The end of summer brings the cooler temperatures needed to turn the tree leaves golden yellow and orange before they fall to the ground as winter approaches. For some, this is the best time of year to visit Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. Fall is the traditional start of the school year and the parks begin to empty as summer tourists head back home. This time of year, before the snows come, is a beautiful time of year to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The cool, crisp temperatures make longer hikes more comfortable than in the heat of summer, there are fewer visitors to encounter around the giant sequoias and the landscape begins to change from vibrant green to golden yellow. Here are our top picks for what to do in the fall in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Fall is all about hiking. Though the waterfalls have little if any water, the trails that lead to them are still wonderful, with scenic vistas around each bend in the trail. Our top Fall hikes include:

Moro Rock
Marble Falls Trail
Big Trees Trail

One of the areas of the parks that visitors seldom take the chance to explore is Kings Canyon. And early fall, before the park service closes the road down into the canyon (around the second Monday in November) is a wonderful time to explore. At about 4,000 feet in elevation the temperatures are still comfortable. Top highlights are Zumwalt Meadow, John Muir Rock and Knapp's Cabin. 

Boyden Cavern is along Highway 180 and offers an underground view of the parks. Open seasonally into October, a tour of the cavern gives new perspective of Kings Canyon.

Zumwalt Meadow trail offers great views of the meadow, the Kings River, and the granite cliffs that surround Cedar grove. Beyond the meadow trail, the trail merges with the Kanawyer Loop trail, continuing less than a mile towards Road's End and Muir Rock. Trail head parking is 4.5 miles east of Cedar Grove Village.

Sit atop flat Muir Rock overlooking the river and contemplate the beauty around you, much like John Muir must have as he gave lectures on geology and natural history during outings with the Sierra Club.

Roaring River Falls trails is a very short, shady walk to the powerful waterfall that rush through a granite chute. The trail head is in the parking area 3 miles east of the Village road and is paved and relatively accessible. 

Zumwalt Meadow
Boyden Cavern
Roaring River Falls

Average temperatures drop about 10 degrees each month, going from an average high in September of 91 degrees to 80 degrees in October and 67 degrees in November in the Foothill areas. In the higher elevation of Giant Forest the average temperatures range from 71 degrees in September to 50 degrees for day time highs in November. When the sun is shining, it often feels warmer than what the temperature reads which makes it important to dress is layers. Brisk morning air will turn to sunny afternoons so be prepared. 

Visalia in the Fall
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