How to Travel from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park – Complete Guide

Scenic visita of Yosemite National Park from driving from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park

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Are you wondering how to get from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park? I’ve got you.

Say you’re looking to maximize the amount of National Parks you see in the California area. In that case, you can’t go wrong by hitting 3 National Parks and going from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park. Included, and often unmentioned is Kings Canyon National Park. This guide will take you from Sequoia to Yosemite, but obviously, you can do what we did and go the other direction, Yosemite to Sequoia. Either way, you’re going to see the largest trees in the world and enjoy expansive scenic vistas and varied hikes.

We visited Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks in the summer of ’22 as part of a senior trip for my son. We actually did many more of the California National Parks, and this part of our journey was one of our favorites.

Our Itinerary included 3 nights in Yosemite and 2 nights in the Sequoia National Forest, situated between Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

How to get from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park

Our road trip in California began in San Francisco. The Golden Gate City is probably your best for starting and ending this trip. While Sequoia is also an easy 200-mile 4-hour drive from Los Angeles, you’re likely to get better round-trip flights from San Francisco. And San Francisco is less than 200 miles from Yosemite where it’s nearly 400 miles from Los Angeles. Then you can go from Yosemite National Park to Sequoia National Park.

San Francisco to Sequoia National Park is about 260 miles or a little over 4 hours driving.

How far is Sequoia National Park from Yosemite? See more details below, but it’s about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive from Yosemite Valley to Sequoia.

Regardless of where you fly in, I would recommend you have some sort of vehicle to travel between the parks. While you might find tour companies that can take you to all of them, having your own vehicle allows you the freedom to stop and hike or sightsee where you wish.

You can find the best prices on rental cars here.

Alternatively, my favorite option is the campervan we rented from Escape Campervans. We were able to camp relatively cheaply in the nearby National Forests. Plus, with the campervan, minimal setup is required. You can literally just roll into your site and cook your meals within 10 minutes of arriving.

Scenic vista in Kings Canyon National Park, something you'll see between Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park

How far is Sequoia from Yosemite?

From Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park, you can take one of two routes, depending on what you want to see and the time of year. It does depend on if you’re starting out on the Sequoia side or the Kings Canyon side of the parks. I would also recommend taking Highway 41 out of Fresno for a somewhat straighter drive into the park.

I use Roadtrippers to plan my routes. because Roadtrippers shows you the various waypoints you want to see, it’s helpful to plan a route that may have many stops. Plus, if you have an RV, you can enter your dimensions to avoid length and height restrictions. I pay for the Pro Plan so that I may add more than 5 waypoints. You can get $5 off here with my code BTR5QTP.

Yosemite National Park has 4 different entrances. From Sequoia, the quickest route is the south entrance. It’s about 144 miles and an average of 3 hours drive. The main attractions in Yosemite Valley are another 27 miles or 50 minutes drive inside of the park.

Towering sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park.

What to do in Sequoia National Park

General Sherman Tree

Assuming you’re starting off in Sequoia, the most famous tree is the General Sherman Tree. It is the world’s largest tree by volume and wow, is it impressive. It is over 36 feet in diameter and 275 feet tall.

Here’s the impressive thing about sequoia trees. Did you know that sequoias are burn resistant? These trees are thousands of years old. As in, can you imagine that this tree was here in the time of Christ, just starting out? Thousands of years old.

Sequoia National Park is among the best National Parks for kids, thanks to these massive trees!

This means, that during any wildfire, they survive. You can see scorch marks and these giant trees will burn if the fire is too powerful. It is sad and powerful to drive through these wildfire-ravaged areas and see sequoias standing tall.

The General Sherman Tree is along a paved trail, so it is accessible. It is a decent slope uphill back to the parking lot, but there is also a shuttle at the end of the main trail.

I highly recommend venturing into the rest of the Giant Forest as more trails lead off the paved path, in order to wander more of the sequoia groves filled with hundreds of mature giant sequoia trees. Look for Congress Trail and Big Trees Trail.

While we didn’t get to Moro Rock ourselves, it’s another must-do in the Sequoia National Park. This granite dome overlooks the park and climbs 300 feet in elevation. Don’t worry, there are stairs!

Giant Forest Museum

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the Giant Forest Museum and visitor center as well. We love doing guided talks with the National Parks rangers and had done 2 sequoia-related talks at the time of our visit. However, this small but mighty museum showed just where all the sequoias grow, how tall they are in comparison, some history of the area, and what you can do to preserve the groves.

Museum at Sequoia National Park to demonstrate just how tall Sequoia Trees are compared to Redwoods and popular landmarks.

