Hiking Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Sequoia and Kings Canyon hiking trails will take you on a magnificent park journey. Trails range from short, easy, and paved, to long, steep, and rugged.
Lace up your hiking boots, or slip on your sneakers – there are more than 1,000 miles of Sequoia & Kings Canyon hiking trails for visitors of every ability and inclination. From gentle ambles among giant sequoias to moderate day hikes and full-throttle ascents (including the highest point in the lower 48 states!), Sequoia & Kings Canyon hiking trails deliver peak experiences, whatever the topography and terrain.
Top-rated Sequoia hikes include Big Trees Trail, Crescent Meadow Loop Trail, Congress Trail, Tokopah Falls Trail, Hazelwood Nature Trail, Alta Peak Trail, and the High Sierra Trail to Bearpaw Meadow.
Kings Canyon is laced with paths to everlasting hiking happiness. There are short and easy strolls, led by the meandering Big Stump Trail. There are long and steep trails, offering dramatic High Sierra scenery. For the intrepid, there’s Big Baldy (8,209 feet) Ridge Trail. Hiking Redwood Canyon is another peak experience where you’ll discover the world’s largest grove of sequoias (no, there are no redwoods here; early settlers mistook the cinnamon-hued bark of the resident sequoias for coast redwoods).
Picturesque tarns, sprightly rivulets, conifer-studded slopes – whatever the trail or terrain, it’s bound to feature the incredible grandeur of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. Below are just a few examples of the hiking trails available – see you at the trailhead!
Sequoia National Park
Hazelwood Nature TrailDistance: 1 mile, self-guided loop
Time: 1 hour, round-trip
Trailhead: South side of General’s Highway, next to the now-deserted Giant Forest Village
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Description: This pleasant Sequoia hiking experience will take you along gentle grades through excellent stands of giant sequoias. Trailside exhibits tell of historic figures who helped make these parks what they are.
Big Trees TrailDistance:: 1.2 mile self-guided loop trail
Time: 1 hour round-trip
Trailhead: Giant Forest Museum parking lot
Elevation Gain: 60 feet
Description: One of the most accessible Sequoia National Park trails in the park, this trail circles Round Meadow and features trail-side exhibits describing the area's ecology.
Crescent Meadow Loop TrailDistance: 1.8 miles
Time: 2 to 3 hours, round-trip
Trailhead: Crescent Meadow parking lot
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Description: This scenic loop trail takes you around the picturesque Crescent Meadow. Most impressive in the spring when wildflowers are in bloom, wildlife sightings are common in this area. The Sequoia hiking trail also goes by Tharp's Log, a hollowed out Sequoia tree that was converted into a summer cabin by one of the park's earliest settlers.
Congress TrailDistance: 2 miles
Time: 1 to 3 hours, round-trip
Trailhead: General Sherman Tree, just off General’s Highway
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Description: This popular, paved Sequoia hiking path loops through the heart of the Giant Sequoia Grove and is perfect for first-time visitors.
Tokopah Falls TrailDistance: 3.4 miles
Time: 2 hours, round-trip
Trailhead: Just beyond Marble Fork Bridge in Lodgepole Campground
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Description: The trail to Tokopah Falls is an easy walk along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. Tokopah Falls is 1,200 feet high and most impressive in spring and early summer.
Alta Peak TrailDistance: 7 miles each way
Time: Approximately 7 to 8 hours, round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet
Description: Though strenuous, this Sequoia hiking trail to Alta Peak is considered by many to be one of the best day hikes in Sequoia National Park. At 11,204 feet, the summit of Alta Peak provides jaw-dropping views of the Great Western Divide and the High Sierra. On a clear day you can even see all the way to Mt. Whitney!
Distance: .5 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Trailhead: Moro Rock Parking Lot
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Description: Ready for a “hard rock” experience? Moro Rock is a granite dome located just off the Generals Highway near Giant Forest. On any given day visitors may see rock climbers clinging to Moro Rock’s cracks and knobs. For the rest of us, there’s a 400-step, 1/3-mile staircase from the parking lot that ascends more than 300 feet to the summit. The reward: spectacular views of the western half of Sequoia National Park and the Great Western Divide.
Keep your binoculars ready and steady. In the background: the sawtooth sentinels of the Great Western Divide. In the foreground: the shy and speedy peregrine falcon, free-wheeling in the surrounding sky it calls home.
High Sierra TrailDistance: 11.5 miles each way
Time: 5 to 10 hours, one way (average 7 hours)
Trailhead: Crescent Meadow, approximately 10 miles south of Wuksachi Lodge
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Description: Well marked and easy to navigate, the High Sierra trail is considered moderate with a warm southern exposure. The trail follows a ridgeline of mixed conifers, offering spectacular views of the Great Western Divide and lush meadows along the journey. The journey gains and loses elevation the entire way. It is wise to rest and enjoy Buck Creek (it has a concrete bridge) because the last 1.3 miles gains 600 vertical feet and is without water. The High Sierra trail crosses three major tributaries before reaching Bearpaw High Sierra Camp®. A number of popular day hikes are accessible from the camp.
Click Here for more detailed information about the High Sierra trail in Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Big Stump TrailDistance: 2 miles
Time: 1 hour
Trailhead: Next to the entrance station inside the Highway 180 entrance
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Description: One of the lesser-traveled trails in Kings Canyon National Park, the Big Stump hiking trail features many enormous stumps left over from the logging days. Two points of interest along the trail include the Mark Twain tree, a giant stump you can climb onto via a small ladder, and the Sawed Tree, a sequoia tree that bears an enormous scar from being partially sawed through which now stands perfectly healthy.
Redwood Canyon Trail - Hart Tree LoopDistance: 6.5 miles, round trip
Time: 4 hours
Trailhead: Redwood Saddle parking area
Elevation Gain: 850 feet
Description: The Hart Tree Loop is another less-traveled Grant Grove hiking trail located in Redwood Canyon, which contains the largest sequoia grove in the park. To get to the trailhead, drive south on Generals Highway from Grant Grove and turn right at Quail Flat onto a dirt road. The Redwood Saddle parking area is 1 ½ miles down the road. The Hart Tree Loop trail goes past an old logging site from the 1800's, past Hart Meadow and Fallen Goliath, and through Tunnel Tree, a hollowed out giant sequoia. Roughly halfway into the hike you will reach a spur trail that leads to the Hart Tree, the largest tree in the grove. The hike is relatively easy and provides numerous vista points along the way.
Big Baldy TrailDistance: 4.5 miles, round trip
Time: 2 ½ hours
Trailhead: Parking area on Generals Highway, approximately 8 miles south of Grant Grove
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Description: The trail to the summit of Big Baldy is considered moderate difficulty. The trail alternates between forest and granite covered areas and eventually reaches an elevation of 8,209 feet with jaw dropping panoramic views. For those interested in a little more Kings Canyon hiking, continue on for another half mile to catch a view of a formation called Chimney Rock.
Zumwaldt Meadow LoopDistance: 1.5 miles
Time: 1 hour
Trailhead: Zumwalt Meadow Parking Lot
Elevation Gain: no net gain; gentle climbs and descents
Description: A mile west of Roads End, Zumwalt Meadow Loop is best taken in the early morning as the gentle trail circles a picture-perfect Sierra meadow. As you walk along the Kings River, the towering granite North Dome and Grand Sentinel fill the sky.
Mist Falls TrailDistance: 8 miles
Time: 3 – 5 hours
Trailhead: Roads End
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Description: A riverside walk into Kings Canyon features a natural granite staircase that eventually leads to Mist Falls, thunderous in late spring and early summer, and still impressive into autumn.