Kings Canyon's deepest gorge is just west of the confluence of the South and Middle Forks of the Kings River, measuring over 8,000 feet from river level to the tip of Spanish Mountain. The South Fork of the Kings River races by Cedar Grove Village, just outside but well within earshot of the Cedar Grove Lodge, and follows the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway to grace an exceptionally scenic stretch of highway.
The Kings River is best seen from a safe distance, as its rushing torrents of water are beautiful but fraught with peril. The new steel, stone and timber bridge that arches over the Kings River at Cedar Grove Village is a great new vista point.
Zumwalt Meadow provides visitors with a scenic contrast to the powerful rock formations deep in the heart of the canyon. Glorious and lush in spring, splendid in summer and fall, Zumwalt Meadow is a spectacular grass and wildflower-decked meadow surrounded by sky-piercing granite walls.
A scenic, 1.5-mile self-guided trail circles the area and offers magnificent views of high granite walls, verdant meadows, and the free-flowing Kings River. With its flat, gentle trails, the meadow is great for kids - and makes an ideal introduction to the park. Many rangers say this is the best (and most popular) day hike in the Cedar Grove area. Parking for Kings Canyon's Zumwalt Meadow is available four miles east of the Cedar Grove Village turn off.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon Kayaking
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are laced with rivers and filled with lakes, with the latter providing the park's best opportunities for kayaking. Rivers here tend to run too fast for safe kayaking, but Hume Lake (USFS land) is a great place to kayak or canoe.