Giant Forest#1 in Best Things To Do in Sequoia National Park
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Visitors to the Giant Forest use a lot of the same words to describe it, including "awe-inspiring," "amazing" and a "must-see." The large sequoia grove is located between the Marble and Middle Forks of the Kaweah River and is home to more than 8,000 sequoias – the most of any other grove in the park.
Start your visit at the Giant Forest Museum, which offers an overview of the giant sequoias, meadows and human history in the region. The museum is housed in the historic Giant Forest market building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are a series of hikes in the Giant Forest, ranging from short one-hour jaunts to daylong treks; the National Park service lists a few on its website. Visitors recommend longer hikes, such as the Alta Trail or the High Sierra Trail, to escape the crowds, especially in the summer. The Redwood Canyon and Muir Grove also great places for longer treks. The Giant Forest is also home to the famous General Sherman Tree, the largest living sequoia in the world.
You'll find the forest and museum off of Generals Highway. The forest is accessible all year. The free museum is open daily year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May to September and until 5 p.m. September to May. There are several parking lots near the museum, but the green route of the free park shuttle also stops here.
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#2 Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
To visit Kings Canyon by car, the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (otherwise known as Highway 180) is the only option for vehicles. The 50-mile route, which is full of twists and turns, takes visitors to one of the deepest canyons in North America.
Visitors call it "breathtaking" and "beautiful," but also caution that drivers prepare for the route's many curves, and allow plenty of time to stop for photo ops. The route begins in the foothills outside of Fresno, California, enters the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park, then descends through the Sequoia National Forest, finally ending at the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. Along the way, highlights include hiking to the General Grant Tree, touring Boyden Cave (in the summer) and visiting the gorgeous Grizzly Falls.
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