The nearby national parks are filled with scenic vistas and majestic sequoia trees. For travelers who want to see these amazing parks but don't have time for a deep exploration, consider a road trip through the parks. Many travelers don't know that Sequoia and Kings Canyon are two adjacent parks that are linked by the General's Highway.

Luckily, this allows visitors to traverse both parks while paying just one entrance fee for the opportunity to visit two of California's most majestic national parks. Take advantage of these adjacent parks with a road trip all the way through both parks along the General's Highway from Ash Mountain Entrance in Sequoia National Park to the Big Stump Entrance at Kings Canyon. This route will enable visitors to enjoy the essence of both parks in a day-long road trip that meanders through soaring sequoia trees, past amazing vistas, and over bridges designed in the "parkitecture" theme.

Taking a road trip requires a little preparation to ensure you are well-stocked for the adventure. You can expect this route to be an all-day adventure so be sure to have a hearty breakfast at one of Visalia's many restaurants. Whether you like a grab-and-go or a sit-down meal, we have lots of suggestions. Then, stock a cooler with drinks, snacks and lunch. Food options inside the parks can be limited so be prepared with your own supplies. 

Depart from Visalia and head east along highway 198 where you will drive past orchards and groves, around Lake Kaweah, and to the Ash Mountain Entrance gate of Sequoia National Park. This is the start of the General's Highway. It is always a good idea to arrive early to avoid the crowds. The park is open 24 hours a day, so you can enter anytime. 

Notice Tunnel Rock just to the left of the entrance gate where travelers once could drive through. Lots of visitors stop for pictures here. Instead, stop for a photo op at the original (and recently restored) Sequoia National Park sign. 

The drive starts in the foothills then climbs to the giant forest. A nice rest stop is at Hospital Rock where native American pictographs are located. Enjoy the views along the way as you head to the Giant Forest, about 45 minutes from the entrance gate. The road winds through pine trees including giant sequoias! 

Just before the Museum, take the turn toward Moro Rock and Tunnel Log for a quick side trip. Since this is a road trip you need a classic photo of your car driving through the Tunnel Log. The tree fell years ago and an arched tunnel was cut out of the tree enabling cars to drive through and really get a sense of the enormity of these massive giants!

If time allows, stop to see the General Sherman Tree. It is the largest living thing on earth and well worth the stop. There a many trees in this grove and interpretive signs along the paths explain about these monarchs. 

Along the roadway are places to stop for a picnic so find a spot when hunger strikes. At Lodgepole, there are campgrounds, a few restaurants, and a visitors center. This makes a good rest stop before continuing on the General's Highway.

As the road continues north towards Kings Canyon, it passes through Sequoia National Forest before arriving in King's Canyon. A great place to stop is at the King's Canyon Overlook. From here you can look down into the canyon, one of the deepest in north America!

While the drive into the canyon itself is a trip for another time, there are 2 more quick stops along this road trip: the General Grant Tree and the Big Stump Trail. 

The General Grant is a short walk from the parking lot and worth the stop. It is considered the second largest giant sequoia tree. It is also a living shrine to the men and women of the Armed Services. Each December, the Park Service lays a wreath at the base of the tree in honor of service members. 

In the parking lot, take time to look around. It is ringed with giant sequoias making the parking lot an unexpected vista point!

The General's Highway will lead to the the Big Stump entrance gate and it is here that you can exit the parks. The road becomes Highway 180 as you leave Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. From here it is about 1 hour and 15 minutes to return to Visalia. But your road trip is not quite over yet. 

The scenery will change a bit as you head out of the forest and into the foothills as you return to your hotel in Visalia. The turn onto Highway 63 will take you through some of the most diverse growing areas in the country! Enjoy the sweeping views of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains that you just explored. Now your view is of fruits and nuts that grow in the area. Stop by a farm stand and get some of the best seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts and other produce. 

©2024 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141
Visitor Center Hours
Monday - Friday 8am-5pm