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Drive: LA to Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Yosemite

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posts: 5
Drive: LA to Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Yosemite

Greeting everyone,

In late December after Christmas, I plan to drive up to Yosemite from LA with a bunch of friends and stay there for a couple of days. On the way, we would like to stop by Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP, take pictures, visit the scenic areas, and head straight to Yosemite w/o stopping. How difficult would it be to accomplish all this w/o spending a night in Kings Canyon/Sequoia if we leave early in the morning from LA? Thanks in advance.

New York City, New...
posts: 1,908
reviews: 9
1. Re: Drive: LA to Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Yosemite

Well, most of the scenic areas in Sequoia and Kings Canyon are only accessible on foot/skis/horseback, but even if you stick to the paved roads it will be a long day to do your proposed trip. It can be done, but it involves climbing up into the mountains (a steep climb, with lots of switchbacks, up to 6000 feet elevation) then a couple of hours through the park (through dense forest, not really any views--and the giant sequoias are only in a few spots along the way, you really have to get out and walk around a bit to make it worthwhile). You won't be aable to get down into Kings Canyon itself, the road is closed in winter, but you can visit the Grant Grove area. Then you go steeply back down to almost sea level again and pass through Fresno before heading back up into the mountains to about 5000 feet to get into Yosemite. Straight to Yosemite is about 5 hours, passing through Sequoia is about 8 hours according to Mapquest, I'd add another hour to walk among the trees in the Giant Forest area.

So it could be done, but I would plan on staying somewhere down in the valley (the Central Valley, around Fresno) and head for Yosemite the next day.

Oakland, California
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 6,265
reviews: 27
2. Re: Drive: LA to Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Yosemite

Given what you can see this time of year, you may just be better off heading straight to Yosemite and spending more time there. You can also see Giant Sequoias in Yosemite, although the largest grove, the Mariposa Grove, is closed to cars in winter. It is possible to hike or snowshoe a few miles into that grove. Another choice is the Tuolumne Grove, north of the valley on 120, where you can hike down a paved road for one mile to reach the grove. Not sure how much they clear it of snow in the winter, but I have doen the trek when there was snow on the ground.

3. Re: Drive: LA to Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Yosemite

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