Kings Canyon Facts

~Kings Canyon Article

Here’s How You Do It:

Reserve your campsite, up to 6 months in advance – the majority of campsites in the park are first come, first serve but fill early during peak season. Off season is best as campsites are available and crowds are nada.

Flying in? Airport -Visalia is the closest with a shuttle that runs round trip to the park, however, if you combine this trip with Los Angeles, it’s a five hour drive.

Not much prep for the east (Onion Valley) side, see below for links. The west side (main park) books out in peak summer months.

Destination camping? Check our article.

~Location: Kings Canyon directions –  Highway 180 east from Fresno enters the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park, then continues 30 miles east to the Cedar Grove area. Highway 180 ends 6 miles east of Cedar Grove.

Take Highway 198 to arrive at the Sequoia National Park from the southwest via Three Rivers.

Per the park service –  DO NOT USE GPS, IT IS INACCURATE.

The east side of Kings Canyon is accessed via #395 North, in the town of Independence.

Ranger Stations: Info 559-565-3341 Check for seasonal closures.

Nearest town and attractions: Entering the west side, the closest and smallish town is Three Rivers which looked interesting to explore.

Entering from the east (off #395) into the Onion Valley/Kearsarge Pass area, the closest town is Independence. We’ve stayed there and found it to be low key and closes down early. Approx. 30 min north or south are bigger towns (Big Pine and Bishop).

~Campgrounds: On the west entrance and this is by far the most popular destination within Kings Canyon, 14 campgrounds are available.
Most are first-come, first-serve with a maximum of six people allowed per site. Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, and certain group campsites are open to reservations and allow from 7-50 people. *We stayed at Potwisha and vouch for its beauty as well as accessibility to the Marble Falls Trailhead (walking distance from any site)

From the Onion Valley east side camping is limited and closed during winter weather.

~Warnings: Use your bear lockers (provided at each campsite). Check the Visitor Center for any seasonal warnings.

~Permits: Yes, you will need permits in the back country but NO, you do not need them for camping in designated campgrounds as well as day hiking.


~Suggestions: Bring firewood in. Make time to explore the tiny towns of Three Rivers (west) and Independence (east) on either side. If you are on the east side, also explore the Mt. Whitney, Horseshoe Meadows area (30 min. drive to the south) and check out Schats Bakery in Bishop.

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