Whatever you do, do not go to 3 national parks in 3 days over Memorial Day weekend. Speaking from experience here :). We started off with Sequoia National Park on the first day, moved to Kings Canyon NP for half a day, and finished off with Yosemite NP.
On the way.
Sequoia NP has lots of gigantic sequoias and equally as tall pine trees, but without the crowds of Yosemite.
The Crystal cave is worth visiting only if you haven’t been in a cave before. Nothing special about it.
If you don’t mind 25 miles of mostly unpaved, narrow and windy road with speeds of 10-15 mi/hr, then it’s worth driving to Mineral King. There is an amazing, alpine-looking scenery at the end of the road with lots of hiking trails and apparently lots of marmots, who like to chew on tires and radiator hoses. All the cars parked at the trail head, were surrounded by chicken wire, wrapped in tarp, or had their hoods open.
A perfect spot for sunset is Moro Rock. It’s a short hike up the stairs to the top of the rock and the view is spectacular.
There is one road that leads in and out of Kings Canyon NP and it follows along Kings River. At the end of the road there are a few trails through the valley of the canyon. The River trail takes you through a rocky area, followed by a burned forest and finally reaching Zumwalt Meadow.
When we finally reached Yosemite NP, it seemed like a déjà vu. Mariposa Grove with giant sequoias looked a lot like Sequoia NP and Yosemite Valley was a bigger version of the valley in Kings NP. The only big difference is the number of people EVERYWHERE. The nature and views in Yosemite are absolutely gorgeous, but it’s hard to enjoy them when you have to fight traffic to get anywhere in the park.
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