Print our scenic drive map to see the giant sequoia of Sequoia
National Park where the forests have remained largely untouched.
Starting in the Central Valley, the park is easily accessible from
Fresno or Visalia. Heading eastward, Sequoia National Forest lands
encircle the park along Highway 180. Just south of the park, an area
roughly double the size of Sequoia National Park is managed by the U.S.
Forest Service, extending the camping and hiking options nearly to
To the north, Sequoia National Forest joins Kings Canyon National
Park. In all this federal land, most visitors take the loop that takes
them right to the magnificent sequoia groves.
SCENIC DRIVES: If you seek the splendor of Yosemite without all
the people, Sequoia National Park is it. The routes leading to the park
along the western boundary are oak and grasslands. Within the park, the
landscape turns to forests with alpine meadows, isolated stands of
giant sequoia and at the highest elevations, treeless granite peaks.
Land adjacent to the park includes Sierra National Forest and Kings
Canyon National Park with endless trails and campgrounds and places to
explore by foot or by car. While Yosemite hosts over 3.3 million
visitors annually, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks combined
receive only 1.5 million visitors each year. A detailed map and
description of the two parks is included in the National Parks section.
Note:There are no roads traveling east through the Park to the
famous high peaks (Mt. Whitney, Mt. Williamson, Mt. Langley, etc.).
They must be approached from the north/south 395 route. From
Bakersfield, take 178 to 14 to 395. From Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes,
395 is the main north/south highway.
For this trip from the Central Valley on Highway 99, near Fresno
and Visalia, make a loop to see many of the highlights of Sequoia NP.
It would be hard to claim either city as a scenic destination. They do
have plenty of amenities for visitors preparing for the trip. Remember
that it is much cooler in the mountains than the valley and snow covers
these peaks in winter.
SIDETRIP: Take Highway 168 out of Fresno to wind slowly up into the foothills to Shaver Lake, an idyllic spot for camping and hiking.
From Fresno, follow 180 east all the way to the park entrance. The
road gets curvy as the elevation rises from 300’ at the start to over
6000’ at the park boundary.
Three Rivers is the main town outside the southern entrance; 198 continues west to Visalia.