King’s Canyon National Park – California

You won’t believe this, but we recently accidentally stumbled across the perfect Christmas in July thing…

I know it’s August now but we did this trip in July so it still counts.

Did you know that “the Nation’s Christmas Tree” is the General Grant tree in King’s Canyon National Park?

General Grant – The Nation’s Christmas Tree

Apparently, the tree was named after Ulysses S. Grant, and was coined “the Nation’s Christmas Tree” by President Coolidge.

General Grant’s burn scar

More photos from Grant Grove:

There are lots of camping options around King’s Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and we randomly chose Princess Campground when I was looking for reservations back in February. We really liked it and we would definitely camp there again. Although Fire danger was much too high to allow campfires they did allow hammocks! The camp host was totally on point and wore a plastic tiara over her outdoor hat! Our campsite, Morning Loop #2 even had a cool giant sequoia stump in it.

Through the Stump

We had a wonderful weekend getaway with no cell service, fresh air, caving, new friends, ranger talks, and giant trees! I haven’t slept so well in months!

Indian Basin Trailhead at Princess Campground

We were blessed to attend 2 ranger programs. Friday evening we went to “Going on a Bear Hunt” by ranger Julia and learned all about black bears. We got to see molds of tracks and scat, photos of bears, and we learned a fun sing-along song about what to do if you ever encounter a black bear whilst camping.

  • Slowly back away
  • Stand your ground
  • Make yourself as big as possible
  • Scare the bear by yelling, waving your arms, etc.

We also attended a “Night Sky” program where we learned how to find several constellations and some of the myths and stories about them.

  • Fun fact: Harbor Seals use stars to navigate. What!?!?!? 😳

Unfortunately, the “Night Sky” program was scheduled for the night after a full moon. That’s not an ideal situation for stargazing, because the moon gives off a lot of light. So why was the program scheduled for the 2nd worst stargazing night of the month?

Because the federal government determines the program schedule. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Nevertheless, the night sky program was phenomenal. We learned a lot, and even saw some bats flying around too. We encourage everyone to see as many National Park ranger programs as you can. We always enjoy them immensely.

The kids completed junior ranger workbooks and got a joint badge for Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks. Honestly, I was kind of hoping they would get two badges, one for each Park but you get what you get.

At 8200 feet from the tallest peak to the lowest canyon, King’s Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States. We took the opportunity to drive to the bottom of it on the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. On the drive, we stumbled across Boyden Cavern. I’ll tell you about it in another post.

Until next time, happy camping friends! 😊

3 thoughts on “King’s Canyon National Park – California

  1. Sounds like a wonderful time! Those trees are really big. We will be visiting Yellowstone next August. I hope to take advantage of the Ranger programs. Those programs can really enhance the visit. Your kids look like they were really having fun! And it sounds like you did, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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