Take the Majestic Mountain Loop, an action-packed three-day itinerary to explore three of California’s favorite national parks, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite.
1. Climb Moro Rock in Sequoia
Moro Rock’s quarter-mile, 350-plus step climb offers equally spectacular views as its more intense sister, Half Dome, located in Yosemite National Park.
Tip: Park at the Giant Forest Museum and take the seasonal free shuttle to the trailhead to avoid circling for parking in the small lot at the rock’s base. On summer weekends, the shuttle is the only way to get to the trailhead.
2. Drive through Sequoia’s Tunnel Log
No trip to this park is complete without driving under the iconic Tunnel Log. In 1937, the 2,000-year-old tree fell across the road and is now a tunnel.
Tip: The tunnel is only 8 feet high, so taller vehicles must drive around.
3. See the World’s Largest Tree
The General Sherman Tree reigns king over the giant sequoias at 275 feet tall. See this noble tree via the half-mile Main Trail.
Tip: To see more breathtaking giants, continue past General Sherman on the two-mile paved Congress Trail.
4. Head Underground at Boyden Cavern near Kings Canyon
Join a walking tour into the cavern that departs on the hour to see awe-inspiring marble formations. The cavern is open late May through early November and tickets can be purchased at the cavern’s entrance.
Tip: The cavern remains a steady 55-degrees year-round, so bring a jacket.
5. See the Nation’s Christmas Tree at Kings Canyon
Coined “The Nation’s Christmas Tree” by President Coolidge, the General Grant Tree is the second largest tree in the world.
Tip: On the second Sunday of December, join the annual “Trek to the Tree” at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate the holidays, an event that’s been taking place for 95 years.
6. Hike Kings Canyon’s Zumwalt Meadow
You’ll see the best of Kings Canyon from granite walls to verdant green meadows on this 1.5-mile trail in the park’s Cedar Grove area.
Tip: Heavy spring rains can flood this area, so always check trail conditions at the visitor center before heading out. This road is open seasonally.
7. Hike the Mist Trail in Yosemite
A steep, 1.2-mile one-way hike will bring you to the beautiful 317-foot Vernal Fall. The aptly named trail is streaked with rainbows from the waterfall mist. If you’re up for more, keep hiking another 1.5 miles to the 594-foot Nevada Fall.
Tip: The Mist Trails can be extremely slippery, so walk slowly and carefully and keep and eye on children. Do not wade into the water as the strong current has swept people away.
8. Watch Sunset at Yosemite’s Glacier Point
At the top of Glacier Point, you’ll see one of the park’s most iconic views. Grab a seat and watch as the setting sun illuminates Half Dome in oranges, pinks and purples.
Tip: Glacier Point is seasonal, usually open from May to November. For the adventurous, during snow season you can cross country ski to this beautiful overlook.
Glacier Point is closing for road repairs in 2021 and possibly 2022 so make sure to see this iconic sight in 2020.
9. Bike through Yosemite Valley
Rent a bike at Yosemite Valley Lodge or Curry Village and explore the 12-mile paved bike path through Yosemite Valley to see all the sights.
Tip: Stop for a snack break when you get to El Capitan Meadow and break out the binoculars to spot big wall climbers on this imposing granite wall.
All three parks on this loop have experienced wildfire in the past few years. Be sure to check for closures and conditions before visiting. Wildfire is a natural part of the ecosystem. You may be surprised how changing landscapes can reveal new and beautiful vistas. Please help protect these beautiful places by recreating responsibly.
For more information:
Majestic Mountain Loop
Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Visit Yosemite | Madera County