got to see Tharp's Log (the park's oldest cabin), Chimney Tree, and more sequoias. The meadow was so green and still had some snow melting on the edges.
[Places to visit next time: Big Trees Trail, Giant Forest Museum, Crystal Cave, Tokopah Falls, Eagle Lake Trail]
Overall, Sequoia National Park was truly memorable, especially with its giant, massive sequoia trees. We loved identifying them as we walked on the trails or as we drove along the park roads. These trees are definitely one of a kind in the world and unique to this part of California. We are glad to have stood next to them. :)
And here's what we were able to visit at Kings Canyon:
1. General Grant Trail: This trail is located in Grant Grove and allows you to see the General Grant Tree, which is known to be the world's second largest tree by volume. It also has a ton of other neat sights, including the Fallen Monarch, The Gamlin Cabin, The Lincoln Tree, The Twin Sisters, and other sequoias named after different states.
2. Panoramic Point: A scenic viewpoint also located in Grant Grove, where you can see the mountains of the Sierra Nevada stretch before you. From here, you can see Hume Lake.
3. Hume Lake: A recreational lake where we saw a ton of people fishing and canoeing. This area has campsites, a chapel, and serves as a Christian retreat site. We drove around the lake and stopped at Sandy Cove for a nice walk near the water.
4. Junction View: A scenic view point on the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. This was a great spot for us to stop for lunch on our way to the bottom of the canyon. There were a ton of colorful wild flowers growing everywhere during this time!
5. Grizzly Falls: This 80-foot waterfall is just off the road and really easy to see. It even has a small picnic area, bathrooms, and makes for a nice quick stop if you're driving down to Cedar Grove.
6. Roaring River Falls: This super loud and powerful waterfall is also pretty much off the road and only takes a short walk to see. It's definitely worth stopping by to see the Roaring River pour over the rocky gorge and collect into a green pool.
7. Zumwalt Meadow Trail Loop: Our last stop at Kings Canyon was a hike around the lovely Zumwalt Meadow. Even though it started raining a little bit, Clay and I were determined to walk the loop and we were so glad we did, because we ended up seeing two bears eating in the middle of the meadow! So cool!
[Note to self - places to visit next time: Big Stump Trail, Boyden Cave, Mist Falls Trail to Paradise Valley]
Kings Canyon was also quite memorable for us, especially because the bottom of the canyon reminded us of Yosemite. It is surrounded by tall granite rock, just like Yosemite Valley. Zumwalt Meadow reminded us of Yosemite's Tuolomne Meadows as we walked on its wooden paths. There's even a North Dome in Cedar Grove, which is said to resemble Yosemite's Half Dome. However, I appreciated that Kings Canyon was smaller and easier to explore, with barely any people while we were there!
Just capturing as I go.