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Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

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Longueuil, Canada
posts: 3
Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

Hello all, I need a little help for four days camping trip in either sequoia and kings canyon natinol park or yosemite. I have already been in yosemite once two years ago, by car, and had no problems with the driving on the park's road (Mariposa To yosemite village) but it seems quite different with the few roads in sequoia and kings canyon park (mainly General's highway)

Can someone tell me a bit about the road conditions and the driving ?

Oh and of course I'll be driving a rented car, so no fancy FWD or such..

Thanks!

8 replies to this topic
Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 13,204
reviews: 576
1. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

Its best to enter Sequoia via highway 180 - its more a straight drive with altitude climb; the road from 3 rivers has 180 switchbacks.

Once in the park, its easy drive in Sequoia - with your biggest factor making it more challenging of course would be the weather such as snow or rain.

Kings Canyon is a somewhat slow drive with several turns etc (but pretty) to the bottom of the canyon and again up. Its good to do during daylight hours so you can see the canyon better. Also keep good eye on the roads - last time we were there nothing on the road going down; but coming back up a big boulder had crashed on the road (and luckily a park ranger was there trying to figure out next steps). Its rare - but it can happen. Again, besides this will be the slower of the two roads with more twists and turns, its basically just a regular mountain road to drive. Weather again is your major factor in how the drive will be.

Sequoia National...
posts: 463
2. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

There are two roads into Sequoia, Highway 180 out of Fresno and Highway 198 from Visalia. Of the two roads Highway 180 is arguably the easier road - it is still a mountain road and has the expected twists and turns, but is not nearly as curvy as Highway 198, which contains a series of hairpin turns. One notable difference between the roads in Sequoia vs Highway 140 from Mariposa to Yosemite, is the Sequoia roads are at a much higher altitude, going up to 7,000 feet, but they're not difficult to drive on.

Another big factor would be when you are planning on making your trip. During the summer months you shouldn't have any road closures to deal with, but during the winter there are a number of roads that close seasonally (Crystal Cave road, Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow road, and Kings Canyon Scenic Byway to name a few). There may also be some road construction going on along a stretch of Generals Highway between Giant Forest and the southern entrance if you decide to go that route. At any rate, you can check current road/weather conditions by calling the NPS hotline at 559-565-3341 and check the current road construction schedule at http://www.nps.gov/seki/parknews/index.htm

Hope this helps!

Longueuil, Canada
posts: 3
3. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

Oups fogot to say in august!

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
posts: 10,106
reviews: 87
4. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

If you're looking for the "wow" factor, you'll take the 198 (the famous picture of the Guardian trees that is on TA's page for Sequoia National Park is on that route). It is windy, but they've improved it a lot recently. Sometimes there are 20 minute waits for one way traffic to go (almost always some maintenance going on). But it is an amazing drive and one you won't soon forget.

In August, the roads will be as Wuksachi just mentioned - but the shuttle system is great. You can hike from Crescent Meadow over to General Sherman and have a wonderful, nearly solitary experience in the forest and still catch a ride back to your campsite or lodging or car...

Jacksonville...
posts: 9
reviews: 1
5. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

We are headed that way. For a rental car is a minivan good or should you go with an SUV with 4 wheel drive

Not clear if the roads are all paved and in good condition.

LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 8,591
reviews: 1
6. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

You don't need an SUV with 4WD. Your rental contract will prohibit you from taking it off paved roads, anyhow.

You need a vehicle that is comfortable for your party and can carry adequate luggage. Minivan would be fine. SUV would be fine. Just chose the one that fits the best. Some SUV's don't really have much luggage space.

Copperopolis...
posts: 863
7. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

LilyG,

in Sequoia National Park and in Kings Canyon National Park are paved and are in good condition, ie, the road down to "the" Kings Canyon, the Generals Highway which connects the two national parks. However, the roads are two-way traffic, meaning one lane in each direction with a divider line down the middle of the road. Well, some might not have the middle divider line, such as the smaller road to Moro Rock and to the parking area to hike to Tharp's Log. But all are paved and are nice to travel. The roads in the campgrounds and amongst the campsites will probably be just one lane & one direction but as far as I know, they are paved

Edited: 7:00 pm, August 30, 2013
Copperopolis...
posts: 863
8. Re: Driving in sequoia and kings canyon national park

So what happened to the first few words in my post above . . . The post should start out with:

All of the roads . . .

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