Named for its famous sequoia groves, Sequoia National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range on the east side of Central California. Many folks don’t realize it, but the park is more or less contiguous with neighboring Kings Canyon National Park to the north, making both destinations a perfect pairing when it comes to picking places to stay overnight. In fact, being that the parks are so popular, camping spots go fast, so you sort of have to take whatever’s available.
This being the case, we’ve put together a quick cheat sheet to help you book your campsite quickly and with less stress. While we were at it, we figured it couldn’t hurt to suggest a couple points of interest that you shouldn’t miss. Outside of wildfires and extreme Winter weather, both Sequoia and Kings Canyon are open year-round, so start planning your trip now to ensure you get a spot when and where you want!
Camping in Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks
Campers will be pleased to know that the National Park Service has many campgrounds to choose from situated among the giant sequoia trees and other parts of the parks. Each one is outfitted with different features, from tent sites with picnic tables and fire pits to more modern claims that include RV hookups and dump stations. To see what each site offers and/or make reservations, just head over to recreation.gov.
The NPS website groups the campsites by these park regions: Grant Grove, Cedar Grove, Mineral King, Cedar Grove, Lodgepole Area, and the Foothills Areas. However, since campsites go fast, it’s not always easy to stay in whatever part of the park you want. Fortunately enough, once you’re there, everything is a short enough drive away, so it doesn’t really matter where you end up, as long as you get a spot at all.
We’ve grouped the campgrounds below to make your options more apparent and straightforward with the above in mind.
RV & Trailer friendly: Potwisha Campground, Sentinel Campground, Azalea Campground, Crystal Springs Campground, Sunset Campground
Tent only: Buckeye Flat Campground, Lodgepole Campground, Cold Springs Campground, Canyon View Campground, South Fork Campground.
Unfortunately, the following popular group and other sites are closed until further notice: Dorst Creek Campground, Atwell Mill Campground, Moraine Campground, Canyon View Campground.
Nearby Forest Service Campgrounds
For better or worse, the NPS and NFS run their own separate campgrounds. There are also some NFS sites in the neighboring Sequoia National Forest and other nearby areas that aren’t too far from Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Similar to the NPS grounds, they can be reserved through recreation.gov.
- Tent, Trailer, & RV friendly: Horse Creek (near Three Rivers), Stony Creek, Hume Lake, and Princess Campgrounds
Things To Do
Given you’re visiting two parks in one, you’ve got a lot of ground to cover, which can sometimes be a little overwhelming. If you’re wondering what you shouldn’t miss, consider the park’s most popular attractions. Here are some tried and true options:
Moro Rock: On par with behemoths like Yosemite’s Half Dome, Moro Rock is the stuff both dreams and nightmares are made of.
General Sherman Tree: While you’ll obviously be visiting a handful of giant sequoias, be sure not to miss everyone’s favorite tree at the north end of Giant Forest.
Visitor Centers & Museum: Visitors centers include Foothills and Cedar Grove in Sequoia and the Kings Canyon visitor center to the north. In addition to these, those who are hungry for interpretive information should also consider visiting the Giant Forest Museum.
Popular Trailheads: Although there are a lot of worthwhile trails to visit in the park (including a few that lead to the above points of interest), some of the most beautiful and well-loved trails are as follows:
- The Big Trees Trail starts near the Giant Forest Museum and passes some of the park’s most well-known trees.
- Sheep Creek Cascade: A somewhat tricky 2-mile loop that leads to beautiful views of the Monarch Divide.
- Lady Bug Trail: At 3 miles, this moderate trail starts at South Fork Campground and leads to a sequoia grove
- General Grant Tree Trail: This short 1/3 mile walk takes you to one of the world’s largest living trees.
Got any suggestions for folks heading to Sequoia National Park? Shout them out on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!