Wander (Nearly) Alone through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Hwy
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9599
Phone: (559) 565-3341

Springtime visitors will find booming rivers and blooming dogwoods.

At Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks  the trees are giant (the General Sherman tree ranks as the largest in the world) and the crowds can be too during peak summer months. But head into the park as soon as roadways reopen and you'll be rewarded by not just uncrowded groves of these spectacular trees, but also the chance to see lovely mountain dogwoods in bloom. This small tree bears saucer-size, creamy white flowers (actually specialized leaves surrounding tiny blossoms) on spindly black branches--the effect looks like doves floating through the giant sequoia's looming cinnamon trunks. Also in spring, mountain snowmelt sends water booming down creeks and into swift rivers--beautiful but dangerously cold, so don't be tempted to wade.

The road to Cedar Grove usually opens mid-April and the Mineral King Road by Memorial Day, weather and snows permitting. For information, call (559) 565-3341, or stop by the Ash Mountain visitor center or Grant Grove Village for maps and conditions.