Visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with kids

What comes to your mind when you think about visiting Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks? It should be mountains, canyons, waterfalls, and of course, a forest with magnificent ancient giants, the largest living things on Earth, sequoias.

Representing two of the nine National Parks in California, these parks spread across thousands of acres of land (including 808,000 acres of designated wilderness). Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are very popular tourist destinations and are visited by people from all over the world.


Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains in California. About 80 mi from Fresno, CA, and 20 mi from Three Rivers, CA.

Technically these National Parks are separate Parks next to each other that have had a joint administration since 1943; hence most of the time, they are referred to as one.

Entrance fees

The National Park’s entrance fee is $35.00 for a Vehicle Pass (valid for seven days), or you can obtain an Annual America the Beautiful Pass for $80 per year, which is valid in all the National Parks in the United States. We always say – if you plan on visiting at least three National Parks in a year, definitely get a pass.

Where to stay?

Interestingly enough, there are several lodging options inside these National parks. They include Wuksachi Lodge, the John Muir LodgeGrant Grove Cabins, Cedar Grove Lodge, and Bearpaw High Sierra Camp (closed for 2023, too, due to the fire activity in the area).

Montecito Sequoia Lodge

We decided to stay at the lodge we stayed at back in 2012 – Montecito Sequoia Lodge, located between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. It is an all-inclusive resort with included meals along with family-friendly activities.

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Quite a few things have changed since ten years ago, the lodge is painted a different color, there is a new outdoor set-up, but most importantly, the lodge was added six new Forest Cabins. These two-story spacious, with private deck cabins, are located at the back of the property and surrounded by the forest.

Just check out these floor-to-ceiling windows allowing sunlight to fill in the room. The girl’s room was upstairs and had bunk beds. This was the first time ever they stayed in the same room overnight, alone, and gladly everything worked out in the end 🙈.

The Montecito Sequoia Lodge offers seasonal kids camps with various activities, including horse riding, archery, tennis, guided hikes in summer, and ski and snowboarding lessons in winter.

This time around, we did not take advantage of offered activities except canoeing on a private lake Homavalo every morning after breakfast. The girls had a blast and thought it was the best activity ever!

While we really enjoyed our private cabin and the property itself, the provided meals were okay-ish, with most of the food being spicy. We were not expecting fancy dining, but the girls could not eat most of the things they offered. We obviously could not order anything else since it was an all-inclusive lodge with a preset menu.

Nevertheless, they provided fresh fruits and snacks and even had a sandwich station where you could build yourself a sandwich to grab on one of your hikes, that was a really nice touch!

Overall, we’d say that the Montecito Sequoia Lodge is a good place to stay when visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Where to dine

Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Since this was the Lodge that we stayed at, and the meals were included with the accommodation, that was the place where we had our breakfast and dinner. It is open to the public in spring, fall, and winter.

Grant Grove Restaurant at Kings Canyon Visitor Center

Kings Canyon Visitor Center, located in the Grant Grove Village, had a restaurant and courtyard. They offered indoor and outdoor seating and the menu included burgers, pizza, and fruits.

💡 Good to Know

The Lodgepole Visitor Center is closed for renovations until further notice.

The Peaks Restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge

The Peaks Restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge is open year-round and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Restaurant at Stony Creek Lodge

Stony Creek Lodge has a small restaurant if you happen to be in that area. They operate seasonally and are open from May to October.


These National Parks offer various activities, from a short stroll in the forest to days-long backpacking in the wilderness.

Choose a landscape to your liking – canyons, mountains, forest, rivers, and lakes.

We only had a couple of days to spend at Sequoia National Park, so we decided to focus on several shorter hikes this time.

General Grant Tree Trail

This 0.7-mile loop takes you to see one of the largest living things in the world (the second largest tree on Earth, to be precise), General Grant sequoia tree. General Grant is 270 ft. tall and 107 ft. at the base!

💡 Did you know?

General Grant Tree was declared Nation’s Christmas Tree by President Coolidge.

Gamlin Cabin

Along the way, you pass the historic Gamlin Cabin, built in 1872.

Fallen Monarch Tree

You can go inside a giant Fallen Monarch Tree! This giant redwood is about 125 ft. (38 m) long and fell approximately 300 years ago. You can walk all the way from one end to another!

💡 Did you know?

In the 1800s people did not believe the early explorers about discovering giant trees in California, calling it a “California hoax”. Several sequoias had to be cut and shipped across the country to prove their existence.

Wild animals

Keep in mind that black bears are prevalent in these National Parks. If you ever encounter them, do not use bear spray on them; try to scare the bears with noise. You can actually chase the bear, and it would be entirely terrified by that.

We met some chipmunks, squirrels, and this furry dear who absolutely did not mind us.

General Sherman Tree Trail

Enjoy this 1.2-mile trail to witness the magnificent General Sherman! The General Sherman Tree is the world’s largest tree measured by volume. 

It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Did you know that this tree is 2200 years old? Another fascinating fact is that it weights 4 million pounds!

Moro Rock Trail

This is a 0.5-mile out-and-back trail that takes you to the top of the eponymous rock. Although it’s a very short trail, you have to work your way up several dozens of stairs. Note, this picturesque trail might be a little challenging if you’re afraid of heights.

Crescent Meadow Loop (with Eagle View)

If you have only a few days to spend in Sequoia National Park and want to go on a relatively short yet scenic hike, we highly recommend Crescent Meadow Loop Trail.

We decided to add a couple more segments to this trail, making it a 3-mile-long loop. So we started along the Crescent Meadow and walked through magnificent sequoias and the beautiful forest.

💡 Good to Know

Don’t forget to bring your bug spray since the area is full of buzzing bugs 😬.

Tharp’s Log

The trail took us to the Tharp’s Log. This fallen hollowed giant sequoia was used as a cabin by early pioneers in the 1800s.

Did you know that the 70 ft. (21 m) long cabin is only in one of the parts of the fallen sequoia, while the shorter part of a tree (50 ft. (15 m)) still lies there just a little further?

The Chimney Tree

We kept walking to the Chimney Tree; the sequoia burned in 1914. This tree has a hollow trunk, yet it still stands and remains in excellent condition after all these years.

Eagle View

We continued to the Eagle View through the High Sierra Trail to have lunch with gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountain views.

Junior Ranger Badge

Each National Park in the United States has a Junior Ranger program. It involves completing an activity book by answering questions about the park, taking an oath, and earning a Junior Ranger Badge. This is a great way to get the whole family involved in learning about nature, flora/fauna, and National Parks.

Every time Sophia earns a Junior Ranger Badge, she is beyond excited and proud about this accomplishment; she wants to collect them all (it’ll take a long time, though, since there are 423 National park sites in the U.S. 😅).

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