What to see in Kings Canyon whether walking or driving…
Grant Tree parking lot to North Grove Loop
This is a 1.5-mile trail that escapes the busy-ness of the General Grant Tree area. It offers a close look at the giant sequoias as well as a study of how prescribed fire provides a buffer to protect giant sequoia groves. This grove, including the Grant Tree, faced grave risk during the 2015 lightning-caused Rough Fire, but the wildfire wasn’t able to reach the grove due to previous park-administered prescribed fires that reduced the fuel load. The peaceful North Grove provides breathtaking views of giant sequoias. This hike can be extended by adding on the Dead Giant Loop (watch for trail signs) for a 3.25-mile wander through the Big Trees. Easy-Moderate.
General Grant Tree Loop
This trail is less than a mile but has many features, including the Fallen Monarch, the historic Gamlin Cabin, the Centennial Stump, and, of course, the General Grant Tree, the second largest tree on Earth. The Grant Tree is also the Nation’s Christmas Tree, designated in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge, and since 1956, it has been a National Shrine — the only living object so designated — in memory of the men and women of the Armed Forces who served and died in America’s wars. Easy.
Panoramic Point Road to Park Ridge Lookout
A 4-mile out-and-back hike along a road to a working fire lookout (staffed intermittently as volunteers are available). Climb up to the lookout tower for an incredible view of Kings Canyon and the Sierra crest. Easy.
If you have an entire day, travel to the end of Highway 180 in Kings Canyon, which will take you as far east as you’re going to drive into this region of the Sierra. Kings Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon, and you’ll be driving it from top to bottom. Once on the canyon floor, the road parallels the gorgeous Kings River.