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With almost 900,000 acres between them, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are massive and mighty. Fortunately park planners had the forethought to create wonderfully scenic drives through them, with evocative names like the Generals Highway and the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. Big trees, impressive peaks, cartwheeling canyons and whitewater rivers will fill your windshield with Sierra splendor.
Scenic highway highlights are listed below. For maps, detailed descriptions and driving itineraries, see the National Park Service's Sequoia & Kings Canyon website, and navigate to its Summer Drives and Viewpoints pages.
Panoramic Point Road
Just east of the Kings Canyon Visitor Center parking lot, Panoramic Point Road offers impressive vista points and more, before eventually leading to Hume Lake, where you can continue and return via Generals Highway.
Generals Highway connects the two parks, and their two celebrated stands of giant sequoia groves. A number of popular hiking trailheads are located at selected turnouts along the way, as are overlooks to rocky ridges and sequoia groves.
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 180) is carved into granite and winds down into Kings Canyon, with the walls closing in at some junctions and bends – in a good way. Kings Canyon Scenic Byway traverses an extraordinary cross section of geographical terrain, and provides progressively more stunning views of Kings Canyon.
The two-lane road has numerous scenic pullouts and hiking trails including Junction View, Yucca Point, Grizzly Falls, Don Cecil View, Hotel Creek Overlook, Canyon View, and Roaring River Falls, before reaching Roads End.
Majestic Mountain Loop
The Majestic Mountain Loop is a new route created from existing highways that sets up a three-day driving itinerary of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, as well as Yosemite National Park. Points of interest in all three parks are detailed at www.majesticmountainloop.com.