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SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS

sequoia map

About ten days ago, a friend and I made a quick trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Our plan was to spend a couple days enjoying the trees and solitude.  It was a glorious visit even though it did not pan out exactly as expected.

100_1320For one thing, we had planned to have two days in the park, but ended up with only one.  A storm moved in and closed the roads inside the park, so although we were there we could not get anywhere.  Second, we had hoped to see some wildflowers—and we did.  There were some lupines in bloom near the entrance and alongside some country roads, but none were at a spot where it was easy to stop and take pictures.  A few other flowers punctuated the landscape as well—some California poppies and pretty yellow flowers.  And pretty pink trees popped up here and there along the route.  The orange trees we drove past—field after field—were in bloom.  The best part of that was the delightful orange blossom smell that wafted into the car as we drove by.

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100_1338Finally, we figured we would enjoy some delightful spring weather.  After all, spring had officially sprung and we were on spring break.  But like I said, a storm moved in and closed the roads—and the temps were a bit chilly. In fact, snow was still all around.  But-don’t get me wrong—I am not complaining.  The weather was crisp and glorious.  The snow on the trees was impressive and made it feel like we were driving through a snow globe.  And the storm closed the roads and sent us home, but it did not rain/snow and pour on us—we even saw glorious clouds and heard rain on the roof overnight.

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100_1343Overall, although cut short, this was a great trip to Sequoia National Park.  We technically entered Kings Canyon National Park but never quite made it to Grants Grove to walk among the great big trees.  So, we figure we need to go again—maybe the end of May—to enjoy the forest again.  Next time, I doubt any roads will be closed! But the trees we did see and walk among were great, making us feel the grandeur of nature as seen in these magnificent Sequoia Redwoods.

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Our one-day drive through Sequoia National Park helped us remember how accurate John Muir was in his description of the big trees:  “When I entered this sublime wilderness the day was nearly done, the trees with rosy, glowing countenances seemed to be hushed and thoughtful, as if waiting in conscious religious dependence on the sun, and one naturally walked softly and awestricken among them.” 

100_1324The trees are the obvious draw of the park, but there are also glorious vistas and impressive rock formations.  We even took the 10-mile travel-at-your-own-risk-not-cleared-in-winter road out to Hume Lake.

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As we ended our first day in the Parks, we decided to re-trace our steps to get to the hotel.  Our plan was to explore Kings Canyon the second day.  Instead, the road had closed behind us, and we could not get back the way we came.  Our detour took us through some farmland that included orange groves. Although not what we planned, we had a great day!

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Comments on: "SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK: A Quick Drive Through the Park" (17)

  1. The spring purple is a wonderful sight … then again, so is the touch of snow on the tree-lined road. Well done … too bad you didn’t get both days …. thus time to plan a return trip. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the trip, Patti. This is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    • It is a great place–and you can hike through the trees too. I just cannot do that much and we did not get out to one of the big groves. You will love it!

  3. Sounds like you had a nice drive even with the detour. I’ll keep in mind not to go too early in the year when I finally get a chance to go 🙂

    • Yes, time of year is part of the equation about when to go. It has been so dry for the past three years, we took our chances. You will love it when you get here.

  4. Looks like a very special nature destination Patti – the redwood trees seem huge!

    • It is a great place! And the trees are huge, some of the largest in the world. These Sequoia Redwoods grow only in this area and grow up to 311 feet tall and have been living for up to 3200 years. The bark on these big trees is up to 31 inches thick, the branches extend up to 8 feet in diameter, and the base is up to 40 feet in diameter. Coastal Redwoods are cousins; they live in one place on the northern CA coast. They tend to be slimmer and taller (380 feet) but smaller overall (base 22 feet in diameter). The Coastal Redwoods are only up to 2000 years old. Impressive! Thanks for stopping by.

      • Absolutely amazing! Thank goodness these magnificent trees are protected in a national park, otherwise I’m sure there’d be at least a couple of loggers that would be wringing their hands in anticipation…

  5. Beautiful! I need to visit those parks one day. The pink trees are called redbud.

  6. […] my role as a Roadside Naturalist.  First, I took an overnight trip to Yosemite and then another to Sequoia National Park, both in an effort to make sure my bad knees would not undermine my getting out in […]

  7. […] figured it was spring.  But in reality winter was still holding forth as a friend and I visited Sequoia National Park.  We saw a winter wonderland and had a great time, but out trip was cut short when the roads […]

  8. […] SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS […]

  9. […] A friend and I visited Sequoia National Park in March 2014, experiencing the trees through the last stages of winter.  And they are impressive in the snow!  But we were equally impressed with the trees when we returned in May 2014. This spring trip took us back to Sequoia National Park but also into Kings Canyon National Park.  In the spring, it is impossible not to notice the steep canyon cut by the majestic Kings River. Highway 180 runs along the river down to the very bottom of the canyon.  At vista points, most of the impressive peaks of the Sierra Nevada can be seen in the distance.  My Whitney, however, the highest peak (14,505 feet) in the contiguous United States can only be seen from the western slopes from remote back country, accessible only on foot or horseback.  [NOTE: We did not go hiking or back-packing!] […]

  10. […] this year I visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  These glorious parks are nestled against the western side of the […]

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