While Yosemite tends to get the most fame and park attendance of the Sierra Nevada national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are just as beautiful and family friendly as their sister to the north. While the trails is Yosemite are often crowded, there a plenty of kids friendly hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon that offer stunning scenery without as many fellow hikers sharing the trails. Here are Trekaroo’s picks for the best kid friendly hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
1. Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park:
This hike has it all- big trees, a suspension bridge for pedestrians only, a gorgeous meadow framed by towering canyon walls, and plenty of great rocks to scramble on. The hike is 1.5 miles loop and mostly level, a great distance for all age groups. On warm summer days, families will love splashing in the Kings River which flanks portions of the trail. Its easy to pack a picnic and enjoy an entire afternoon in this gorgeous location.
2. Sheep Creek Cascade in Kings Canyon National Park:
This 2 mile roundtrip hike starts on the floor of the canyon and heads up the south face of the canyon wall to the small and glided cascades of Sheep Creek. Beautiful views of the Monarch Divide across the canyon are visible. The trail is moderately wide, smooth, and shaded, but not paved. 600′ elevation gain. The trail (Don Cecil Trail) starts across the road from Cedar Grove. Ask a ranger for specific directions to the trail head or look carefully for the hiking road sign after you pass the turn out for Cedar Grove.
3. Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park:
Take a walk amongst the giants and visit the widest tree in the world, the General Grant Tree. Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the General Grant to be the nation’s Christmas Tree in 1926, and the honor still stands. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through a fallen Sequoia Tree on this 1/3 mile loop. Those seeking to extend their walk among the big trees can continue on the 1 1/2 mile North Grove Loop which begins in the grove.
Looking for the best place to camp in Kings Canyon National Park? Check out our list of family friendly campgrounds in Kings Canyon.
4. Tokopah Falls in Sequoia National Park:
This hike begins behind the Lodgepole Campground and follows the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River for 1.7 miles (3.4 miles round trip)to Tokopah Falls, which plummet 1200 feet. There are plenty of opportunities to play in the frigid but refreshing Kaweah River as it runs over slabs of granite and through the Lodgepole Pine forest along the way. Bears, deer, and marmots frequent the area. The falls are at their most impressive in early summer but the hike is beautiful any time.
5. General Sherman Tree Trail in Sequoia National Park:
This 1/2 mile loop winds visitors through the Giant Forest with General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, standing as its behemoth centerpiece. The route is downhill from the parking lot so be prepared for an uphill jaunt on the way back. Pictures will never do these massive trees justice. You truly have to see them in person to understand just how gargantuan Giant Sequoias really are.
Looking for a four walled option? Check out lodging reviews in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
6. Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park:
This 1/4 mile trail is less of a hike and more of a climb. Visitors basically climb up the side of massive Moro Rock on a series of stairs which are carved into the rock. Families with young children should definitely hold their little ones’ hands tight, this climb takes you 300 feet above the ground. The views are spectacular from the top but people with a fear of heights, like myself, should expect their legs to turn to jello and their time on top of the rock to be short before the waves of panic begin to settle in. That being said, I would have really regretted it if my family didn’t make the climb because the 360 degree views really do seem to go on forever.
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Featured photo by: Shutterstock