Entrance Sign to Kings Canyon National Park California

Where is Kings Canyon National Park

Located in Southern California, Kings Canyon National Park is sandwiched between Sequoia National Park on its Southern edge and Inyo National Park along its Northern boundaries. It sits just West of Death Valley National Park. For visitors that are coming from the major cities found in California that are near the area of the park the city of Fresno is an hour and three-minute drive from the park, Bakersfield is two hours and twenty two minutes away, and Los Angeles is around a five hour drive.

How Big is Kings Canyon National Park

Containing multiple habitat types that support a wide variety of wildlife and different types of recreation, Kings Canyon US National Park contains an area of about 722 square miles or 461,901 acres. This puts Kings Canyon National Park on the larger side of National parks even though it isn’t the largest one in that area of California. The size allows for miles upon miles of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the varied habitats and geological features that are found within the park’s boundaries.

Kings Canyon Grizzly Falls at Kings Canyon National Park California

Kings Canyon National Park Weather

Because of the general part of the state that the park is found in the state of California, the weather around the area that Kings Canyon National Park sits on is typically hot and arid throughout the summer months and wet and cloudy in the winter months. The hottest time of the year lasts around 3.5 months which normally lands from June into late September, the temperatures can reach up and over 98 degrees Fahrenheit down to around 68 degrees. The coldest time of the year is usually the months of November to February, where the temperature may reach only 55 degrees at the highest but can often be as low as 39 degrees when it is at its coldest.

When did Kings Canyon Become a National Park

On September 25, 1890 President Benjamin Harrison signed the presented legislation that sanctioned the area near Kings Canyon National Park as the nation’s second national park. The intention was to protect the area from the rampant development and logging that was happening across the nation, the park wasn’t officially established until 1940 when Franklin D. Roosevelt created the park officially.

Things to do in Kings Canyon National Park

The following list of activities are some of the most popular and some of the most enjoyable ones that visitors to Kings Canyon National Park and the unique scenic views and landscapes.  Below, Our National Park Visitors Guide outlines some of the exciting activities you will enjoy.

Day Hiking

Possibly the most popular activity across all the state and national parks across the nation, let alone Kings Canyon National Park, there are multiple trails that allow visitors of all physical abilities the opportunity to take in the natural beauty that the park has to offer.


There are over 800 miles of well-maintained trails across hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness that is found across Kings Canyon National Park and surrounding parks. Be sure to check the regulations for any permits, off limit areas, or other special rules ahead of time.

Scenic Drives

For visitors that aren’t up to the physical challenge of hiking, backpacking, or snowshoeing across the many rugged trails of Kings Canyon National Park, there are multiple stops along the roads that weave in and out of the park that allow visitors to take in the beauty of the park from their car.

Wildlife Watching

Like all protected areas and parks across the nation, Kings Canyon National Park is home to many different species of plants and animals that can be seen by visitors. Some of the animals you can see are black bears, mule deer, pikas, and a plethora of different reptiles, birds, and fish.

Exploring Sequoias

While nearby Sequoia National Park is the more popular place to walk amongst the large and awe-inspiring sequoia trees, there are stands that are found within Kings Canyon National Park. To see the 90-acre Grant Grove, it is only a 1.5-mile hike away from the visitor center.

Rock Climbing

There are several rock outcroppings within Kings Canyon National Park that visitors can come to climb up. Because of the impact on the environment that can be caused from improper use there are several rules to how you can access the climbing area as well as special permitting to use certain gear, make sure to check the regulations before your trip to avoid any rule breaking.

Skiing and Snowshoeing

While you can bring your own snow traveling gear, the ranger services that are provided at Kings Canyon National Park provide them and other winter gear for visitors that sign up for any guided walks. The amount of snow can vary which can affect your trip, make sure to check on the weather conditions ahead of time.

Kings River in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park California

When to go to Kings Canyon National Park

There are many times of year that lead to all sorts of activities that visitors can participate in at Kings Canyon National Park. The most popular time for warm weather activities such as hiking, backpacking, and camping is in the summer months, especially in the earlier or later ones where the weather will be comfortable enough for all visitors across the entire day. For the cold weather activities, such as skiing or snowshoeing, the winter months with the most snow but also relatively mild weather will give visitors that come the best and safest outcome of their trip across the snow-covered landscape. There are also opportunities for exploration during the spring and fall for those that are wanting to see the park in the less popular seasons.

Must-Have Things to Bring to Kings Canyon National Park

While many of these items are critical to bring in other areas, Kings Canyon National Park has huge areas of wilderness and rugged terrain making these items even more paramount to a safe and successful trip.  


While there are many sources of water throughout much of Kings Canyon National Park, they can be hard to find or nonexistent during different times of the year, List of Parks highly advises to bring plenty of water for you and everyone in your group as well as a way to purify any you come across.

Season Appropriate Clothing

The weather can be extreme throughout much of the year in the area that makes up Kings Canyon National Park, the temperatures can also be drastically different at different times of the day. Bring enough layers and appropriate clothing for your trip to keep the elements at bay during your stay.

Quality Footwear

Much of the hiking trails cut through and around the very rugged and intense terrain that is found in Kings Canyon National Park, proper shoes will make the difference between having a fun and memorable experience, and suffering either a serious injury or intense discomfort for several days.

Backpacking Gear

There are large expanses of backpackable land across much of Kings Canyon National Park, be sure that if you are interested in traveling across it that you take the time, effort, and money to invest in quality backpacking gear to enable you and your group to have a safe and enjoyable trip across the park.

Camping Gear

For those that are wanting to camp while on their stay at the remarkable Kings Canyon National Park, be sure to bring not only a durable and sturdy tent but any other gear and supplies to ensure that you can keep the elements off of you and your other gear no matter what weather rolls in.

Cross Country Skis and Related Gear

The many trails and rugged terrain found all across the expanse of Kings Canyon National Park allows visitors plenty of opportunities to ski and snowshoe, be sure to either rent or bring the needed supplies and gear that will keep you exploring safely across the snowy landscape.

First Aid Kit

There are many different things that can happen while you visit Kings Canyon National Park, some of them are less than fortunate. Be sure to bring a quality enough first aid kit to ensure you and anyone in your group will be able to return home as safe as possible.

Suspension Footbridge at Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park California

Where to Stay in Kings Canyon National Park

Because the park's overall goal of preserving the natural spaces and sensitive habitats that are found in and around Kings Canyon National Park, there is no “at-large camping” in any part of the park meaning that visitors will have to search ahead of time for a campsite and reserve it before their intended trip. There are only four campsites within Kings Canyon National Park, each with a fire ring, grill, and metal food-storage box.

Food Nearby Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is one of the most remote national parks across the United States, there are restaurants immediately nearby the park which means that for those that wish to eat while within the park they must pack in all their food, as long as they follow the appropriate disposal procedures. However, the nearest restaurant is just over an hour away.

Airports Near Kings Canyon National Park

There are many airports in the region of the state of California that Kings Canyon National Park is located in, yet because of how remote the park is there is a long distance that visitors will have to travel. The nearest large airport is the Fresno Yosemite International airport which is located at about a two-hour drive from the park.

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