What to do in Kings Canyon National Park

Moving north along the scenic drive of Generals Highway, you travel between Sequoia and Kings Canyons National Park. These parks are often considered one national park since they share a border in some areas. However, this drive takes you through Sequoia National Forest.

In King’s Canyon, you’ll find the Grant Grove, with General Grant, the second largest tree amongst the largest trees. This is another easy hike, taking you to some picturesque mountain views.

I found the welcome center in Kings Canyon to offer more amenities such as a general store, a small restaurant, and gift shops.

Kings Canyon offers higher elevations than Sequoia, and some of the easy hikes led to massive sprawling views of the canyon. While it is named a canyon, it does not feel like the Grand Canyon you may be used to. It appears to be more mountains and valleys.

giant sequoia tree in Sequoia National park

What to do in Sequoia National Forest

Did you know that Sequoia National Forest lies within and around the national parks? If you’re looking for something different to do, why not try one of the many mountain biking trails in Sequoia National Forest? Check out the 29er. bikes from Alchemy Bikes to get you started on your mountain adventure. Don’t worry, even if you’re flying in, you can check a bike or have it shipped ahead.

If you have limited time, you might be asking if I should go to Yosemite or Sequoia National Park? Yosemite vs Sequoia is a big debate. Of course, the answer is it depends. Sequoia Kings Canyon feels more secluded and with that comes fewer crowds. You can still get mountain vistas, stunning trees, and loads of hikes and guided tours that the national park service is known for. That said, you can see sequoia trees in Yosemite, so even if you choose that one, you won’t miss out on these wondrous trees. More on that below.

Where to stay in Sequoia Kings Canyon area

I would highly recommend staying in one of the parks’ campgrounds, giving you early access to the features of the parks without the added drives.

Cedar Grove campgrounds are near the welcome center and open seasonally.

We stayed in Sequoia National Forest campgrounds between the parks.

While you can stay one night in the parks and see and do everything in the area. We stayed two nights, amongst the tall pines, and enjoyed a relaxing stay at the end of our vacation.

View of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park

What to do in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the top visited national parks in the United States. It’s so popular in fact, that if you plan a summer visit, you need a reservation in order to limit the number of people in the park at any given time. Reservations are required during certain times in 2024. Keep an eye on the website in case this changes.

Located along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite is home to iconic massive granite mountains. A full in-depth coverage of Yosemite National Park would fit in its own separate blog post. However, my favorite highlights include:

  • Upper Yosemite Falls – Which I climbed the full 4-hour route up and 4 hours down.
  • Lower Yosemite Falls – a much easier walk, paved, with striking views of the lower half of the falls.
  • Half Dome – which you can see from many points along the Yosemite Falls Trails.
  • Yosemite Valley – the main attraction with meadows museums, visitors center, and busses to transport you through the central valley area easily. Trust me you’ll want to take the bus when you can as the parking lot fills up

Heading north from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park you’ll also come across the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Yosemite, plus the groves mentioned earlier, are the only places where you’ll find these mature giant sequoias. Mariposa is home to the Grizzly giant, the oldest tree in the Mariposa Grove. If you simply want a Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias trip, this would be how to do it.

Since you may need reservations during certain parts of the year in 2024, I would recommend spending the full three days. During those three days, you can do a couple of hikes, visit the museums, dine at the lodge, and get in a guided tour or two from the park ranger.

Hiking to Lower Yosemite Falls, 2 people in front of the falls

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

If you can get reservations, consider staying in the Curry Village part of Yosemite. You can find every type of accommodation from tent cabins, to standard rooms at the motel. Nearby is also the Ahwahnee Lodge for a more upscale lodge experience. There is also camping in the Sierra National Forest surrounding the park.

Reservations were tough to come by when we were searching, but I did stay at a tiny campground just 25 minutes from the valley. I found Indian Flat RV Park by using Campspot. It wasn’t the fanciest, but it was by far as close as we could get and that was more important.

Do I need a National Parks Annual Pass?

In short, the answer is it depends. You can pay to enter each of these parks separately and spend about the same as you would on a National Parks Pass. However, a NPS pass will get you in each day and get you into the rest of the National Parks system and so much more for an entire year. I recommend it.

FAQs Sequoia to Yosemite

can you drive through sequoia national park to Yosemite?

Yes, especially if you’re driving from the Los Angeles area, you can drive through Sequoia on your way to Yosemite National Park.

How far is Yosemite from Sequoia National Park

Depending on the route you take, it is around 140 miles from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park.

How long to drive from Yosemite to Sequoia National Park

Driving through Sequoia National Park to Yosemite National Park should take less than 3 hours.

How far is Sequoia National Park from Los Angeles

Sequoia National Park is about 200 miles or nearly 4 hours from the Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

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