Kings Canyon's 700,000 annual visitors is just a small fraction of Yosemite's 5 million!
Kings Canyon National Park is located directly adjacent to Sequoia National Park, leading most visitors to hit both parks in one epic trip. Kings Canyon is notable for its stunning granite rock faces reminiscent of Yosemite Valley, but with only a fraction of the traffic. Kings Canyon receives just 700,000 visitors per year compared to Yosemite's 5 million!
To enjoy this idyllic valley, hike the gorgeous Zumwalt Meadows Trail. If you've been to Yosemite before, you may be amazed at how comparable the views on this hike are, and how peaceful and serene this valley is by comparison. Kings Canyon proves that even if you venture off the popular tourist path, you can still find equally-stunning views.
In addition to scenic meadows and vaulted granite domes, Kings Canyon is home to beautiful groves of sequoias, including the notable General Grant Tree, the second-largest tree in the world. While the General Grant is definitely a must-see, for a stunning grove of sequoias with dramatically smaller crowds, head to the Redwood Mountain Grove.
Above and beyond stunning sequoias, Kings Canyon is also home to one of the deepest canyons on the planet! One fork of the Kings River has carved a canyon with walls rising "as much as 8,200 feet (2,500 m) from river to rim – about half a mile (0.8 km) deeper than the Grand Canyon," according to Wikipedia.
Since Kings Canyon National Park is so far off the beaten path, much of the park consists of protected Wilderness that can only be accessed via a multi-day backpacking trip. In fact, a significant proportion of the famed John Muir Trail runs through the heart of Kings Canyon, and for one of the most famous trails in the Sierras, check out the 40-mile Rae Lakes Loop. For a lesser-traveled backpacking loop, try the Evolution Valley Loop on for size.
Whichever trails you choose, the immensity of the High Sierras and the lack of other people to contend with will yield an incredible once-in-a-lifetime wilderness experience!