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Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
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Introducing Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

The twin parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon dazzle with superlatives, though they’re often overshadowed by Yosemite, their smaller neighbor to the north (a three-hour drive away). With towering forests of giant sequoias containing some of the largest trees in the world, and the mighty Kings River careening through the depths of Kings Canyon, one of the deepest chasms in the country, the parks are lesser-visited jewels where it’s easier to find quiet and solitude. Throw in opportunities for caving, rock climbing and backcountry hiking through granite-carved Sierra landscapes, and backdoor access to Mt Whitney – the tallest peak in the lower 48 states – and you have all the ingredients for two of the best parks in the country.

The two parks, though distinct, are operated as one unit with a single admission; for 24-hour recorded information, including road conditions, call the number listed or visit the parks’ comprehensive website. At either entrance station (Big Stump or Ash Mountain), you’ll receive an NPS map and a copy of the parks’ The Guide newspaper, with information on seasonal activities, camping and special programs, including those in the surrounding national forests and the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Cell-phone coverage is nonexistent except for limited reception at Grant Grove, and gas is available at Hume Lake and Stony Creek Lodge, both on USFS land.