Kings Canyon National Park

After hiking through Sequoia National Park, we stayed the night in Kings Canyon at the John Muir Lodge. It wasn’t anything super spectacular, but it was definitely the best lodging in the area (since we flew to California, we didn’t bring our camping gear). We spent a very comfortable night at the lodge, at a delicious hotel breakfast (that’s not sarcasm, I seriously love hotel breakfasts) and then hit there trails for day two.

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The first stop we made was at General Grant. It seems to me like General Sherman is the tree everyone is always talking about, but honestly, I was much more impressed with General Grant. While Sherman is the largest tree in the world by volume, Grant is the second. Apparently, when these large sequoias are damaged by fire at the base, the tree no longer sends nutrients all the way to the top. The top of the tree (only) dies and leaves a kind of stumpy point. That’s how the General Sherman looks. General Grant, on the other hand, has the whole tree intact.


I also found the grove itself to be much more peaceful than the one in Sequoia National Park.

We had to do a lot of driving in Kings Canyon, but that was fine. The sights we saw from random road turn outs were UNBELIEVABLE. We stopped at one place that seemed to have a good view of the canyon. Once we walked out of our car, we saw a little trail going to a huge rock. We walked out on that rock and our breath was taken away.

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I also brought along my Fuji Instax mini 8 camera. I love this little thing.

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We struck some model poses and moved on.

Another place we stopped and an amazing view of the river junction. We have a National Parks Passport, where we collect stickers and stamps from each park we visit. I always like to photograph it in its element.

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Two girls were also stopped taking pictures, so we were able to take pictures of each other.

Again, we struck some model poses and moved on. Brian jumped on some rocks near the edge and nearly gave me a heart attack. Made for a good photo, though.

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The last stop we made on the road was at Eagle Falls. We thought, hey, waterfalls are cool, so lets stop. Because of the record snow melt thats happening, the waterfalls and rivers are out of control! It was pretty incredible. Also cold.

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For lunch, we stopped at a little tourist center. We got a pin for our National Parks hat and then ate outside by the river.


After lunch we saw another waterfall, Roaring River Falls, and hiked through Zumwalt Meadows. Of all the places we hiked, Zumwalt meadows was my favorite. It felt very different than any other place we’d hiked before. Paths were cut through fallen boulders. ┬áThe view looked out on huge granite faces and a large, green, fern filled meadow. I loved it!

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Again, the water was incredible.


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After the rocks, you entered the forest. With all the ferns covering the ground, it had a very magical / prehistoric feeling.


Not far from the meadow is John Muir Rock. We climbed up on it and took a few very contemplative pictures.

This was the end of our journey! From the rock, we drove back to Fresno to spend one last night with family before heading out to Austin EARLY the next morning.

Want to see more photos from the California Travel series? Here are all the installments:
Austin to San Jose
Clovis, CA
Sequoia National Park
Crystal Cave
Kings Canyon
Hume Lake
San Jose to Austin

Author: Kelly

Kelly Phillips is the writer and photographer behind You can view more of her photos on Instagram @DiscoveringATX and her photography portfolio at

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