The journey to Road’s End along the King’s Canyon Highway ascends to nearly 7000ft and then descends back down to 4000 feet. Driving the windy road is not for the feint of heart since most of the drive is along a canyon’s edge. Even the thought of taking one’s eyes off the highway, brings with it imaginations of plummeting thousands of feet into the granite gorge.
Popular online mapping programs will tell you that when you begin at the Big Stump Entrance on the Fresno side of Kings Canyon National Park, you can expect a little more than an hour’s journey to where the Highway ends. But in reality, you’d only arrive that quickly if you were immune to the thousands of amazing natural wonders you will pass along the way.
There is a reason that Scenic Highways are notched with pullouts and view points for a travelers’ viewing pleasure, and the King’s Canyon Highway has some of the best.
Some of the attractions along Highway 180 do charge a fee. We particularly love the Boyden Cavern Tours, the ice cream shop at the site of the old King’s Canyon Lodge and the Cedar Grove Pack Station.
But for this article we decided to list our five favorite FREE pullout spots along the way, we hope you will enjoy the treasures as much as we do! Click the title links below for exact mapping locations and directions to each of our top 5!
5) Big Stump Loop :
This trailhead begins just after the Kings Canyon entrance gate. It meanders 1.8 miles through gigantic sequoia trees and open meadows, then curves back under the highway through a tunnel and back to the parking lot.
3) Horseshoe Bend :
A hidden gem off the highway near the Cedar Grove Stables, find this peaceful sandbar beach and relax for hours listening to the sound of the flowing river while birds chirp all around you in the surrounding trees.