I set out to visit King’s Canyon National Park back in July 2014. The drive into this national park from the west skirts stunning vistas with curvy roads and steep drop offs.
While I never made my final destination, the sunsets alone made the attempted trip worth every penny!
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My last minute road trip to King’s Canyon National Park
It all started with my crazy and spontaneous notion to go and see the General Sherman tree located in Sequoia National Park.
As soon as I had found out what the world’s largest tree was and that its home was in California, I wanted to make the trip.
I helped my sister move in to her rental in Fresno, CA and at the last minute decided that we were “close enough” to visit King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park. A three and a half hour drive each way is close, right?
So, I grabbed my daughter, niece, and sister and we headed out to see this natural wonder.
King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks share borders
From Fresno, in order to get to Sequoia National Park to see the Giant Forest, home to the General Sherman tree, you have to drive through a small section of King’s Canyon National Park. I’m not sure why the National Park Service decided to split King’s Canyon National Park into two sections, but you can see from the map that it is split into two sections.
We headed towards the two national parks from the west on 180.
Leave extra time and early in the day when traveling to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
Unfortunately, we left pretty late for our unexpected journey. Just after dinner, in fact. As we drove east on 180, the road took a steep incline and before we knew it, we were on these small curving roads.
The lowering sun created the most amazing view and I had to pull over to take some photographs. Golden grasses took on an ethereal and magical glow. These photographs beautifully depict why California is known as the “Golden State.”
Because of the many turns and stops, our trip took longer than planned.
Finally, we headed into Sequoia National Forest, close to the entrance to King’s Canyon National Park.
At that moment I finally realized that while we had time to get to General Sherman’s location, we still had an hour or so to go and it would be completely pitch black by the time we got there. Did I really want to see a giant tree in the dark?
After much persuasion, I had to stop my trip to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks and turn around
I can’t tell you how devastated and, quite frankly, stupid I felt having driven so far only to turn around. I had completely forgotten to take into consideration the time of sun set.
So we turned around, a little bit deflated. We chose to make the best of it and enjoyed some amazing sun sets on our way back home. After all, the joy is in the journey, not the destination, and this was one beautiful journey!
Thankfully, this would not be my only attempted trip to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. I was able to return two other times and finally saw the infamous General Sherman Tree. But that’s a story for another time!
Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!
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