Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia: The Sheer Beauty of California's National Parks

Polished granite mountains, groves of giant sequoias and meadows of minuscule wildflowers, all beneath endless blue skies—this is California’s High Sierra mountain range. From Crescent Meadow’s colorful carpet to Mount Whitney’s windswept summit (the highest point in the 48 contiguous states), glaciers sculpt this landscape that is now home to Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Though a multi-decade Californian, it was my first time in a setting so intense. I felt like James Earl Jones should be narrating my visit.

This year is a big one for these national parks. It’s the 75th anniversary of Kings Canyon and the 125th birthday of Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.Located 4.5 hours from Los Angeles or San Francisco, the area is roughly equidistant from southern and northern California. Best seen on the Majestic Mountain Loop, this 400-mile Sierra circle connects Yosemite to Kings Canyon to Sequoia.

Cynthia Dial

Cynthia Dial is an admitted travel writing addict, and shares that she pinches herself each time she steps onto the promenade deck of a cruise ship, boards a train or settles into a plane seat to go to work. She's taken a city tour of Melbourne, Australia, from the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, hiked the Austrian Alps and learned to surf in Waikiki -- all for a good story. A special corres...(Read More)

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