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The Camper Smarts Guide to Kings Canyon National Park Camping

Expert Tips for the Ultimate Outdoor Experience in the Rugged Sierras

Kings Canyon is one of those national parks that you really don’t hear much about. It’s squished in between Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, and it tends to be glazed over or passed over entirely by visitors looking to see the more popular parks. Here’s the thing, though: This park is fantastic! In some ways, I’d even go so far as to say it’s better than Yosemite or Sequoia, and it’s certainly well worth seeing. For this reason, I highly recommend you pack up the RV and try Kings Canyon National Park camping.

Here’s everything you need to know before you go!

When to Go Camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Deciding when to go camping in Kings Canyon National Park is crucial to plan your trip effectively. Summer is undoubtedly the prime season. The weather during this time is idyllic, and all park roads are fully accessible to visitors. Although this is also when the park experiences the most visitors, Kings Canyon typically sees fewer crowds compared to its neighboring parks, offering a more serene experience even in peak season.

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For those who prefer to avoid the summer crowds, May or October are excellent choices. These months offer a quieter experience, with the beauty of the park still very much on display and fewer visitors around.

In addition to these times, winter in Kings Canyon presents a unique opportunity for adventure-seekers. While traditional camping might be challenging, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The landscapes, especially the giant sequoias, are stunning with a blanket of snow. However, it’s important to be aware that winter conditions can lead to limited access in certain areas, with potential road and facility closures. Visitors planning a winter trip should be prepared for colder temperatures and stay updated on the park’s current conditions and advisories. For comprehensive information on winter activities, safety tips, and how to enjoy Kings Canyon National Park in the winter, you can visit the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks Winter Activities page.

Where to Camp in Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon is home to a total of seven dry campgrounds. Of these, six allow RVs, but only one is open all year long, so you will need to keep that in mind when planning. No RV hookups are available within the national park. It’s also important to note that when we visited in September of 2023, many of the campgrounds were closed due to storm damage. 

The Kings Canyon campgrounds that allow RVs are listed below. 

Azalea Campground

Located near the entrance of Kings Canyon, Azalea Campground is the perfect place to stay if you want to see both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Because it’s the only campground open all year round, it’s also the place to go for camping in Kings Canyon National Park in winter.

RVs are welcome in this campground but must be 30 feet long or shorter. Sites are first-come, first-served in the winter, but in the summer, reservations are required and can be made up to four months in advance on a rolling basis. 

Crystal Springs Campground

Crystal Springs Campground is another campground that is located near the park entrance in the Grant Grove Village area. This makes it a handy place to stay if you want to play amongst the sequoias, but it means you’ll have to drive to get to the canyon. 

25 feet is the maximum RV length in this campground, and reservations must be made to stay here. Reservations open up two days in advance on a rolling basis, so this is the place to go if you want to be more spontaneous. 

Moraine Campground

Located very near the Cedar Grove Village, Moraine Campground is another great place to go camping in Kings Canyon National Park. No maximum RV length is listed on the website, but you might want to call to make sure your rig will fit. Sites are available by reservation only and can be reserved a month in advance. 

Sentinel Campground

The perfect pick for camping in Kings Canyon National Park with a big rig, Sentinel Campground can accommodate even the biggest RVs. Like most other campgrounds in the park, this one requires that you reserve in advance, and you can do that up to four months before your trip. 

Sheep Creek Campground

Located near Cedar Grove Village, Sheep Creek Campground is another park that is ideal for exploring the canyon. It can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length, but sites are by reservation only, up to one month in advance. 

Sunset Campground

Sunset Campground is located near the park entrance in the Grant Grove Village area. Like Azalea Campground, it is a great home base for exploring both Kings Canyon and Sequoia. 

To stay here, RVs must be no longer than 30 feet. All sites are by reservation only and can be reserved up to one month in advance. 

Tips for Visiting Kings Canyon National Park

Knowing when to go camping in Kings Canyon National Park and where to stay is great, but that isn’t all you need to know before you go. Here are a few more tips you might need to pull out of your hat.

Be Bear Aware

Bear sightings are very common in Kings Canyon, and bears will gladly do whatever they have to do to get to your food. Do not store food in your car or in a soft-sided tent or trailer. Instead, keep all food in a hard-sided RV or in a bear box. This same rule applies to trash that has food in it. You may hear this very same rule from several park rangers when you visit—that’s how important it is.

Be Ready to Get Dirty

During our time in the Grant Grove Village, we got absolutely filthy. I didn’t expect this since the trail is a paved path, and thus, we did not dress appropriately, but we had a blast! Why were we so dirty, you ask? There is a fallen tree that you can climb and slide inside of. It’s covered in dirt and ash, so climbing inside means you will get messy, but it’s totally worth it. 

Know what is Closed

Right now, a lot of Kings Canyon National Park is closed due to road damage from winter storms. While the park will almost certainly reopen entirely next season, it’s good to note that storms and fires can cause closures at any time, so you always want to make sure you know what’s open before you go. 

Pay Attention to Elevation

The Grant Grove Village area of the park sits at an altitude of over 6,000 feet. This is not super-duper high elevation, but it is high enough that it might cause some people to be lightheaded or have trouble breathing at first. It could also mess with the function of your propane appliances. Know this going in and be prepared to take it slow at first, and have backup cooking methods in case your stove won’t light. 

What to Do in Kings Canyon National Park

There are tons of amazing things to do in Kings Canyon National Park. Below is a list of all the things we recommend checking out during your time there:

  • The General Grant Tree — This is the world’s second largest tree and is well worth checking out. 
  • The Fallen Monarch — This is located in the Grant Grove and is the fallen tree I mentioned above. Climb inside and slide down!
  • Panoramic Point — Take a scenic drive to Panoramic Point and snap some photos of the gorgeous view.
  • Roaring Falls — Take a hike to the beautiful Roaring Falls. This is a short and easy hike that is well worthwhile. 
  • Zumwalt Meadow Loop — If you want to experience a little taste of Yosemite Valley without making the drive, this is the walk for you. 

Camping in Kings Canyon National Park is an amazing outdoor adventure that you won’t soon forget. Be sure to add this one to your bucket list or book your campsite, pack the RV, and head out to see it now!

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