We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
177 posts
41 reviews
Save Topic
Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

I have a week to spend in Yosemite area. Do I really need to travel to Sequoia to see the trees or would the Sequoias in Yosemite be good enough to see. My husband has COPD and has trouble with altitude. Thinking of staying in Yosemite Valley or El Portal as they are lower. Also is it worth staying withing the park at Wawona without a private bath (cannot aford 200 a night) or is it just as good to stay in El Portal? We will be flying in to Fresno from Orlando. Is it too much to spend 4 days at Yosemite Valley-we cannot do hikes. Thanks

Mentioned in this post
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
5,715 Reviews
Yosemite National Park, CA
El Portal
El Portal
California
Wawona
Wawona
Yosemite National Park, CA
Fresno
Fresno
California
Orlando
Orlando
Central Florida, FL
Yosemite National Park Private Guided...
15 Reviews
from US$135.00*
Yosemite and Glacier Point with...
2 Reviews
from US$169.00*
Special Offer
2-Day Yosemite National Park Tour...
160 Reviews
from US$377.10*
US$419.00
Family Hike in Yosemite
3 Reviews
from US$88.89*
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
66,735 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

Here is the Sequoia Kings Canyon forum page: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g143050-i904

El Portal is fine. It's only 2,000' elevation and much warmer than the Valley. Wawona is 4,000' elevation but you have to drive over 6,200' to travel between the Valley & Wawona.

Here is some accessibility info (no hiking needed): tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-c156159

Here is a lightly active day: tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i21254

If you have trouble at altitude, you might enjoy spending some time in the Sierra foothills / Gold Country. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28926-i29-k4475035

Mentioned in this post
El Portal
El Portal
California
Wawona
Wawona
Yosemite National Park, CA
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
177 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

Thanks so much for the great links-they are very informative. Still not sure if we should venture into Sequoia or stay in Yosemite. Seems like Sequoia is mostly high altitude.

Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
177 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

We recently returned from doing Yosemite and then Sequoia/Kings Canyon. I have to admit that hiking in Sequoia was more difficult due to the altitude, so you will feel a difference. Personally I found Sequoia to be more than just trees. There are amazing views of the Western Divide in Sequoia--lots of snow capped mountains--that really surprised me. There is Crystal Cave, which is really cool to explore. Sequoia also seemed to have a lot more bears present, which is nice if you like wildlife. We got close to a bear(within reason), others we met got reasonably close to bears, etc. But most things in Sequoia involve hiking at high altitudes and hiking uphill, notably Moro Rock and the walk back from Crystal Cave. So I don't think you'd enjoy it with all the altitude and uphill hikes.

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
16,970 posts
117 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

With the altitude considerations, I would say skip it. If altitude was not a problem, then I would say go for it. I love Sequoia NP - I actually prefer it to Yosemite because there aren't as many people :)

San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
2,266 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

I would do Sequoia for the drive through the Giant Forest, and just skip the hiking. I have only camped at the park though, so I don't know if there are good low altitude hotel options. You can still see some an amazing trees in Yosemite at Mariposa Grove, but I recall the Giant Forest being more densely populated with Giant Sequoia trees. It might be worth it to go stay a night out there if the altitude when resting in the hotel room won't be a factor or if there is decent lower altitude accommodation. Still, the Mariposa Grove is extremely impressive with the enormous and unique Giant Sequoias it contains. For example, the Grizzly Giant, the Telescope Tree, the Clothespin Tree, and the Faithful Couple are all really cool to see with one's own eyes, and there's a great tram tour you can take to see them all.

With a full week it might also make sense to skip Sequoia and go out to Muir Woods (near San Francisco) to see the other species of redwoods though (the Coastal Redwood). Then see the Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove at Yosemite. The Coastal Redwoods are the tall ones like you see in Return of the Jedi, while the Giant Sequoias are the incredibly wide (but still extremely tall) trees.

Mentioned in this post
San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
275 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

I was at both last week.

We saw bears driving up to Moro rock (the shuttle driver alerted us to the cub and mom feeding on a tree stump). They were probably less than 50 feet from the road.

My opinion (and probably common among the majority you'll read) is that if you visit the Sequoia groves in/near Yosemite, you won't need to visit Sequoia NP to see the trees. However, if you have just 1 day extra, drive down there. Just the drive to Cedar Grove (the King's Canyon road to the river) is worth the visit! It was just listed as the most scenic drive in California in the USA today (newspaper). - mountains, waterfalls, roaring river, high cliffs, etc. You don't even have to leave your car to enjoy the view!

