It's hard to imagine another park that can rival the beauty and glory of Yosemite National Park. Located in Central California, Yosemite National Park offers incredible landscapes, hiking for all skill levels, and some of the most stunning views in the world. The best part is that Yosemite is a relatively easy park to navigate! Consider some of our tips and experiences before planning your trip.
Joshua Tree National Park covers 1,200 square miles, if you can believe it! The park has three entrances. We have taken trips into all entrances, and I encourage you to utilize the West entrance, 5 miles south of the 62 on Park blvd.
Day 2 started with another intense drive from Visalia into Sequoia National Park. The drive is about 45 minutes to Ash Mountain entrance on the 198, and a good 40 minutes or more traveling the winding roads (the worst of which isn't even pictures above). It's a tough drive, so keep this in mind when deciding where to stay!
We had recovered well from day 1 in Sequoia National Park and decided again to arrive to the park early. Day 2 is a Saturday on Memorial weekend, we left Visalia at 7am, arriving to the park around 7:45am. This half hour difference from the day before left us sitting in a line to gain entrance and a much slower move through the park as there was more traffic. Tip? Leave early!
In order to avoid intense tourist traffic, we headed right to Moro Rock, a very popular site that is NOT for the faint of heart and nothing I would ever do with hundreds of other tourists. Again, get here early on any weekend! Not only did we avoid the crowds, but the sun is punishing on the climb and I can't have imagined doing the 350 steps any later in the day.
Moro Rock is about a 35 minute drive from the Ash Mountain entrance. On weekends you are forced to park in the General Sherman Tree Museum parking lot and take Route 2 to the Moro Rock Parking area. You can also do a 2 mile hike, but we chose the bus! Once you arrive there is a concrete stairway that takes you 350 steps to the top and THE most magnificent views of the weekend.
Our visit to Sequoia National Park is definitely one of the most amazing and awe inspiring experiences I have ever had. Over the course of two full days we traversed dramatically different terrains after extremely careful planning.
To prepare for this trip, I started in the obvious place...the National Park Service website. Sequoia National Park is ENORMOUS, 404,064 acres, and this excludes Kings Canyon National Park. This is where I found planning to get complicated. With just two days to visit, we had to make sure to choose areas and attractions that were within realistic distances from each other, and no website I found provided any clear plan or guide. Even sites that appear close to each other on the map can be upwards of 45 minutes drive time due to the curvy roads (LodgePole to Crystal Caves for example). Additionally, we chose not to camp and instead we stayed in Visalia, adding about 3 hours of driving per day. So, here is our timeline for 2 days: