Kings Canyon National Park is an unbelievable place. From sky-scraping mountaintops to peaceful alpine lakes, this national park is truly special. If you’re searching for the perfect getaway in the late summer or early fall, mark this destination on your list. You can climb mountains, float in calming streams, and immerse yourself in a natural paradise.
Keep reading to learn more about Kings Canyon National Park, including why it’s considered a top vancamping travel destination!
About Kings Canyon National Park
If you gaze in awe while traveling through Yosemite, you’ll get a similar feel at Kings Canyon. This magical park features massive rock formations, deep valleys, lush vegetation, and so much more. In fact, Kings Canyon is home to the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees on the planet!
If you want an adventure unlike any other, head over to this remarkable national park. And to truly experience the great outdoors, we recommend exploring in a campervan!
Where to Stop Along the Way
While Kings Canyon National Park offers a bit of everything, you’ll also find tons of adventure on the drive over. Check out our favorite stops along the way:
If you’re starting your drive in Southern California, there are several cool spots to visit. First things first, take some time to relax at a beach in San Diego. Ocean Beach City Beach, South Mission Beach, and Bermuda Beach are some top picks. You also can’t go wrong with the beach towns of Oceanside and Carlsbad. If you want some fresh mountain air, choose from any of the numerous hiking trails in the San Bernardino National Forest.
On a western drive into the park, consider stops in Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park, and Lake Mead. If you’re a rock climber, you have to check out Red Rocks of Southern Nevada, located just 20 miles from Vegas. Here you’ll find some of the best climbing in the country, especially when temperatures drop in much of the United States.
When you’re driving south, there are plenty of incredible stops to check out. If you’re way up in Montana, you can’t pass up Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake. In Washington, make a stop at Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, or North Cascades National Park. If you’re passing through Oregon, take a trip to Portland, and consider stopping at the beaches along the coast. As you pass into California, some of our favorite outdoor destinations include Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mt. Shasta, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite!
Headed east? If so, attractions are found all over! First, you must visit Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea. Here you’ll find quaint beach towns surrounded by beautiful views and fascinating cypress trees. Monterey is also home to Monterey Bay Aquarium, which provides an entire vacation in itself! We also recommend exploring the nearby Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
Outdoor Activities & Attractions in Kings Canyon National Park
As your epic road trip continues, you have now arrived at your destination—Kings Canyon National Park! Once you get into the area, you’ll be blown away by the scenery. Furthermore, you might even see some fall beauty!
Take a look at some of our favorite activities and attractions for exploring during the late summer/fall months:
To truly experience the majesty of the area, we recommend going for a hike. Whether you take a quick stroll or a multi-day backpacking trip, you’ll be rewarded with phenomenal views and unforgettable experiences. For something on the shorter end, try the 0.3-mile Roaring River Falls paved trail or the 1.5-mile Zumwalt Meadow trail. A few popular, more challenging routes include Mist Falls, Rae Lakes Loop, and Paradise Valley Trail.
Would you rather stay in the car and observe the beauty from the window? If so, we can’t blame you! By venturing on the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, you’ll get 50 miles to gaze in awe. This breathtaking ride meanders alongside stunning rivers, deep canyons, and expansive overlooks.
Furthermore, you’ll pass by several of the area’s top attractions, including:
- Hume Lake
- Boyden Cavern
- Roaring River Falls
- Zumwalt Meadow
- Grizzly Falls
If you get tired of riding in the car, this road also provides quick access to a number of fantastic hiking trails!
Sights and sounds are all over in Kings Canyon National Park. If you’re looking for a popular attraction, seeing the world’s second-largest tree tops the list. While nearby Sequoia National Park is home to the largest of them all, King Canyon’s General Grant Tree comes in a close second place. This beast stands 268 feet tall with a diameter of 40 feet! Furthermore, the tree is estimated to be 1700 years old.
Kings Canyon National Park spans 461,901 acres of remote wilderness. Aside from gigantic trees, you can also experience waterfalls, meadows, lakes, tall mountains, and much more. That said, sightseeing opportunities are around every corner!
As summer temperatures can be high and the sun can shine bright, sometimes you need a cool break from the heat. The caves in Kings Canyon are perfect for that! In fact, these caverns stay at a constant 55 degrees all summer long.
If you’re looking for a little cave exploring adventure, be sure to visit Boyden Cavern, just off Highway 180 along the scenic byway. If you’re traveling during the late summer/fall months, you can experience an exciting tour of the cave system. You’ll be able to witness fascinating cavern features, including stalactites, stalagmites, pendants, shields, and flowstone!
With the leaves changing and temperatures dropping, this time of year is ideal for horseback riding. Kings Canyon conveniently offers two stables for your guided tour needs. The Grant Grove Stable provides excellent tours of the area, taking you by the General Grant Tree, Lion Meadow, and other top attractions. The Cedar Grove Pack Station is also loved by many, offering riders an amazing experience along the Kings Canyon River and through the Cedar Grove area.
- Cavern tours can fill up quickly, so buy your tickets early!
- If you want to stay near the General Grant area, there are in-park lodging opportunities and campgrounds.
- For staying deep in Kings Canyon, check out Cedar Grove Lodge.
- Keep in mind the shuttle in the Grant Grove area is no longer operational.
- The September months feature low temps in the 30s and 40s, so plan accordingly.
- You’ll need a reservation in advance if you’re looking to camp.
- Be sure to keep all food in the metal food-storage boxes at your campsite.
Here are some details of the area’s top attractions and campgrounds:
- General Grant Tree: Located in Grant Grove
- Boyden Cavern: Found in Kings Canyon, Giant Sequoia National Monument
- Roaring River Falls: Located off Generals Highway in the Cedar Grove area
- Zumwalt Meadow trail: Starts in the Cedar Grove area, just before Road’s End
- Mist Falls: Begins at Road’s End Trailhead
- Sentinel Campground: Off Highway 180, next to Cedar Grove Visitor Center
- Canyon View Campground: Found next to Cedar Grove Village
- Sheep Creek Campground: Located near Cedar Grove Village
Check out these off-the-beaten-path opportunities in Kings Canyon National Park:
- Take a backpacking trip to escape the crowds. Mount Gould Trail is an exceptional choice.
- Check out Sheep Creek Cascade, a small cascading waterfall in a calming forested ravine.
- For phenomenal scenery after a short hike, visit the viewpoint on Buena Vista Peak.
The adventures above feature fewer people, more relaxation, and, of course, spectacular views!
Conquer this Road Trip with Rec Van!
Rec Van is your destination for top-of-the-line new and used campervans. If you want a comfortable ride when traveling and camping in Kings Canyon National Park, we have the vehicle for you! Our campervans come loaded with all the amenities you care about most.
Check out our campervan inventory today, and give us a call with any questions!