Though they are administered together and are geographically close, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks have some very different areas. Kings Canyon is also the home to some giant sequoias (more on that later) but it is more than just that. We drove the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway to its terminus down in the canyon. It's a windy road that hugs cliff edges and offers superb views of the beautiful South Fork of the Kings River below.
Near the end of the road, we hiked around Zumwalt Meadow. It's a pretty green gem, and the trail takes you through rocks and over boardwalks, at times skirting the river. We were vigilant looking for rattlesnakes, but we are happy to report no sightings.
Our campground was back up the road, walking distance from the Visitor's Center and Grant Grove. Unlike Sequoia National Park, there are no busses to ferry you around in Kings Canyon.
We really enjoyed the paved interpretive trail around Grant's Grove, which includes not only the immense Grant Tree, but also an old cabin, signage about the history of logging in the area, and a giant fallen redwood that you can walk through upright. I figured that would be my daughter's favorite part of the trail, and I was right. But I was not expecting to delight in it so much myself. It just seems so crazy to be walking through a huge tree that's laying on its side.
You can get a little closer to the trees here on the trail than you could at Sequoia. Several are hollowed out from fire and this one was just right for a little fox to scramble through.