Edited: 09 June 2011, 03:48
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
177 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

Thanks so much for your advice about the altitude. As we are flying in/out of Fresno would it make sense to just drive thru Sequoia to see the largest tree (General Sherman) (we have a disabled parking sticker) and then go on Yosemite?

Mentioned in this post
Fresno
Fresno
California
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
177 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

Wow that scenic drive to Cedar Grove sounds great. - perhaps we will do this on the way back to Fresno from Yosemite and just stay outside of Sequoia on the way to Fresno. I can never get over the kindness of people on this site to share information.

Mentioned in this post
Fresno
Fresno
California
San Diego...
Level Contributor
10,738 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

From Fresno, you can drive about 1 hour on Highway 180 east to the entrance of Kings Canyon National Park. The Grant Grove is not far from the entrance, and it is a beautiful grove with a paved trail that is not excessively hilly. You could push a wheelchair around it and I have. It is a popular grove and is crowded, so I would see it early in the morning or late in the day. The world's third largest tree, the General Grant Tree, is there and for my money at least, it's a more beautiful sight, and more beautifully integrated with its grove, than the world's largest tree, the General Sherman, in Sequoia NP is. However you could drive the General's Highway from Kings Canyon NP to the Giant Forest area of Sequoia NP, about a 1 hour drive, and see that area including the General Sherman Tree if you want. There is a lot to see there as well. The two parks are adjacent and managed as if they were one park.

Another possibility is for you to take the scenic drive from the Grant Grove area down into Kings Canyon itself. The drive takes about one hour each way. You will get faraway views and then close-up views of the Kings River, which dominates Kings Canyon more than the Merced River dominates Yosemite Valley. A video I took last July of the Kings River is at youtube.com/user/BW92116#p/u/4/42w96dPsRB4

Don't stop at Kings Canyon Lodge, even just to get the ice cream that the signs entice you to. That place is like a horror movie with disturbed people running it. Admire the antique gas pumps outside if those interest you, but don't venture inside the building for any reason whatsoever.

The base of Kings Canyon has an elevation of about 4600 feet, which is only about 600 feet higher than the floor of Yosemite Valley. So walking around in Kings Canyon may be something you would be able to do. Features that are easy to get to in Kings Canyon include the Boyden Caverns (requires a per-person fee), Grizzly Falls which is right next to the highway, Roaring River Falls which is only a 5-minute stroll on a paved trail from the parking lot, and Zumwalt Meadow which is an essentially flat loop in Kings Canyon. These waterfalls are tiny in comparison to the gigantic waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, but they are still nice to visit and the whole area is less crowded than Yosemite Valley. So if you have the time, you might consider driving down there before going on to Yosemite.

When you leave Kings Canyon NP, you will have a 1-hour drive on Highway 180 back to Fresno, and then you go north on Highway 41 from Fresno to Yosemite, about 2.5 hours of driving time between Fresno and Yosemite Valley. If you are interested in big cats, you might consider a stop at the Sierra Cat Haven, which is on Highway 180 right outside Kings Canyon NP. You can take a 1-hour tour with a docent for $9 for adults I think, and see a variety of big cats up close. http://cathaven.com

Edited: 09 June 2011, 23:59
Mentioned in this post
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
5,715 Reviews
Yosemite National Park, CA
Fresno
Fresno
California
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
177 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Sequoia and Kings Canyon - is it worth seeing after Yosemite

Thanks for all the detailed information and for making me laugh about Kings Canyon Lodge-almost tempted to go there just for the adventure of it. I did not realize that you drive from Kings Canyon back to Fresno then from Fresno to Yosemite. I was thinking of Kings Canyon on the way to Yosemite. If I fly into Fresno from Orlando it is a long flight and I hate to waste a night staying in Fresno so I think the shortest drive we can take from Fesno is to Kings Canyon not Yosemite. Hate backtracking to Fresno to get to Yosemite though. We will be going last week in Aug. or 1st week in Sept so snow should not be a problem. Anyway-your information is very valuable and I thank you for the time and effort. I have about 8 days to spend so I may skip Sequoia area and go to Napa for 3 days in addition to Yosemite-we could fly into San Fran instead of Fresno and then out of Fresno.

Mentioned in this post
Fresno
Fresno
California
Orlando
Orlando
Central Florida, FL
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
San Francisco
San Francisco
California